Zero Waste, for Kathleen Supove, by Nick Didkovsky

Zero Waste uses JMSL Score to generate and display a musical score in traditional staff notation. The piece begins by displaying two measures of autogenerated music, which Kathleen Supove then sight-reads. The computer 'listens' to what she just played, and immediately transcribes her performance into the same score. She in turn sight-reads that transcription, the computer listens again and transcribes... forming a kind of feedback loop of sight-reading and transcription. Over time the challenge of sight reading and the limits of music notation evolve the piece into something very different than how it began.

One of my students compared "Zero Waste" to the game of 'telephone', while someone else said it brought to mind Alvin Lucier's "I Am Sitting in a Room", where the emphasis is on the resonances in a system rather than the source material.

Each performance of Zero Waste is unique: each starts with a new two-measure computer-generated "seed" of music, and of course each sight-reading will be rich with variation. The performance persented here is the premiere, as performed by Kathleen Supove on November 11, 2002, 8 pm, at NYU's Loewe Theater, 35 W4th St., NYC

You need a Java-enabled browser to view this applet.

Thanks to John Clavin for the JSyn piano patch used in this applet.

* Java Music Specification Language (C) 1997-2003 Nick Didkovsky and Phil Burk, visit
* JSyn (C) 1997 Phil Burk, visit

Punos Music Home