Tuesday, October 6, 2020



Music Improvisation and Creation

Human and Computational



May 31 – June 3, 2021

Ascea, Italy



~call for papers~



These two terms, ‘improvise’ and ‘create’, are in frequent use, not only in several, but in many disparate ways and their nature, analysis and description currently come to a head by the efforts to translate them into Artificial Intelligence (AI). So first, in order to decide if all – and in particular these – human capacities are computable, one has to get beyond the notoriously vague conceptions and cavalier uses of them. How are they distinguished from inventions, inspirations, impulses, experiments, accidents, discoveries, etc.? What are the criteria for their descriptive or their occasional uses? Are they co-extensive, inter-dependent, conceptually distinguishable? Is creation always or generally the product of improvisation? Is improvisation dependent on a learning process that may or may not lead to a creative product? Is it consistent and/or useful to (attempt to) define creativity (e.g. [4])?


Several projects are underway to install these capacities in (students as well as in) machines (e.g. [3]); since the success of some of these (particularly in music), we need to ask how human and machine improvisations relate, and whether they do. Are improvisation and creation teachable? Are they temporary or permanent capacities? Can one acquire talent? Can a machine be(come) talented? Can machines improvise in the sense that humans do, can they co-improvise, and is there a valid general approach to understanding or evaluating machine improvisation (e.g. [1])?


In what way does it make sense to describe or analyse the activity of improvisation? Can improvisation be reduced to parameters? [2] Is improvisation a general or particular category of action or performance? (We could here invite critique of Ryle’s “Improvisation” [5].) Is musical improvisation a particular kind? Can a computational improviser system trained in music then be applied to improvise in other kinds of activities such as decision-making in (all?) other AI programs? This call is for fresh and detailed examinations of the logic of the concepts of ‘improvisation’ and ‘creation’.


The XIth International Wassard Elea Symposium, held in Ascea, Southern Italy, invites musicologists, computer scientists, philosophers and other academics to submit papers on the topics of this year’s theme. Sessions of 90 min. include speaker, commentator and open discussion (40/20/30). Participants whose papers are accepted are expected to also prepare a commentary on another presentation at the meeting. All suitable contributions are published in our journal, Wassard Elea Rivista.


Inquiries are very welcome. Full papers (attached in Word format) should be sent directly to the organizers:

Dr. René Mogensen, Birmingham City University, United Kingdom: Rene.Mogensen@bcu.ac.uk, or

Prof. Lars Aagaard-Mogensen, Italy: wassardelea@gmail.com.

Deadline for submissions: February 15, 2021.


There is no registration fee; participants will receive details about accommodation rates in due course.



Wassard Elea

Refugium for writers, artists, composers, and scholars in Southern Italy





Selected references:

[1] Agres, K., Forth, J., Wiggins, G. A.: “Evaluation of Musical Creativity and Musical Metacreation Systems”. Computers in Entertainment vol. 14(3), pp. 3:1 – 3:33 (2016)

[2] Biasutti, M., Frezza, L.: “Dimensions of Music Improvisation”. Creativity Research Journal vol. 21(2), pp. 232–242 (2009)

[3] Gifford, T., Knotts, S., McCormack, J., Kalonaris, S., Yee-King, M., d’Inverno, M.: “Computational Systems for Music Improvisation”. Digital Creativity vol. 29(1), pp. 19–36 (2018) & Abraham, A.: “The Promises and Perils of the Neuroscience of Creativity”, Frontiers in Human Neuroscience vol 7, article 246, pp. 1-9 (2013)

-     Gouveia, S. S. The Age of Artificial Intelligence: An Exploration. Vernon Press, Wilmington & Malaga (2020)

[4] Runco, M. A., Jaeger, G. J.: “The Standard Definition of Creativity”. Creativity Research Journal vol. 24(1), pp. 92–96 (2012) & de Sousa, F. C.: “Still the Elusive Definition of Creativity”, International Journal of Psychology: a Biopsychosocial Approach vol 2, pp. 55-82 (2008)

[5] Ryle, G.: “Improvisation”. Mind vol. 85 (337), pp. 69–83 (1976)


Friday, September 18, 2020

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