World Music's DIVERSITY and Data Visualisation's EXPRESSIVE POWER collide. A galaxy of INTERACTIVE, SCORE-DRIVEN instrument model and theory tool animations is born. Entirely Graphical Toolset Supporting World Music Teaching & Learning Via Video Chat ◦ Paradigm Change ◦ Music Visualization Greenfield ◦ Crowd Funding In Ramp-Up ◦ Please Share

Tuesday, August 2, 2016


Remote, Distance or Peer-To-Peer ('P2P') Music Teaching And Learning

Wikipedia, couches P2P in technical terms: 'peer-to-peer (P2P) computing or networking is a distributed application architecture that partitions tasks or work loads between peers. Peers are equally privileged, equipotent participants in the application. They are said to form a peer-to-peer network of nodes'.

It would be nice to encounter a more user-centric definition, something reflecting the needs of people interacting at distance. A good start would be to think of P2P as 'person-to-person', simply because any intermediary technology should be transparent to all users.

Ideally, teachers and learners should feel almost as if sitting together in the same room, own instrument and music to hand and with a clear line of sight to each another's actions. Moreover they should have a shared set of interworking tools, and the ability to exchange control.

Much has already been achieved, but much remains to be done. If it can be financed, it can be finished.

Big, brave, open-source, non-profit, community-provisioned, cross-cultural and gone-fishing crazy. → Like, share, back-link, pin, tweet and mail. Hashtags? For the crowdfunding: #VisualFutureOfMusic. For the future live platform: #WorldMusicInstrumentsAndTheory. Or just register as a potential crowdfunder..

What is P2P Music Teaching?

Potential Crowdfunder?

Worldwide Reach

There are many other distractions and potential spanners-in-the-works. Legacy networks and web stacks, network latency, bloatware, ubiquitous advertising, traffic prioritization, protectionism in operating systems and frameworks and a host of other niggles.

Common sense dictates we should be cautious with our expectations - and ruthless in the implementation.

What Can't We Do?

Play music together across the internet. It takes about 100 milliseconds for internet data to get from (say) the EU to America and back. Even on a good connection, add encoding and software latency and the round-trip time doubles. That's to much for remote, in-sync play together.

Perhaps a quantum internet and computers will change this (you can tell I'm not a physicist?), but for the moment the idea is toast.

What Could we Do?

Concurrency? Not trivial, but a semblance can be made. Solutions exist.

Share and control each other's environment (notation, audio, instrument models, theory tools).
P2P Teaching and Learning: Documents in Play. #VisualFutureOfMusic #WorldMusicInstrumentsAndTheory
P2P Teaching and Learning: Documents in Play

Assuming webcam, audio and controls can be synchronised on each end device: transmit work done on any one node of the P2P network to others in the expectation that the constituent parts remain synchronised.

Teach. Listen. Repeat. Learn. A teacher can demonstrate, then listen, while a learner listens then repeats: a normal conversation as on any video chat application. Indeed, as long as no-one tries to play or talk simultaneously, no insurmountable problems..

Many fine instrumentalists are already using this approach (but currently with no tool support) to teach - worldwide. The basics work, this platform will simply flesh out the offerings a little.

How do we get there?

  • Thorough music exchange format groundwork by the W3C.
  • Notation encoded in a useful transfer format (could also be audio, or video)
  • Dynamically loadable and configurable instrument models and theory tools.
  • An environment that supports a high degree of interactivity and a wide range of visualization approaches
  • A stable, proven P2P (sharing) protocol
  • A toolset supporting near-real-time mutual control over a shared environment, and allowing some form of synchronization with video chat

The Path to P2P Music Teaching. #VisualFutureOfMusic #WorldMusicInstrumentsAndTheory
The Path to P2P Music Teaching
Here, the technical enablers: each pale arrow represents an an enhancement which -implemented- could contribute significantly to the survival, growth and diversity of world music.

Each of these represent empowerment pure. Of particular benefit would be those enhancements to music exchange formats making other music cultures more accessible.

Interbrowser Controls

Now it gets technical. We have our score, an instrument model, a theory tool and the means to jointly (ie simultaneously) configure them.

We want to share our environment with another browser. How?
P2P: Cross-Browser Controls. #VisualFutureOfMusic #WorldMusicInstrumentsAndTheory
P2P: Cross-Browser Controls
Our shared interworking controls comprise three sets of commands; those targeting: o score playback (not forgetting interworking with media timeline) o environment (toolset selection / sharing) o musical configuration Clearly, some of these controls will have a role within the local application (peer node) itself. A configuration tool may, for example, have direct local as well as remote impact.
Bağlama / saz Teacher demonstrating chord over video link with tool support. #VisualFutureOfMusic #WorldMusicInstrumentsAndTheory
Teacher-Student Interaction (Photomontage)

What can we expect?

Have instrument, will travel. Life as a virtual musical nomad can begin. Location-independent, remote music learning - and teaching. Anywhere, any time.

We are location-independent, yet able to learn from competent, genre-native teachers working directly from their own homes, yet with global reach and much greater scheduling freedom.

  • more time for family, friends, social music and dance.
  • no packing of instruments
  • no checking timetables
  • no fighting commuter tides
  • no travel expense
  • drastically reduced environmental impact
  • learning convenience, including in a lunch break
  • drawing on the 'other' half of the brain, the ideal work break


Virtual Reality: as above, but with instrument and theory tools display overlaying a video-chat session, more (virtual) real estate for immersive, contextual information. The new CSS cleaner allows you to organize your style sheets.


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April 20, 2022 at 2:32 PM delete

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Comments, questions and (especially) critique welcome.