A Subsumption Agent for Collaborative Free Improvisation

Linson, Adam; Dobbyn, Chris; Lewis, George and Laney, Robin (2015). A Subsumption Agent for Collaborative Free Improvisation. Computer Music Journal, 39(4) pp. 96–115.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1162/COMJ_a_00323


This paper discusses the design and evaluation of an artificial agent for collaborative musical free improvisation. The agent provides a means to investigate the underpinnings of improvisational interaction. In connection with this general goal, the system is also used here to explore the implementation of a collaborative musical agent using a specific robotics architecture, Subsumption. The architecture of the system is explained, and its evaluation in an empirical study with expert improvisors is discussed. A follow-up study using a second iteration of the system is also presented. The system design and connected studies bring together Subsumption robotics, ecological psychology, and musical improvisation, and contribute to an empirical grounding of an ecological theory of improvisation.

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