~ICMC 2015 - Sept. 25 - Oct. 1, 2015 - CEMI, University of North Texas VizScore: An On-Screen Notation Delivery System for Live Performance Seth Shafer University of North Texas SethShafer@my.unt.edu ABSTRACT VizScore is an open-source, on-screen notation delivery system designed with the performer's strengths in mind. By harnessing a performer's learned skills of reading traditional paper notation and practice of interpreting time from a conductor's gestures, VizScore creates a notation environment that can integrate seamlessly into any performance situation and help musicians play in time with other instruments, live or computer-generated. The paper reviews some general design principles of on-screen notation as put forth by current experts in the field and offers a new model for on-screen notational display. The paper then assesses results from a comparative study between VizScore and related on-screen notation software, before describing future goals. Software like VizScore can help push both performers and composers to stretch the current paradigmatic boundaries while yielding accurate results in the concert environment. 1. INTRODUCTION The evolving world of interactive computer music has, in recent years, witnessed a trend of using an on-screen display for communicating directions to the performer. Not surprisingly, this is mirrored in the larger musical context with a growing number of both performers and conductors preferring to use tablets or displays rather than printed parts or scores. For young composers, the screen and associated computing power has been present during their entire compositional development making the integration of such devices into the concert environment natural. Likewise, many young performers are willing to explore new paradigms of notation. This paper considers the general design principles of onscreen notation and demonstrates how they are practically applied in a new piece of open-source, on-screen notation software called VizScore. Design principles from Lindsay Copyright: ~ 2015 Seth Shafer. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0 Unported, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Vickery's article, "The Limitations of Representing Sound and Notation on Screen," [1] are compared with Richard Picking's article, "Reading Music from Screens vs Paper," [2] resulting in a practical application and explanation of VizScore. Finally, the strengths of this new piece of software are demonstrated in a comparison between VizScore and other on-screen notation applications. 2. THE PROBLEM OF THE CLICK TRACK One of the primary problems in works requiring synchronization with an electronic source is the predominant strategy for synchronization: the in-ear click track. While reasonably reliable, the inherent weakness of the click track is the necessary aural distraction of the click and the lack of location-specific information. Given the importance of the auditory sense to a musician, on-screen notation offers a less distracting, information-rich synchronization method that allows the performer to visually track the location of the music. 3. GENERAL DESIGN PRINCIPLES Vickery's "The Limitations of Representing Sound and Notation on Screen" lays out several general design principles for presenting notation on a computer display. The two critical features of an on-screen display system are the delivery of the notational content and the time-location tracker. The most common notational delivery paradigms used in works relying on on-screen displays are the segmented score and the scrolling score (see Fig. 1). According to Vickery, a segmented score comes the closest to mimicking a traditional paper score experience by breaking a musical staff into multiple lined systems much like a printed part. A segmented score allows the performer to look ahead to future musical events and to see their current position in a larger context. The scrolling score best approximates the linear experience of time as an unbroken continuum. As a single stream of notation smoothly traverses the display, the temporal nature of sound is imbued on the notation itself. The scrolling score can present many challenges to a performer trained in traditional concert practices. Extrapolating from eye-movement research during music reading, one of the - 142 -
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