How can you tell that someone is listening?
There is a saying in improvisation that there are no mistakes. We can take it as an acceptable starting point, because it’s clear that there’s no saying what the rules might be, or how they might change.
This tends to get a lot of traction in improvisation circles, especially when it addresses the rather dangerously prescribed traditions of classical music, and to some extent those of jazz (which may well be at its most doctrinaire when it is at its least pre-determined).
There is the matter, though, of playing as though you are not listening. This may in fact be a mistake.
It is not mistake because of what gets played under these conditions, though it does have a particular sound. It has more to do with atmosphere: even when music is at its most traditional, its most familiar, its least mindful, an audience doesn’t just hear what’s played, it hears what could be played, what is probably-to-be-expected… that is, the hearers hear you listening forward, and the composer listening forward, and making choices in a field of possibilities.
So how would you make a machine seem to listen? How would you get it to codify these parameters of calculation and search, and desire for resonance?
And what would be the use?