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date: 23 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

In live coding performance, performers create time-based works by programming them while these same works are being executed. The high cognitive load of this practice, along with differing ideas about how it should be addressed, results in a plurality of practices and a number of tensions at play. In this chapter we use a lens of five recurrent tensions to explore these practices, including the balance of stability and risk in performance; the legibility and immediacy of code for audience and performer; the benefits and limits of musical and computational abstractions; the maintenance of flow and pace during performance; and the diversity of conceptions of time, determinacy, and duration that pervade live coding. Addressing these tensions contributes to the unique appeal, challenge, and power of live coding, and provides spaces to develop highly individual and expressive practices.

Keywords: live coding, music performance, musical abstraction, flow, musical practice

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