Long distance musical relationships: experiences of networked music performance

Miriam Anne Iorwerth, Don Knox

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


    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. In NMP there is a trade-off between sound quality and latency when using lossy compression. Effects of latency have been investigated quantitatively. Acceptable levels of delay from the point of view of musicians’ synchronisation reflect the delays experienced by musicians in an acoustic space. The effect of these issues upon the subjective experience of the musician has rarely been the focus of research. By separating musicians geographically, communication is disrupted aurally and visually. This phenomenological study investigates how NMP affects the musicians’ experience of performance. Student musicians were physically separated, but connected via an audio and video link, and were asked to perform unrehearsed ‘jams’, followed by semi-structured interviews. A thematic analysis of the interview data was made and four broad themes emerged: the music itself, the process, the musicians, and technical issues. Musical communication was considered the most important form of communication when performing. The musicians reported that the music they played developed in technicality and creativity as the sessions progressed. Musical communication plays a large role when performing remotely, and when this communication is disrupted creativity is affected, as musicians concentrate on the technical aspects of playing together.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publication Proceedings of the Ninth Triennial Conference of the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music (ESCOM)
    EditorsJane Ginsborg, Alexandra Lamont, Stephanie Bramley
    Publisher European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music
    Number of pages6
    Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2015


    • networked music performance
    • musical communication
    • performance experience
    • musicians


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