On Digital Drumming: Collaborative, Dyadic, Co-Located, Coordinated Interaction

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Virginia Tech


The use of digital technology can be seen in many aspects of daily lives. Once a symbol of business and the corporate world, digital devices such as computers and cell phones are now common artifacts to adults and children alike. While these devices become more practical and common, questions of their impact on behavior and interactions begin to arise. Digital Drumming is a series of three experiments that examined the impact of known computer participation as a partner in a dyadic creative, experience-driven task. The subjective processes associated with the task of rhythmic music production by inexperienced and experienced participants working collaboratively either with a human or computer partner to produce complex poly-rhythm sounds were investigated. Specifically, the research question asked is: How do inexperienced versus experienced drummers solve problems of what to produce when they have a human partner, versus a computer partner? This is a problem of cooperation, synchronization, and microcoordination (Lee, Tatar, & Harrison, 2010). Data was collected through self-reported questionnaires and audio transcriptions of the actual sessions. Behavioral data and subjective experience responses suggested that participants viewed a computer's role differently depending on their experience level. Participants demonstrated a propensity to simultaneous interaction, often sharing a common tempo with variable rhythmic patterns. The importance of partner, as well as the perception of leader were influenced by the partner type, and the experience level of the participant. This work identifies differ- ent perceptions and expectations that humans of varying prior experience levels have when interacting with and responding to technology, and suggests deeper investigation into how people view technology in creative activities.



digital drumming, music production, action-driven behavior, situated action, dyadic interaction, human-computer interaction, Collaboration