[AG-TECH] Real Time Music Collaboration

Emilee J Patrick Emilee.Patrick at motorola.com
Fri Mar 8 10:31:08 CST 2002

i don't really play an instrument... i was a vocal
performance major for a while in college.

synchronizing an AG performance will certainly prove to be
challenging... music is so heavily dependent on making the
right sounds at the right time. of course, what the "right
time" means and how it is specified varies from genre to
genre... a bach chorale and a jazz improvisation piece are
opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to how exact the
timing must be

as a singer i was involved several times in very large
choruses and the rule of thumb is to watch the conductor,
don't sing to what you hear (because of the delay related to
the speed of sound, etc.). with the AG this problem is
compounded because there is visual lag as well as auditory.
i'm not a super-technical person so i don't know exactly how
much lag, but it could be enough to throw off the musicians

one alternative would be to try to synchronize metronomes at
each site -- make their settings the same and then start
them at the same time (determined by NTP clocks or

another would be to try to choose a rhythmically "forgiving"
piece to perform where synchronization wouldn't matter so
much. i recall having performed vocal pieces in which the
parts are spoken, not sung. as i recall, there was usually a
bit of instrumental accompaniment... it seems like with this
sort of performance piece it would be less necessary to get
the chords lined up at the right time, etc. and it would
also enable more people to participate -- playing an
instrument wouldn't be a requirement

i also forsee interesting problems arising if multiple
performers are collocated at one node. the physical
musicians would be more "real" and they could begin to
influence each other's timing independent of the rest of the
group -- like when one section of a choir gets ahead of
another in a performance

this might also be a fun thing to do on take your daughters
to work day... i'm thinking back to music classes when i was
a kid, and we sometimes had rhythmic lessons where we just
used percussive instruments -- wood blocks and triangles and
tambourines, etc. -- and we each learned a rhythmic sequence
and then played our parts together as an ensemble

hmm. that's about all that comes to mind right now :)
sorry for the long email! did any of this make sense?


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