Inclusive Free Music Improvisations Using Audio Commons

de Souza Stolfi, Ariane and Ceriani, Miguel and Turchet, Luca and Barthet, Mathieu

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression is a web-based tool to search for and play Creative Commons licensed-sounds which can be applied to free improvisation, experimental music production and soundscape composition. It provides a fast access to about 400k non-musical and musical sounds provided by Freesound, and allows users to play/loop single or multiple sounds retrieved through text based search. Sound discovery is facilitated by use of semantic searches and sound visual representations (spectrograms). Guided by the motivation to create an intuitive tool to support music practice that could suit both novice and trained musicians, we developed and improved the system in a continuous process, gathering frequent feedback from a range of users with various skills. We assessed the prototype with 18 non musician and musician participants during free music improvisation sessions. Results indicate that the system was found easy to use and supports creative collaboration and expressiveness irrespective of musical ability. We identified further design challenges linked to creative identification, control and content quality.