GitShow was a distributed, pro-hacking and open-source electronic music composition and instrument design experiment, conducted under development and direction by Michael Palumbo and Dr. Doug Van Nort of the Dispersion Lab.

The project, which first used Max/MSP and later VCV Rack as the composition/design environment, applied the distributed version control system git to a collective coding process oriented towards computer music composition and performance. It was an open-source composition and instrument design experiment which re-assigned authorship to a different participant on a weekly basis. Each participant engaged with previously committed recordings, scores, and versions of the instrument, and then presided over further development with total freedom. The rules and structure which constituted the weekly iterations of git show were modified with each passing session, done relative to observations made about participant activity and emerging questions about the project. The below paper discusses the philosophical grounding of the project relative to the framework of distributed creativity, relating the process to the notion of lineages of creative technique between electroacoustic composers. By providing a means to interact with ideas across varying stages of development, we propose that git is well-suited to capture divergent and confluent traces of ideation between individuals and artefacts such as, e.g., one might historically trace between composers with respect to the synthesis methods they employ.

The archived main project repo can be found here.

The specific archives for the repos that contributed to the branch of the project discussed in the ISEA paper can be found here.


Palumbo, M. and D. Van Nort. “git show: Musical Creativity, Ideation, and GitHub”. Proceedings of the 2020 International Symposium of Electronic Arts (ISEA), 2020.