Ben Grosser to Design Jazz-Improvisation Computer System

Monday, October 19, 2015

With support from the Communicating with Computers program of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Ben Grosser will investigate how jazz musicians interact and then will construct a computer system capable of improvising with human players. Work on his project MUSICA (Musical Improvising Collaborative Agent) will begin with cataloging and analyzing recorded jazz solos to build a database that can reveal what happens between musicians. Then a computer-based performance system will work from this database to both analyze a human player's music in real time and construct an appropriate response to it. The goal is to provide human musicians with computer players who can communicate in a common language and offer insights into how computers and people can interact. Grosser, who holds appointments in the School of Art and Design and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, will work on MUSICA with collaborators Kelland Thomas and Clay Morrison of the University of Arizona and Colin Dawson of Oberlin College. Details from the October 14 News Bureau feature about Grosser's project have been picked up by the Associated Press and carried in newspapers including the Peoria Journal Star and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.