As music production and recording systems become more complex and sophisticated, the need for intuitive, easy-to-use controls over them becomes essential if they are to be used effectively. Ideally, a musician or recording engineer could express requests in the most natural way possible, without having to worry about the details of exactly how to realize them. This paper will discuss one such approach to a man-machine interface for music systems, that of the natural (English) language conversational interface. Equipped with such an interface, requests of the music system are made in simple English commands and statements, like -give me more plate on the snare,- or -put the bass onto channel 23.- The benefits and limitations of current-day natural language interface technology as it pertains to music and music systems will be discussed. Examples will be presented from one such interface designed for a variety of musical tasks such as midi sequencing and score editing, digital mixing and editing, and automated mixer control.
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