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Computer-assisted music discussed

"Downloading a Piano, a Few Tunes, and a Friend" is the title of the next talk in the Media Lab's Perspectives Series, to be given by Professor Barry Vercoe from 5-6pm on Tuesday, Oct. 20 in Bartos Theater (Building E15).

"Today we can build convincing digital models of the acoustic processes that constitute most musical instruments, and can send these over the Internet as 'instruments' to be played at remote sites. Using these models, we can orchestrate old tunes or create new ones," said Dr. Vercoe, a professor of music and of media arts and sciences. "And by examining how humans interact in collaborative music performances, we can predict enough about their behavior to overcome the time lags normally found in Internet communication. This talk is about the new world of computer-assisted music performance, and why being alone and without your drum kit is no longer a viable excuse for not jamming."

Professor Vercoe, who holds a PhD in music composition, has been a pioneer in the field of computer music synthesis and performance since the late 1960s. In 1983 he developed the first Synthetic Performer, a system that could track a live soloist and synchronize an accompaniment (winner of the Computer World/Smithsonian Award for Arts & Media in 1992). His recent work spans automatic music understanding, interactive performance systems, and efficient transmission of music and audio over the Internet.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 7, 1998.

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