Classical musicians in ensembles are accustomed to performing in the same physical space. However, situations such as networked music performance (NMP) require physical separation with audio and sometimes video links. Effects of latency on synchronization have been extensively studied; however, research is limited on the effects of physical separation on the subjective experience of musicians. This separation is likely to have an effect on interaction between musicians as usual channels of communication are interrupted. The impact of this physical separation on the experience of classical musicians in a woodwind soloist and piano accompanist setting was investigated. Three pairs of musicians were recorded in acoustically isolated spaces with audio and video links, and were then interviewed using semi-structured interview techniques. Five themes emerged from the data, namely: adaptability, communication, performance, impact on the musicians, and relationships. Within these themes, musical issues, communication, and social interactions were found to be most challenging for separated musicians, while adaptability helped the musicians in this situation. The video link was used rarely when playing. These issues are important in NMP and are related to the physical separation of the musicians, rather than problems such as latency, which are well documented.
Playing Together, Apart: Musicians’ Experiences of Physical Separation in a Classical Recording Session
Thank you to the musicians, to Ken Blair and Will Anderson at BMP Recording, and to the ABRSM for assisting with this research.
This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.
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Miriam Iorwerth, Don Knox; Playing Together, Apart: Musicians’ Experiences of Physical Separation in a Classical Recording Session. Music Perception 1 February 2019; 36 (3): 289–299. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/mp.2019.36.3.289
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