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Being Together—Or, Being Less Un-Together—With Networked Music
When musicians cannot travel to another location where other musicians are, they generally assume that this means they cannot perform music together—even while the technology exists to allow them to do so. The perception that Internet technology is not suited for music performance is due to a lack of exposure on navigating the limitations specific to networked music, along with the cultural belief that latency is incompatible with music performance. Many groups, however, have successfully created networked music performance systems. Such systems are particularly interesting in affording new musical and social opportunities in cases when musicians cannot travel due to restrictions of one kind or another. And while technical and cultural limitations remain to be addressed, networked music can have a highly constructive role in the development of remote communities and isolated musicians by fostering the experience of “being together.” We review several case studies where networked music has had a meaningful effect on the socialization of distance-separated musicians. We address a number of features and concerns that limit the adoption of networked music among communities who seek to shrink the perceived distance between musicians, and suggest some approaches that may facilitate their accessibility to the platform.