Computer-Human Interactive Performance Symposium (CHIPS)

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Computer Science


Popular music (e.g. folk, rock, music theatre) plays a central role in the lives of millions of people. Musicians of all standards from amateur to professional produce music that is heard on radios and televisions, and performed in concert halls and theatres. Teenagers are motivated to learn instruments and play in bands to emulate their professional idols, serious amateurs play and sing together at open-mike nights, charity concerts, and in churches, and professionals perform in clubs, theatres, and multimedia shows like Cirque du Soleil and the Blue Man Group. To learn, rehearse, and perform popular music often requires a musician to be part of an ensemble yet forming such a group can be challenging, particularly for amateur musicians. Even in established communities such as churches, the demands of everyday life mean that musicians cannot always attend rehearsals or play regularly together. In professional ensembles, illness can cause the absence of key musicians in rehearsal or performance. Computer music technology offers the potential to substitute for musicians in these situations, yet reliable, robust, and simple systems that can be quickly set up, and that play musically and creatively do not yet exist. To focus broader attention on this significant and potentially high-impact problem, the CHIPS project will form a network of interest around the computer-human performance of popular music. The aim is to understand and shape the future research agenda by learning from experiences of technological adoption in relevant contexts, understanding the technological state of the art in relation to popular music performance, and imagining future performance practices incorporating computer "musicians". The focus of the project will be a symposium, supported before and after by web-enabled collaborative discussion, and with the longer-term aim of establishing a network of interest to subsequently organise a self-sustaining series of symposia or working sessions at relevant major international conferences in the field.

Planned Impact

The primary non-academic impact of the CHIPS project will be on practicing musicians engaged in popular music performance in various settings e.g. theatres and churches. The nature of the impact will be to raise awareness of the current technological state of the art and potential of interactive popular music performance systems, and to encourage performers to consider and become more aware of the issues surrounding the introduction of technology in their performance practice. Primarily, impact will be achieved through those academic researchers who are also performers (a relatively common situation) but as the network of interest evolves, it is expected that more performers will be drawn into the ongoing discussions.
Description The main activities of the project were virtual and actual symposia. These were supplemented by theoretical work culminating in a music-technology adoption assessment framework published at Sound and Music Computing 2012. From the results of this work a collaborative feasiblity study was undertaken using beat tracking and chord estimation on the iOS platform.
Exploitation Route The results of the symposia and exploratory study could inform future research developments in the field.
Sectors Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

Description The findings have informed the development of research proposals and agenda in the use of mobile devices for music-related applications. This was a short academically focused project thus to date minimal non-academic impact has been noted although a mobile-based public engagement/research project with the Royal College of Music took place in 2014/15.
First Year Of Impact 2014
Sector Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural