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Jamming Online

Jamming Online: a Wikiversity practicum
Jamming Online

Low-cost technology for working musicians, lonesome songwriters and starving artists

School of Media studies
Internet Audio Department
Module: Jamming Online
Wikimedia Foundation

The idea of Jamming Online has been around for a while. Todd Rundgren envisioned the online jam session as far back as the late seventies, when the Internet was just a set of ragged protocols. For those who remember, Resrocket (a.k.a Rocket Network) was a bold attempt to create an ad hoc network of musicians working with simple Digital Audio Workstations in a planet-wide virtual studio environment. It was a start...

Contents

Free MusicEdit

Though Rocket Networks fell into proprietary hands, it established an important precedent for overcoming geospatial limitations on musicians, allowing the creation of such organizations as the MIDI Jazz Network, Kolabora and many other projects. One focus of this Wikiversity learning project is to extend the online jamming paradigm to the open source/content world of Software freedom using things like LADSPA, JACK, open source VST, Audacity, and an array of other free audio tools.

The WorkstationEdit

NOTE: Money talks ...NOT!

Each participant in an online jam session needs some sort of Digital Audio Workstation. These can vary in complexity from the sublime to the ridiculous and can be built on anywhere from a shoestring budget to a King's Ransom. But before you jump into the bottomless pit of high finance, you might consider carefully those with whom you will cast your lot. If you wish to help produce audio resources of the .ogg (versus MP3) variety, you should probably consider the most primitive need – a connection to other musicians. The audio workstations used in this course will be built on that shoestring budget mentioned above. We might have to move forward as a group quite slowly at first, according to the emerging Wikiversity tradition of consensus desision-making as it relates to developing network standards for this harbinger of innovation.

Group DynamicsEdit

CAUTION: Not for the faint of heart

The Blues and Rock Garage is a "place" at Wikiversity where jammers can meet to get started in a simple and basic hands-on experiential genre. Even if you are interested in pursuing higher musical goals like Jazz, you'll appreciate the hard hat area mentality we hope to work from to create the pioneering Sonic user interface – a Wikiversity exclusive.

To "get on the same page", you might get a handle on Getting started with sound recording, MIDI basics, Audio Engineering, Internet Audio and Video while keeping an eye on Wikiversity the Movie/music. It's not about you any more. Get over it. Need more Suggestions?

Session LogicEdit

WARNING: hard hat area

The biggest problem to overcome in online jamming is latency produced within your local machine and across the planet-wide network. The open source JACK system (JACK Audio Connection Kit) fills the bill for a low-cost, low-latency, real-time audio hardware abstraction layer for your workstation. This component allows your local session a means by which to synchronize with the networked session. The goal is to bring the group of collaborators into a closer-to-realtime environment. But that's a long-term strategy for building our own open source approach to the session. Let's slow down a minute...

Tab SheetsEdit

Getting on the same page

Tab sheets can be developed far in advance of a scheduled session. Like a musical score for an orchestra, a tab sheet provides that means of "getting on the same page" that we mentioned earlier. Collaboration at this level must be formed through standards and protocols, just like the Internet itself. We start with Basic Blues & Rock using the ubiquitous 12-bar blues in the key of E simply for good measure. I don't think we'll even need a tab sheet for this. Just make sure you agree that we shouldn't be doing anything too fancy while getting this bird off the ground. CQ

Collaborative MusicianshipEdit

Let's get personal

Jamming Online is an ambition. If you are not prepared emotionally to work with others, you may meet with the same hardships, heartbreaks and perceived failures experienced in the enigmatic music business out in the so-called "real world". This learning project is as simple and basic as it gets, but presents enormous potential.

We start by sweeping out the garage, getting on the same page and moving forward together. Doing this as a band should be fun, challenging and exciting – but not quick and easy in terms of the typical wiki-based workgroup. This project purports to be much more, involving emotional sensitivities, channeling creative urges, accommodating massive egos, meeting technical challenges, overcoming socio-economic obstacles, developing complex social relationships, competing with proprietary paradigms... all the while building a culture of musical awareness.

Chances are, you found this page by looking around at Wikiversity with certain personal goals in mind. You probably also have a set of life experiences that have introduced you to the prospects and problems of musical collaboration. As for me, I've had it with naysayers and unbelievers and frankly, I'm sick of my own lack of knowledge, drive and discipline – the true essentials. I do OK "down here" in the real world, but...

ResourcesEdit

Free toolsEdit