The use of feedback-based systems in the music domain dates back to the 1960s. Their applications span from music composition and sound organization to audio synthesis and processing, as the interest in feedback resulted both from theoretical reflection on cybernetics and system theory, and from practical experimentation on analog circuits. The advent of computers has made possible the implementation of complex theoretical systems in audio-domain oriented applications, in some sense bridging the gap between theory and practice in the analog domain, and further increasing the range of audio and musical applications of feedback systems. In this article we first sketch a minimal history of feedback in music; second, we briefly introduce feedback systems from a theoretical point of view; then we propose a set of features that characterize them from the perspective of music applications; finally, we propose a typology targeted at feedback systems used in the audio/musical domain and discuss some relevant examples.

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