Article: How I lost 150 lbs. thanks to Max/MSP!

[Note: This is an older paper that pre-dates my PhD studies. It catches the mood of the time when composers and performers in certain arenas were viewed as necessarily categorically distinct. Thankfully, not so much now.]

Jeff Kaiser

How I lost 150 lbs. thanks to Max/MSP!

While conferences and symposia are replete with papers and presentations with the admirable goal of furthering the development of “software as composition,” it is less common to encounter similar discussions of software-mediated improvisation in which the “composer” and “performer” are one and the same person. In designing software for improvising musicians, different needs must be addressed, which would include an individual’s unique improvisational view, idiosyncrasies of their instrument, and flexibility within a variety of live performance situations (rather than repeatability within a proscenium or otherwise controlled environment). This paper describes why I moved from a hardware-based to a software-based music performance system, and why I chose Max/MSP as the most flexible system for meeting my personal needs as an improvising musician.


Jeff Kaiser, “How I Lost 150 Lbs. Thanks to MaxMsp!” (Spark Festival of Electronic Music and Art, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Minneapolis, 2006).