Abstract: The author discusses his computer music composition,
Voyager, which employs a computer-driven, interactive "virtual
improvising orchestra" that analyzes an improvisor's performance
in real time, generating both complex responses to the musician's
playing and independent behavior arising from the program's own internal
processes. The author contends that notions about the nature and function
of music are embedded in the structure of software-based music systems
and that interactions with these systems tend to reveal characteristics
of the community of thought and culture that produced them. Thus,
Voyager is considered as a kind of computer music-making embodying
African-American aesthetics and musical practices.
Voyager [1,2] is a nonhierarchical, interactive musical environment
that privileges improvisation. In Voyager, improvisors engage
in dialogue with a computer-driven, interactive "virtual improvising
orchestra." A computer program analyzes aspects of a human improvisor's
performance in real time, using that analysis to guide an automatic
composition (or, if you will, improvisation) program that generates both
complex responses to the musician's playing and independent behavior
that arises from its own internal processes.
This work, which is one of my most widely performed compositions,
deals with the nature of music and, in particular, the processes by
which improvising musicians produce it. These questions can encompass
not only technological or music-theoretical interests but philosophical,
political, cultural and social concerns as well. This is consistent with
the instrumental dimension or tendency in African musical organization,
or what Robert Farris Thompson  identifies as "songs and dances of
social allusion," one of several "ancient African organizing principles
of song and dance that crossed the seas from the Old World to the New."
Voyager's unusual amalgamation of improvisation, indeterminacy,
empathy and the logical, utterly systematic structure of the computer
program is described throughout this article not only as an environment,
but as a "program," a "system" and a "composition," in the musical sense
of that term. In fact, the work can take on aspects of all of these terms
simultaneously--considering the conceptual level, the process of creating
the software and the real-time, real-world encounter with the work as
performer or listener. Flowing across these seemingly rigid conceptual
boundaries encourages both improvisors and listeners to recognize the
inherent instability of such taxonomies.
Musical computer programs, like any texts, are not "objective" or
"universal," but instead represent the particular ideas of their
creators. As notions about the nature and function of music become
embedded into the structure of software-based musical systems
and compositions, interactions with these systems tend to reveal
characteristics of the community of thought and culture that produced
them. Thus, it would be useful here to examine the implications of the
experience of programming and performing with Voyager as a kind
of computer music-making embodying African-American cultural practice.
Among the fair number of studies by artists/theorists who have written
cogently on issues of race, gender and class in new technological media
(such as Loretta Todd  and Cameron Bailey ), the ethnographic
study of Institut Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM)
by the anthropologist and improvisor Georgina Born  appears to
stand practically alone in the trenchancy and thoroughness of its
analysis of these issues with respect to computer music. This viewpoint
contrasts markedly with Catherine M. Cameron's  rather celebratory
ethnography-at-a-distance of what she terms "American experimentalism,"
in which the word "race" never appears, and in which her notion of a
"musical class structure" is framed largely in terms of a now-moribund
debate about relative privilege between Europe and America.
In contrast, Born's explicit identification of the nearly all-male,
all-white musical and cultural canon articulated not only by
the French institute, but by its American equivalents, traces the
outlines of the development of a post-1950s aesthetic of trans-European
experimentalism. Given her so far unrefuted thesis that the overwhelming
majority of computer music research and compositional activity locates
itself (however unsteadily at times) within the belief systems and
cultural practices of European concert music, one can easily imagine a
work that, like Voyager, exemplifies an area of musical discourse
using computers that is not viewed culturally and historically as a
branch of trans-European contemporary concert music and, moreover,
is not necessarily modeled as a narrative about "composition."
The Aesthetics of Multidominance
In an influential 1990s essay, the artist and critic Robert L. Douglas
 sought to formalize an African-American aesthetic, synthesizing
visual and musical elements of what the painter Jeff Donaldson,
founder of the Africobra art movement , has called "Trans-African"
culture. The aspect of Douglas's theory that I wish to highlight here
is the notion of "multidominant elements," which I will henceforth call
"multidominance." According to Douglas, the aesthetics of multidominance,
involving "the multiple use of colors in intense degrees, or the
multiple use of textures, design patterns, or shapes"  are found
quite routinely in musical
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and visual works of Africa and its diaspora.
By way of introduction to his theory, Douglas recalls from his art-student
days that interviews with "most African-American artists with Eurocentric
art training will reveal that they received similar instructions,
such as 'tone down your colors, too many colors'" . Apparently,
these "helpful" pedagogical interventions were presented as somehow
universal and transcendent, rather than as emanating from a particular
culturally or historically situated worldview, or as based in networks of
political or social power. Douglas, in observing that "such culturally
narrow aesthetic views would have separated us altogether from our rich
African heritage if we had accepted them without question," goes on to
compare this aspect of Eurocentric art training to Eurocentric music
training, which in his view does not equip its students to hear music
with multidominant rhythmic and melodic elements as anything but "noise,"
"frenzy" or perhaps "chaos" .
In fact, virtually every extant form of black music has been characterized
as "noise." As historian Jon Cruz notes, the history of this trope in
the United States dates back at least as far as the slavery period:
"Prior to the mid-19th Century black music appears to have been heard
by captors and overseers primarily as noise--that is, as strange,
unfathomable, and incomprehensible" . However, as Cruz points out,
for slaveowners to hear only noise is "tantamount to being oblivious
to the structures of meaning that anchored sounding to the hermeneutic
world of the slaves." To hear only noise is to "remain removed from how
slave soundings probed their circumstances and cultivated histories and
The notion identified by Cruz that "the production of music and other
cultural forms enabled slaves to collectively exercise symbolic control"
 addresses directly the issue of how a formal aesthetic can articulate
political and social meaning. Such modern-day (soon to be old-school)
hip-hop groups as Public Enemy, in full recognition of the disapprobation
of their music by powerful sectors of the dominant culture of their own
day, even appropriated and ironicized this trope, challenging themselves,
their listeners and their detractors with their explicit intention and
exhortation to "bring the noise" .
Douglas's call for a formalist analysis does not exclude the realization
that the border between form and content is difficult to police. Moreover,
these formal abstractions are not universals; multidominance is not
present in all trans-African music and art and certainly must not be
applied as a sonic litmus test. In the particular case of Voyager,
however, the composition's African-American cultural provenance lends
particular credence to an identification of multidominance at the levels
of both the logical structure of the software and its performative
articulation. Moreover, whether or not these multidominant forms have
been consciously conceptualized, exploited and extended by artists with
full awareness of their implications, they must be viewed as culturally
contingent, historically emergent and linked to situated structures of
power and dialogue.
The African-American composer Olly Wilson  has identified a set of
tendencies and principles characteristic of African and Afro-American
music-making, while quite similar principles are identified by Robert
Farris Thompson in examining African visual forms . In particular,
Douglas, Wilson and Thompson all identify rhythm as a critically
important structural element in African-derived music. Wilson notices
in African-derived music a "principle of rhythmic and implied metrical
contrast" . Thompson sees the black Atlantic visual tradition  as
displaying "a propensity for multiple meter" , and his references to
Mande cloth work as incorporating a conception of "rhythmized textiles"
makes a direct connection with both African and African-American music
. Similarly, Douglas connects the visual with the sonic: "the
predisposition to use multiple types of rhythm in musical construction
speaks equally to a distinct aesthetic as does the multiple use of visual
Computer Music and Trans-African Formalism
I conceived and programmed the first version of Voyager between
1986 and 1988. The work was created in Amsterdam at the Studio for
Elektro-Instrumentale Muziek (STEIM); I added later ameliorations wherever
I happened to be in the ensuing years. Since then, Voyager has been
performed around the world, with improvisors such as myself (trombone),
saxophonists Roscoe Mitchell, J.D. Parran, Douglas Ewart and Evan Parker,
pianist Haruna Miyake, and extended cellist Jon Rose. The work has been
performed in venues as diverse as the IRCAM Summer Academy, the Groningen
Jazz Marathon, International Computer Music Conferences in 1988 and 1994,
Xebec Hall (Kobe, Japan) and the Velvet Lounge in Chicago .
The various versions of Voyager have all been written in dialects
of Forth, the curiously hybrid compiled/interpreted environment created
by Charles Moore around 1970 [25,26]. Seemingly anti-authoritarian in
nature, during the early 1980s Forth appealed to a community of composers
who wanted an environment in which a momentary inspiration could quickly
lead to its sonic realization--a dialogic creative process, emblematic
of an improvisor's way of working. As the Forth culture developed,
languages such as Hierarchical Music Specification Language (HMSL)
 and, later, FORMULA (FORth MUsic LAnguage) [28,29], created by
artists working in the field, made Forth and its dialects perhaps the
most widely used language group for interactive music before the advent
of Max, a language that similarly centers the dialogic as part of the
software construction process.
My analysis of Voyager as an interactive computer music system
uses Robert Rowe's taxonomy of "player" and "instrument" paradigms ,
although these two models of role construction in interactive systems
should be viewed as on a continuum along which a particular system's
model of computer-human interaction can be located. In Rowe's terms,
Voyager functions as an extreme example of a "player" program,
where the computer system does not function as an instrument to be
controlled by a performer.
I conceive a performance of Voyager as multiple parallel streams
of music generation, emanating from both the computers and the humans--a
nonhierarchical, improvisational, subject-subject model of discourse,
rather than a stimulus/response setup.
Both the sonic behavior and the program structure of Voyager
exhibit multidominance in a number of respects. First, the Voyager
program is conceived as a set of 64 asynchronously operating single-voice
MIDI-controlled "players," all generating music in real time. Several
different (and to some, clashing) sonic behavior groupings, or ensembles,
may be active simultaneously, moving in and out of metric synchronicity,
with no necessary arithmetic
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correlation between the strongly discursive layers of multirhythm. While
this is happening, a lower-level routine parses incoming MIDI data
into separate streams for up to two human improvisors, who are either
performing on MIDI-equipped keyboards or playing acoustic instruments
through "pitch followers," devices that try to parse the sounds of
acoustic instruments into MIDI data streams.
The aperiodic, asynchronously recurring global "behavior
specification" subroutine setphrasebehavior, which runs at
intervals of between 5 and 7 seconds, continually recombines the MIDI
"players" into new ensemble combinations with defined behaviors (Fig. 1). This subroutine (or "word" in
Forth parlance) first makes determinations as to how many players will
be part of the next ensemble. Additional options include turning off
all players in all ensembles and starting afresh with this new group,
turning off just the most recently instantiated ensemble, or allowing the
new ensemble to enter the fray with the groups that are already playing.
The setphrasebehavior word also includes constituent subroutines
that specify for the new ensemble choices of timbre, the choice of one
of 15 melody algorithms, the choice of approximately 150 microtonally
specified pitchsets (see Fig. 2),
and choices of volume range, microtonal transposition, tactus (or
"beat"), tempo, probability of playing a note, spacing between notes,
interval-width range and MIDI-related ornamentation such as chorusing,
reverb and portamento, and how such parameters as tessitura and
tempo can change over time. Moreover, each new ensemble chooses
not only a distinct group sonority, but a unique response to input,
deciding which improvisors--one, both or none--will influence its output
behavior. Further options include imitating, directly opposing or ignoring
the information coming from the improvisors.
The response task word setresponse (Fig. 3), which runs asynchronously to
the phrase behavior task, processes data from both the low-level MIDI
parser that collects and manages the raw data and a mid-level smoothing
routine that uses this raw data to construct averages of pitch, velocity,
probability of note activity and spacing between notes. This information
is used by setresponse to decide in greater detail how each
ensemble will respond to elements of the input, such as tempo (speed),
probability of playing a note, the spacing between notes, melodic interval
width, choice of primary pitch material (including a pitchset
[End Page 35]
based on the last several notes received) octave range, microtonal
transposition and volume.
Of particular note here is the fact that in the absence of outside
input, the complete specification of the system's musical behavior is
internally generated by setphrasebehavior. In practical terms,
this means that Voyager does not need to have real-time human
input to generate music. In turn, since the program exhibits generative
behavior independently of the improvisor, decisions taken by the computer
have consequences for the music that must be taken into account by
the improvisor. With no built-in hierarchy of human leader/computer
follower--no "veto" buttons, footpedals or physical cues--all
communication between the system and the improvisor takes place sonically.
The simultaneous multiplicities of available timbres, microtonal
pitchsets, rhythms, transposition levels and other elements in
Voyager--all emblematic of an aesthetic of multidominance--reflect
my inheritance from the Association for the Advancement of Creative
Musicians' notion of "multi-instrumentalism," where a number of AACM
improvisors, including Wadada Leo Smith, Henry Threadgill, Douglas Ewart,
Joseph Jarman, Roscoe Mitchell, Anthony Braxton and others moved to
develop multiple voices on a wide variety of instruments . In AACM
performances, the extreme multiplicity of voices, embedded within an
already highly collective ensemble orientation, permitted the timbral
diversity of a given situation to exceed the sum of its instrumental
parts, affording a wider palette of potential orchestrations to explore.
The attempt to thoroughly map, parse and develop the input data is
based on the notion that, through the accumulation and articulation
of many small details, an interactive, adaptive input structure that
generates a sufficiently detailed representation of its input can then
produce a musical output perceptible by an improvisor as analogous to
various states that were experienced during improvisation. This notion
of bidirectional transfer of intentionality through sound--or "emotional
transduction"--constructs performance as an intentional act embodying
meaning and announcing emotional and mental intention. In this way,
I believe, the emotional state of the improvisor may be mirrored in the
computer partner, even if the actual material played by the computer does
not necessarily preserve the pitch, duration or morphological structures
found in the input.
In improvised music, improvisors often assert both personal narrative and
difference as critical aspects of their work. For me, what Jerry Garcia
called the "anti-authoritarian" impulse in improvisation led me to pursue
the project of de-instrumentalizing the computer. If the computer is
not treated as a musical instrument, but as an independent improvisor,
difference is partly grounded in the form of program responses that are
not necessarily predictable on the basis of outside input. As we have
noted earlier, Voyager's response to input has several modes,
from complete communion to utter indifference. This seeming lack of
uniformity is not necessarily correlated with "lack of structure," as is
so often expressed in the vernacular discourse of "randomness." Rather,
while tendencies over a long period of time exhibit consistency,
moment-to-moment choices can shift unpredictably.
It is a fact, however, that the system is designed to avoid the kind
of uniformity where the same kind of input routinely leads to the
same result. Voyager's aesthetic of variation and difference is
at variance with the information retrieval and control paradigm that
late capitalism has found useful in framing its preferred approach to
the encounter with computer technology. As I have observed elsewhere,
interactivity has gradually become a metonym for information retrieval
rather than dialogue, posing the danger of commodifying and ultimately
reifying the encounter with technology:
Indeed, the rapid development of standardized modes for the relationships
between humans and computers is unfortunate for such a young and
presumably quickly changing technology. The evolution of the language
used to reflect the multimedia revolution is a compelling testament to
the power of corporate media. Corporate power assumes an important, even
dominating role in conditioning our thinking about computers, art, image,
and sound. Much of the descriptive language surrounding multimedia (and
related areas, such as "cyberspace") serves to hide the power exercised
by corporations .
Finally, Wilson notices in African-derived music a tendency toward a
high density of events in a relatively short time frame . It is to
be noted that the work of many important African-American improvisors--in
particular Cecil Taylor, John Coltrane and Albert Ayler--exhibit a notion
of extended form that involves the sustained use, often for very long
periods, of extremely rapid, many-noted intensity structures. Donaldson's
1988 visual work Jam Packed and Jelly Tight  exemplifies the
approach of the Africobra artists, who, according to Douglas,
used the jampack and jelly-tight concept as a means of filling up the
void, to add as much as possible to the act of creation. Africobra
members accept these concepts as an African axiom: that to add to life
is to ensure that there is more to share .
The Voyager program often combines dense, rapid accretions of
sonic information with sudden changes of mood, tempo and orchestration,
eschewing the slowly moving timbral narratives characteristic of much
institutionally based computer
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music. Thus, Voyager is in clear violation of the dictum
that Douglas identifies here as Eurocentric: "Don't overcrowd your
composition with too many elements" . These real distinctions from
much institutionally produced trans-European computer music led one
puzzled Italian listener to ask me "why so many things are happening
at the same time." Or, to quote the king from the movie Amadeus,
speaking of Mozart's work, "There are too many notes" .
In the context of improvised musics that exhibit strong influences from
African-American ways of music-making, musical sound--or rather, "one's
own sound"--becomes a carrier for history and cultural identity. As Yusef
Lateef maintains, "The sound of the improvisation seems to tell us what
kind of person is improvising. We feel that we can hear character or
personality in the way the musician improvises" . Essentially the
same notion was advanced in the 1940s by Charlie Parker, who declared
that "Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you
don't live it, it won't come out of your horn" .
The incorporation and welcoming of agency, social necessity, personality
and difference as aspects of "sound" distinguish such music from work that
"incorporates" or "uses" improvisation, or that features "indeterminacy"
or aleatoric practices. "Sound" becomes identifiable, not with timbre
alone, but with the expression of personality, the assertion of agency,
the assumption of responsibility and an encounter with history, memory
Part of the task of constructing Voyager consisted of providing
the program with its "own sound." In Voyager, this notion of
sound appears in tandem with a kind of technology-mediated animism,
expressed as an interactive aesthetic of negotiation and independent
computer agency. This recalls the frequent references by Malachi Favors
Maghostut, contrabassist and co-founder of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, to
someone he met on his travels as "this African brother who had instruments
that played themselves." Further, the trope of musical performance on
an instrument as communication between two subject intelligences is
exemplified by Francis Bebey's description of an incident wherein an
accomplished African musician, after trying an instrument briefly, handed
it back to its owner with the remark that he had no way of communicating
with "someone who did not speak the same language" as he did. Bebey, in
general discussion of African music, further maintains that in a number
of African musical traditions a musical instrument "is often regarded as a
human being." As evidence he offers the story of another African musician,
who described his refusal to sell his drum (despite his near-destitution)
by saying that he did not want to "deliver a slave into bondage" .
The other important notion that animates Voyager is that of the
improvising orchestra. While Voyager can be seen as appropriating
or even playing the dozens with the notion of the nineteenth-century
European orchestra, my model in this regard is the Javanese gamelan
ensemble, where a large number of players playing a relatively fixed
composition nonetheless have considerable latitude in interpretation,
even at primary levels such as pitch, duration and rhythm. Control of
musical process is shared among players; inter-player communication
takes place without necessarily involving a central authority. Local
decisions taken by individual players percolate up to the global level,
at which the overall form is maintained.
The Javanese musician Hardja Susilo characterizes "improvisation" in
court tradition according to its interactive, social or intentional
role, acknowledging how intentionality of process affects the musical
result. For example, the Javanese term kembangan (literally,
"flowering") refers to an improvisation that adds beauty. Isen-isen
("filling") is an improvisation that "pleasantly fills a vacuum." On
the other hand, ngambang ("floating") refers to musicians who
are improvising without clear knowledge of where the music is going,
and ngawur ("blunder") denotes an out-of-style or irrelevant
improvisation . Thus, the success of this heterarchically oriented
approach to large-group musical interaction can be seen to depend not
only on the performative skills of the players, but upon their real-time
Finally, it is striking to note how an African-American perspective on
improvisation reflects a similarity with recent thinking in the game of
basketball, an area in which African-American players have continually
presented revolutionary possibilities. The situation with improvisation,
conventional classical music wisdom notwithstanding, is remarkably similar
to basketball coach Phil Jackson's description of the triangle offense,
in which "there are no set plays, and the defense can't predict what's
going to happen next." As with improvisation, the ideal of the triangle
system is for each player to be "acutely aware, at any given moment,
of what's happening on the
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floor" . While in both areas, triangle offense author Tex Winter's dictum
that "the offense must utilize the players' individual skills" has
major relevance, it is absolutely crucial that both basketballers and
experienced improvisors "develop an intuitive feel for how their movements
and those of everyone else on the floor are interconnected" .
Thus, continuous awareness is the means through which these possibilities
are articulated in performance. Part of the analytic task facing any
improvisor (whether or not that improvisor is a computer) involves
discovering or even positing ways in which seemingly unrelated material
can become part of either an existing or a new structure within the
emergent music. Depending on context, the responses of the computer
to the improvisor's input can potentially be seen as either related
or unrelated, either during the improvisation itself or upon further
reflection. Moreover, the explicit possibility of encountering completely
unrelated material encourages the possibility of changes in the music
initiated by the computer as well as by the humans.
Thus, with both computers and humans, the data gathered must be viewed in
a variety of contexts and from diverse perspectives in order to decide
how the material to be presented next might function in terms of what
has already been presented. The relatedness of particular materials need
not be, and quite often cannot be, "objectively" demonstrable. Rather,
the framing, by all parties to the music-making, of the relationship that
the new material has to the overall piece at that moment is a crucial
factor in structure formation. This process may be subsumed under the
general heading of "creativity."
Afterword: Structure and Freedom
"Structure," as we understand it in music pedagogy, is highly
desirable. On the other hand, at the same time that most students learn
fairly early on that "jazz" (whatever that might be) is improvised,
the dominant culture informs them, in myriad ways that are continually
reinscribed across the breadth of daily experience, that "improvised"
is a synonym for "unstructured." In apparently welcome contrast, we are
provided with the role of the "composer," which can be usefully summarized
as "bringer of structure." The structure inevitably arrives in the form
of a written text, a coded set of symbols, intended for realization in
performance by a "performer."
This metonymic dialectic between "composed" and "improvised" ways of
producing musical texts serves to obscure a more fundamental constructed
binary comprising the two most influential musical cultures of the
twentieth century, the trans-European and trans-African. Proponents
of each form-complex tend to construct an Other from proponents of
the complementary form--particularly in creating competing notions of
"art music"--but the asymmetrical distribution of cultural power clearly
rests, for the moment, with the "bringers of structure." In Euro-American
art-music culture this binary is routinely and simplistically framed
as involving the "effortless spontaneity" of improvisation, versus the
careful deliberation of composition--the composer as ant, the improvisor
To move beyond this tendentiously posed opposition, a meaningful
distinction between these different ways of knowing--the improvisational
and the compositional--must inevitably turn upon the axis of
interaction. Improvisation must be open--that is, open to input,
open to contingency--a real-time and (often enough) a real-world mode
of production. In machine terms, what we may have in Voyager
is a composing machine that allows outside intervention. If we do not
need to define improvised ways of producing knowledge as a subset of
composition, then we can simply speak of an improvising machine as one
that incorporates a dialogic imagination.
Thus, if there is to be serious talk about "our" identity as humans, those
identities are continually conditioned and reinscribed through processes
of interactivity, where negotiation, difference, partial perspective--and
in the case of music, sonic signaling--enter the picture. Voyager
asks questions concerning ways in which historically contingent meanings
are exchanged through sound. Even given my emphasis on the personal
conception of "sound," Voyager is not asking whether machines
exhibit personality or identity, but how personalities and identities
become articulated through sonic behavior. Instead of asking about the
value placed (by whom?) on artworks made by computers, Voyager
continually refers to human expression. Rather than asking if computers
can be creative and intelligent--those qualities, again, that we seek
in our mates, or at least in a good blind date--Voyager asks
us where our own creativity and intelligence might lie--not "How do we
create intelligence?" but "How do we find it?" Ultimately, the subject
of Voyager is not technology or computers at all, but musicality
The work of George Lewis has explored improvised music, electronic
and computer music, computer-based multimedia installations, text-sound
works and notated forms, and is documented on more than 90 recordings. A
member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM)
since 1971, Lewis has worked closely with other genre-busting contemporary
musicians, such as Anthony Braxton, Anthony Davis, Bertram Turetzky, David
Behrman, Derek Bailey, Douglas Ewart, Evan Parker, Frederic Rzewski,
Gil Evans, Irene Schweizer, James Newton, Joelle Leandre, John Zorn,
Leroy Jenkins, Misha Mengelberg, Muhal Richard Abrams, Roscoe Mitchell,
Steve Lacy and Wadada Leo Smith. Lewis has received numerous fellowships
from the National Endowment for the Arts, and is the 1999 recipient of
the Cal Arts/Alpert Award in the Arts. Lewis now teaches in the Critical
Studies/Experimental Practices area at the University of California,
George E. Lewis (trombonist, composer, computer/installation artist),
Department of Music, Critical Studies/Experimental Practices Area,
University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla,
CA 92093-0326, U.S.A. E-mail: <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Website:
Manuscript received 30 March 2000.
References and Notes
1. George Lewis, Voyager, Disk Union-Avan CD 014 (1992).
2. George Lewis, Endless Shout, Tzadik TZ CD 7054 (2000).
3. Robert Farris Thompson, Flash of the Spirit: African and
Afro-American Art and Philosophy (New York: Vintage, 1983).
4. Loretta Todd, "Aboriginal Narratives in Cyberspace," in Mary Anne Moser
and Douglas MacLeod, eds., Immersed in Technology: Art and Virtual
Environments (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1996) pp. 179-194.
5. Cameron Bailey, "Virtual Skin: Articulating Race in Cyberspace,"
in Moser and MacLeod  pp. 29-49.
6. Georgina Born, Rationalizing Culture: IRCAM, Boulez and the
Institutionalization of the Avant-Garde (Berkeley, CA: Univ. of
California Press, 1995).
7. Catherine M. Cameron, Dialectics in the Arts: The Rise of
Experimentalism in American Music (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1996).
8. Robert L. Douglas, "Formalizing an African-American Aesthetic,"
New Art Examiner (June/Summer 1991) pp. 18-24.
9. Jeff Donaldson, "Africobra--African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists: 10
in Search of a Nation," Black World (October 1970) pp. 81-89;
Ann Gibson, "The African American Aesthetic and Postmodernism," in David
C. Driskell, ed., African American Visual Aesthetics: A Postmodernist
View (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1995).
10. See Douglas  p. 18.
11. See Douglas  p. 18.
12. See Douglas  p. 18.
13. Jon Cruz, Culture on the Margins: The Black Diaspora and the
Rise of American Cultural Interpretation (Princeton, NJ: Princeton
Univ. Press, 1999) p. 43.
14. See Cruz  p. 47.
15. See Cruz  p. 47.
16. "Bring the Noise" is the second track on Public Enemy's second album,
It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988).
17. Olly Wilson, "Black Music as an Art Form," in Robert G. O'Meally,
ed., The Jazz Cadence of American Culture (New York: Columbia
Univ. Press, 1998) pp. 82-101.
18. See Thompson  p. xiii.
19. See Wilson  p. 84.
20. Paul Gilroy describes the "black Atlantic" as an "intercultural and
transnational formation" that encompasses Africa and its diasporas, on
both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, including Europe (especially Britain),
the United States, the Caribbean and South America. In particular,
he argues that "the literary and philosophical modernisms of the black
Atlantic have their origins in a well-developed sense of the complicity
of racialized reason and white supremacist terror." See Paul Gilroy,
The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness (Cambridge,
MA: Harvard Univ. Press, 1993) pp. ix-x.
21. See Thompson  p. xiii.
22. See Thompson  p. 207.
23. See Douglas  p. 19.
24. Recent citations and reviews of this work include the following:
Joel Chadabe, Electric Sound: The Past and Promise of Electronic
Music (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1997) pp. 299-301;
Ben Ratliff, "Improvisers Meet the Machines," New York Times (14
October 1997); Zane East, "George E. Lewis: Voyager," Computer
Music Journal 19, No. 1 (Spring 1995).
26. FORTH was spelled in upper case until the late 1970s because of
the prevalence of upper-case-only I/O devices. The usage "Forth" was
generally adopted when lower case became widely available, because
the word was not an acronym. E.D. Ratner, D. Colburn and C.H. Moore,
"The Evolution of Forth," ACM SIGPLAN Notices 28, No. 3 (March
27. Phil Burk, Larry Polansky and David Rosenboom, "HMSL: A Theoretical
Overview," Perspectives of New Music 28, No. 2, 136-178
28. D.P. Anderson and R. Kuivila, "Continuous Abstractions for Discrete
Event Languages," Computer Music Journal 3, No. 13, 11-23
29. D.P. Anderson and R. Kuivila, "Formula: A Programming Language for
Expressive Computer Music," Computer IEEE 24, No. 7, 12-21
30. Robert Rowe, Interactive Music Systems (Cambridge, MA: MIT
Press, 1992) p. 8.
31. References to the AACM, one of the most creatively diverse
organizations of the last 30 years, are present in international
abundance, so I present here just three citations that detail the
organization's structural and cultural strategies: George E. Lewis,
"Singing Omar's Song: A (Re)construction of Great Black Music,"
Lenox Avenue 4 (1998) pp. 69-92; Ronald M. Radano, "Jazzin'
the Classics: The AACM's Challenge to Mainstream Aesthetics," Black
Music Research Journal 12, No. 1, 79-95 (1992); Ekkehard Jost,
"The Chicagoans," in Jost, Free Jazz (New York: Da Capo Press,
1994; originally published 1974).
32. George E. Lewis, "Singing the Alternative Interactivity Blues,"
Front 7, No. 2, 18-22 (November/December 1995).
33. See Wilson  p. 84.
34. Jeff Donaldson, Jam Packed and Jelly Tight, artwork, mixed
media on canvas, 36 * 50 in (1988). The work is reproduced in Driskell
 plate 10.
35. See Douglas  p. 21.
36. See Douglas  p. 18.
37. Amadeus, Milos Forman, director (1984).
38. Yusef A. Lateef, "The Pleasures of Voice in Improvised Music,"
in Roberta Thelwell, ed., Views on Black American Music: Selected
Proceedings from the Fourteenth, Fifteenth, Sixteenth and Seventeenth
Annual Black Musicians' Conferences, University of Massachusetts at
Amherst, No. 3 (1985-1988) pp. 43-46.
39. Michael Levin and John S. Wilson, "No Bop Roots in Jazz: Parker,"
Down Beat 61, No. 2, 24-25 (February 1994; originally
published 9 September 1949).
40. Francis Bebey, African Music: A People's Art (Westport, CT:
Lawrence Hill, 1975) pp. 119-120.
41. H. Susilo, "Toward an Appreciation of Javanese Gamelan," (unpublished,
42. Phil Jackson, who during the 1990s won six National Basketball
Association championships as head coach of the Chicago Bulls, as well
as the 2000 NBA championship with the Los Angeles Lakers, adopted as
part of his winning scheme coach Fred "Tex" Winter's unusual system of
basketball offense, variously known as the "triple-post" (Winter's term)
or the "triangle" offense. Jackson often describes the offense in terms
of its spiritual and cultural implications, as well as its efficacy
in basketball. See Phil Jackson and Hugh Delehanty, Sacred Hoops:
Spiritual Lessons of a Hardwood Warrior (New York: Hyperion, 1995)
p. 87. Also see Fred Winter, The Triple-Post Offense (Englewood
Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1962) for the original documentation of
43. Jackson and Delehanty  p. 91. See also Winter .
George Lewis, Endless Shout, Tadik TZ CD 7054 (2000).
George Lewis, Homage to Charles Parker, Black Saint BSR 0029
George Lewis, Voyager, Disk Union-Avan CD 014 (1992).
George Lewis and Douglas Ewart, George Lewis/Douglas Ewart, Black
Saint SR 0026 (1979).
Richard Teitelbaum, Concerto Grosso, hat ART CD 6004 (1988).