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date: 19 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Against a background of the broader phenomenon of skill, this chapter draws on research in psychology, interaction design, and music to build a multidimensional conception of skill within the context of music performance. The focus subsequently narrows on the particular challenges to the existence of skill and virtuosity in performance with interactive music systems. A framework emerges, in which the cognitive and sensorimotor dimensions of skill are socially constituted and environmentally situated in an ecosystem of performers, spectators, and technologies. In such a fragile and complex network, which may involve novel instruments, unfamiliar performance situations, and potentially conflicting or unmet expectations, the social construction of skill in interactive performance is subject to breakdown. The chapter argues that for skill to emerge, the design, presentation, and dissemination of interactive music systems must account for the various dimensions of skill and the entire ecosystem within which skilled performative interaction takes place.

Keywords: skill, music, virtuosity, performance, social, interactive music, cognitive, sensorimotor, ecosystem, interaction design

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