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AndrewCollins

Playing together across an internet connection

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Ah... those pesky decimal places. Of course, that's light in a vacuum. The wires and packets must slow things down some.

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Tonight's JK update:

 

I joined a dozen public sessions. 1/3rd were horrible for various reasons. 1/3rd were passable, but I moved on. 1/3rd were pretty good and I played some agreeable music with folks from California, Georgia and Quebec. This way of using JK is analigious to a live music festival where I wander from camp site to camp site, partaking for a time and then wandering on, hunting for something where I can play better music. I've been in this position many times at live festivals and it seems quite familiar... only now, I'm sitting at home and it's global, just like our pandemic.

 

Anyone here want to join me in setting up a private JK session to play traditional session tunes? English, Morris, American, Old-Time, Celtic, Country Dance, Swedish, Shetland, Northumbrian etc. music?

 

 

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10 hours ago, Jody Kruskal said:

Of course, that's light in a vacuum. The wires and packets must slow things down some.

 

And there could be another factor besides the wires.  Escpecially across oceans, much of the traffic doesn't go by cable, but is relayed by satellites.  This would add another 1/4 second delay... maybe more if heavy traffic causes switching delays?  That's something over which we have no control, and different time-slices of our signals can even go by different routes, and often (usually?) do..  (That's why packet-switching protocols are used... to put the pieces back together in the proper order.)

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Posted (edited)
On 4/10/2020 at 12:04 AM, Jody Kruskal said:

Anyone here want to join me in setting up a private JK session to play traditional session tunes? English, Morris, American, Old-Time, Celtic, Country Dance, Swedish, Shetland, Northumbrian etc. music?

 

Okay, let’s do this! Nobody will be happier to be disproven than me.

 

My current laptop (MacBook-Early 2015) does not have an ethernet port, but I have an older one (MacBook Pro-2009) that does. I’ve just plugged it in to recharge the battery. I’ve been all over the JamKazam web site, read the information there and watched the videos.

 

When the laptop is operational, I will create a JamKazam account, download the software onto the older laptop, and run a T1 line from the laptop to my router. Once I have done that, I will check in again here and we’ll see about setting up a session (I’m free all weekend). Might as well do it in public rather than IM’s because I’m sure many folks will want to know how it goes.

 

One thing the web site does not make clear: Can the players in a session see each other or just hear each other?

Edited by David Barnert

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Posted (edited)

Wow, this really IS a pain to set up.

 

The old laptop thing turned out to be the wrong answer. Because it is incompatible with modern security features, even though I could open many other web sites with it, I could not access JamKazam’s site (“could not establish a secure connection with the server”). So that means I have to use my newer laptop, the one without an ethernet port. Therefore, I need an adapter cable.

 

The Apple Store is closed (we all know why). But I discovered that Best Buy is doing curbside delivery if you order and pay for something online. I bought the adapter, drove to Best Buy, the guy threw it in through my passenger side window and I took it home, only to discover that it’s not just a simple adapter cable, it needs to have a driver installed. So I downloaded the driver installer from the manufacturer’s web site and ran it, which required resetting some of my security preferences to allow the installation.

 

Now the installer is stuck at about 2/3 progress and hasn’t budged in about 45 minutes. Oh, did I tell you that the manufacturer has shut down telephone support because of the crisis? So I described my situation in a typed message that I submitted through their support page and I’m waiting for a response.

 

This may take a while.

Edited by David Barnert

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Posted (edited)

Tonight's JK update:

 

Actually it is early morning at 1:24 am and I've had such a great session on JamKazam.

 

I just have to gush with you about it. Allow me to enthuse you.

 

I loaded up the app and selected a session at random and ended up with a pair of guitar players from a small town north of Montreal... out for their first time... and it was magic, absolutely wonderful music. We played a dozen tunes I had never heard before... a catchy bunch of chords that invited melodic improvisation. Quite interactive and natural sounding. Almost like we were in the same room. Actual jamming.

 

This was not the normal garbage I'm accustomed to hearing on JK. These two guys knew what they were doing and were completely in-sync with each other, so when I joined them, there was a solid foundation for me to join.

 

What a pleasure! This session was the real deal and I have never had a better.

 

I have no idea what they heard... they were talking in French. The music that I heard was totally together and it was a distinct pleasure to play with these guys. There is a neat way I have of playing across the beat that might have contributed to the rhythmic success of the session. Regardless, I raise my glass to DS Duceppe and his friends from Canada for including me in a fine evening of musical invention.

Edited by Jody Kruskal

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Posted (edited)

Thanks Don,

 

The Session is always worth looking at. Thanks for the link.

 

Tonight's JK report:


After a few false starts I quickly found a compatible session with 7 folks spread from Madison, Wisconsin to the US East coast. A strong guitar/singer kept us all together and we were having fun chatting, joking around, laughing and playing Beatles songs like Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds and She’s Gotta Ticket to Ride. Then some 80’s indie stuff I didn’t know. So I took a little break. When I came back the only one left was Luis on electric bass with his video showing.

 

I turned on my video too and we kept the video going for an amazing duo session for about 45 minutes. I speak no Spanish really and he, no English at all. Just enough language and sign language between us to learn that Luis was playing from Santiago, Chile.


The most interesting and amazing thing about this session was that it worked just the way I had thought JK would work from the beginning... before actually trying it.

 

Luis and I were locked in a fast tight groove that was more stable than any I have yet experienced on JK. The only thing was, from my hearing he was playing the downbeat on the offbeat. From my point of view, he was lagging behind one eight note... but we were actually playing in sync together and responding to each other musically, almost like being in the same room, but over lapped in this peculiar way.  Together, but not quite.


The songs I taught him were all simple blues, but with some surprising twists and turns. Luis took it all in stride and learned the changes. I could tell he was hearing me and responding musically using only the language of music. The groove really took off when the first 8 measures of our new song were all in Em with no changes.


I always thought that using the video would steal bandwidth and degrade the all important audio. Yet this duo session had the video on, and it was the best session ever in terms of working with the inherent latency. and not fighting it. 

 

Also, if you can see each other then you can take advantage of posture and facial expressions to communicate lots of information. A few examples of visual messages might be... “Get quiet” or “Here comes that unexpected chord” or “Play the IV chord (hold up 4 fingers)”


Very interesting, this session, unlike any other.

Edited by Jody Kruskal

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20 hours ago, Jody Kruskal said:

The only thing was, from my hearing he was playing the downbeat on the offbeat. From my point of view, he was lagging behind one eight note... but we were actually playing in sync together and responding to each other musically, almost like being in the same room, but over lapped in this peculiar way.  Together, but not quite.

 

And from his point of view, it was you who was an eighth note behind. If you can tolerate playing together under such conditions, good for you, and as you said in an earlier post, latency be damned.

 

I have read and watched a little more about how this thing works, and one of the things I read suggested using a fiberoptic or cable internet connection rather than DSL. Well, I have DSL, so for now I’m holding off on trying any further with this.

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6 hours ago, David Barnert said:

And from his point of view, it was you who was an eighth note behind. If you can tolerate playing together under such conditions, good for you, and as you said in an earlier post, latency be damned.

 

I have read and watched a little more about how this thing works, and one of the things I read suggested using a fiberoptic or cable internet connection rather than DSL. Well, I have DSL, so for now I’m holding off on trying any further with this.

 

Did you actually try it and find that it was too laggy? In ideal laboratory conditions FTTP will be slightly lower latency than ADSL, but in the real world the difference may not be significant (e.g. if the other person in the session's internet connection is a piece of wet string). It depends on lots of factors. Maybe try again at a quieter time of day.

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7 hours ago, David Barnert said:

 

And from his point of view, it was you who was an eighth note behind. If you can tolerate playing together under such conditions, good for you, and as you said in an earlier post, latency be damned.

 

I have read and watched a little more about how this thing works, and one of the things I read suggested using a fiberoptic or cable internet connection rather than DSL. Well, I have DSL, so for now I’m holding off on trying any further with this.

 

As I'm sure you know yourself, David, the physical bandwidth available on any internet connection is determined by the slowest link in between your end and the other end, and there may many in between. I wouldn't worry too much what physical medium your home is equipped with.

 

Try the following: There are many sites on the internet that "test your DSL speed," e.g. https://speedtest.chip.de/ (or pick any other one). They all work the same way; they pump data back and forth beween your end device and some server and then measure the throughput.

 

For the heck of it, I tried the same site with several of my end devices: A tablet using WiFi over my WiFi router, the same tablet with a USB-C docking station hooked up to a physical ethernet cable  to the router, my main frame computer, also using an ethernet cable, and a lap top with significantly less computing power, using both WiFi and ethernet.

 

Guess what? The performance differences were marginal, even going through the WiFi bottleneck. Up- and download speed were practically identical in all scenarios. That means that the performance bottleneck was somewhere in between my DSL end and the server end point - in other words, something I don't have any control over whatsoever.

 

So again, the question which software to use, which provider, which physical access to the internet is of some concern, but the thruth of the matter remains: It CAN turn out decently, but you will never ever get a guarantee when and why it does and when and why it doesn't. So Jody'a approach is right on the spot: Don't expect anything, so you can only get positively surprised.

 

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Posted (edited)
22 hours ago, RAc said:

 

Don't expect anything, so you can only get positively surprised.

 

That's the ticket. Yes, try to maximize your experience... sure., but...

 

Even with a poor connection, back when I started this madness, even with only a wifi connection, the JK experience worked to some degree. For me, it's been a blast all along the learning curve!

 

Today's JamKazam update:

 

It’s a bit like I imagine shortwave radio many decades ago. Surfing the sessions... Random connections with folks all over the globe, news, chess, gossip, tunes, songs. “Where you from”? “Melbourne”, “Sidney”, “New York”, “Montreal”, “Santiago, Chile”, Bristol, UK”, wherever... let’s play! We jam!

 

JK does help you manage your “friends”...

 

If you like playing with someone and friend them, then they will come up on your "friend" list tomorrow, so you can connect with them and join their jam when you are both online.

 

Only at the best of times, is this JK thing like regular face to face playing. Some musicians can deal with the weirdness better than others. As for me, I just consider dealing with it as part of the fun. And it is fun... given the options in this time of pandemic!

 

Would I rather be cheek to jowl with Michael and Nick and Sam and Ellen in my local pub? Sure I would, but it ain't going to happen for awhile, so I figure that I better get used to it and join the band that is actually playing.

Edited by Jody Kruskal

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JK report: Joy and disappointment.

 

Last night, it was 9:30 pm and I picked a likely session at random. What a shock.

 

Traditional dance music! But nothing quite like what I’ve played before... polkas and Schottisches from a bunch of Detroit musicians. They were playing standards from the Bavarian/ Austrian mountains. Tuba held down the beat plus accordion and clarinet. I had to break out my rarely played Bb/F Anglo concertina to join them. Up-tempo and totally together. What fun!

 

Tonight though, there is no joy in Mudville. Every session I join is muddy and disjointed. Something in my either is ferblungent.

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Posted (edited)

Sunday 4/19/ 20 :

 

Out of five sessions I busted in on tonight... two were fruitful with amazing jams, these were both seemingly simultaneous playing across the US continent... California to NYC for one, and then a very local session, only 30 miles from each other with four players all in the NYC area. How is this possible? But it is happening. Now that I've hooked up a more current audio interface, Audient iD14, my jams have been vastly improved.

 

I’m not sure if tune playing would be possible, but I sure would like to try. Anyone?

Edited by Jody Kruskal

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