A slider for composition versus performance

In many creative endeavors there is a tension between “compositional” and “performative” thinking. To compose an opera, or write a play or song, you need a certain amount of quiet contemplation, a space to be alone with your thoughts, and time to hear the sound of your muse.

But the performance of an opera, or play, or song, requires a different sort of thinking. You need to be in the present, to commune with your audience, to be able to pivot at a moment’s notice in response to the energy in the room.

It stands to reason that the best creative tools for these two modes of creation are not the same. And this goes for software tools. If your goal is to implement the best software interface for composing music, you will come up with something very different than if your goal is to implement the best interface for playing music.

Yet so much is the same between these to modes of creation — under the hood you will find much in common between these two types of software. It seems to me that there should be a little slider, one that can be adjusted as needed between “composition” and “performance”. In response, the look and feel of the interface might change radically, yet the underlying power would still be there, only in a different form.

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