Reactive Environment for Network Music Performance

El-Shimy, Dalia and Cooperstock, Jeremy R.

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

For a number of years, musicians in different locations have been able toperform with one another over a network as though present on the same stage.However, rather than attempt to re-create an environment for Network MusicPerformance (NMP) that mimics co-present performance as closely as possible, wepropose focusing on providing musicians with additional controls that can helpincrease the level of interaction between them. To this end, we have developeda reactive environment for distributed performance that provides participantsdynamic, real-time control over several aspects of their performance, enablingthem to change volume levels and experience exaggerated stereo panning. Inaddition, our reactive environment reinforces a feeling of a “shared space” between musicians. It differs most notably from standard ventures into thedesign of novel musical interfaces and installations in its reliance onuser-centric methodologies borrowed from the field of Human-ComputerInteraction (HCI). Not only does this research enable us to closely examine thecommunicative aspects of performance, it also allows us to explore newinterpretations of the network as a performance space. This paper describes themotivation and background behind our project, the work that has been undertakentowards its realization and the future steps that have yet to be explored.