Communication in networked music performance

Miriam Anne Iorwerth, Don Knox

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


    The research described in this paper examines the effect of networked music performance (NMP) technology on musical communication, and the strategies taken by musicians to overcome the inherent difficulties of working at a distance. Effects of latency have been investigated quantitatively. Acceptable levels of delay from the point of view of musicians’ timing and synchronisation reflect the delays experienced by musicians in an acoustic space.
    This phenomenological study aims to address the following questions:
    • In what ways do amateur musicians communicate when undertaking NMP?
    • What is the impact of physical separation on this communication?

    Student musicians were physically separated, but connected via an audio and video link, and were asked to perform unrehearsed ‘jams’. Semi-structured interviews and observations of their communication were recorded. A thematic analysis of the interview data was made, followed by focused observation using themes that emerged from the interviews.
    The musicians reported that the music played during the remote session was technically simpler with reduced creativity. Musical communication plays a large role when performing remotely, and when this communication is disrupted creativity and spontaneity are affected, as musicians concentrate on the technical aspects of playing together.
    NMP systems have been used for research, creative and experimental purposes, but applications could also be for musicians living in remote or rural location, those in music education or people engaged in therapeutic musical relationships. In order for NMP to be used in these areas, the effect of this technology on musical communication needs to be understood.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


    • networked music performance
    • music
    • communication
    • NMP


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