The Computer as a Performing Instrument

Unknown author (1971-02-01)

This memo was originally presented as a Project MAC seminar on February 20, 1970. From the outset, the computer has established two potential roles in the musical arts--the one as a sound synthesizer and the other as a composer (or composer's assistant). The most important developments in synthesis have been due to MAX Matthew at the Bell telephone Laboratories [7]. His music V system endows a computer with most of the capabilities of the standard hardware of electronic music. Its primary advantage is that the user may specify arbitrarily complex sound sequences and achieve then with a minimum of editing effort. Its primary disadvantage is that it is not on-line, so that the user loses that critical sense of immediacy which he, as a composer, may deem valuable.