git show: Musical Creativity, Ideation, and GitHub


Session Title:

  • Machinic Sense & Sensibility: Dispositifs of Sensory Augmentation

Presentation Title:

  • git show: Musical Creativity, Ideation, and GitHub



  • This paper presents the underlying philosophy, design and initial implementation of a project which applies the distributed version control system git to a collective coding process oriented towards computer music composition and performance. The project, git show , is an open-source composition and instrument design experiment which re-assigns authorship to a different participant on a weekly basis. Each participant engages with previously committed recordings, scores, and versions of the instrument, and then presides over further development with total freedom.

    The rules and structure which constitute the weekly iterations of git show are modified with each passing session, done so relative to observations made about participant activity and emerging questions about the project, leading the principal investigator to consider git show as a meta-composition. We discuss the philosophical grounding of the project relative to the framework of distributed creativity, relating our process to the notion of lineages of creative technique between electroacoustic composers. By providing a means to interact with ideas across varying stages of development, we propose that git is well-suited to capture divergent and confluent traces of ideation between individuals and artefacts such as one might historically trace between composers with respect to the synthesis methods they employ.