Playing with other musicians on-line in real time

April 26, 2010 9:22 AM

What is the current state of real time on-line jamming with other musicians?

Has anyone tried this? If so, what kinds of software is out there? What are the advantages and disadvantages of the different options?

I've read that Ninjam deals with latency by adding to it, so that basically you are playing with what the other players just played a measure or four ago. What are the different ways that other applications deal with latency?

This sounds promising, but actual real time playing may need a few more years to really get up to speed, as broadband gets faster and more consistent. Am I wrong? I'd love to be wrong on this.
posted by umbú (6 comments total) that basically you are playing with what the other players just played a measure or four ago...

i'm playing with what the drummer played
a measure or four ago
he was laying it down so nicely
and i was adding guitar, you know
and everything was going alright
til he went to get a bottle of soda
he was finished, you see, and what i thought was a verse
in fact, was really... the coda!

Aside from the silly little verse above, I unfortunately have nothing to add here, umbú. I've never done any online jamming. Curious to see if there's anyone here who has some experience or information.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:12 PM on April 26, 2010 [2 favorites]

I'm also curious but uninformed. If it's free and not too much of a pain to set up, I'd be happy to give it a shot some time.
posted by cortex at 5:21 PM on April 26, 2010

Man, I've been trying this off and on since around '95 with augustweed and we haven't been able to do anything worthwhile with it.

We've tried a few different kinds of software the most recent being skype, and the latency problem, for me, made it not fun. There are other things on the web like "jam with you" or something, but they suck too.

I'd say that you have to fool around with it and see if you have fun.
posted by snsranch at 5:40 PM on April 26, 2010

flapjax, I picture putting those words to music that sounds like a combination of Tom Waits' the piano has been drinking and Captain Beefheart.
posted by umbú at 6:36 PM on April 26, 2010

You're more than welcome to do so, brother umbú. Or, make a track for it, and I'll put the vox on.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:50 PM on April 26, 2010

One of my colleagues from college is doing his PhD research in Network Music. I don't understand a lot of the low-level protocols he's using to get stuff done (a lot of the networking legwork has been done by MMO developers), but I have a loose understanding of how he works.

A program on Musician A's computer is listening to what Musician A is playing, analyzing the sound input for tempo, pitch content, meter, etc. The program then transmits this information to Musician B's computer, which is connected to a synthesizer.

Musician B's synthesizer then performs music based on the input from Musician A's data stream, while Musician B adjusts playback parameters (filter, delay, etc.) on the fly.

This data (not a full audio stream, but the instructions Musician A's computer needs to reproduce it) is then returned and played back on Musician A's speakers.

From what I understand, this happens as fast as data packets can get from point A to point B.
posted by man vs sun at 2:39 PM on May 3, 2010

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