Computers have the potential to significantly extend the practice of popular music based on steady tempo and mostly determined form. There are significant challenges to overcome, however, due to constraints including accurate timing based on beats and adherence to a form or structure despite possible changes that may occur, possibly even during performance. We describe an approach to synchronization across media that takes into account latency due to communication delays and audio buffering. We also address the problem of mapping from a conventional score with repeats and other structures to an actual performance, which can involve both “flattening” the score and rearranging it, as is common in popular music. Finally, we illustrate the possibilities of the score as a bidirectional user interface in a real-time system for music performance, allowing the user to direct the computer through a digitally displayed score, and allowing the computer to indicate score position back to human performers.

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