Computer-Supported Cooperative Work for Music Applications

Álvaro Barbosa
University Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain (April, 2006)


This dissertation derives from research on musical practices mediated by computer networks conducted from 2001 to 2005 in the Music Technology Group of the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, Spain. It departs from work carried out over the last decades in the field of Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), which provides us with collaborative communication mechanisms that can be regarded from a music perspective in diverse scenarios: Composition, Performance, Improvisation or Education.

The first contribution originated from this research work is an extensive survey and systematic classification of Computer-Supported Cooperative Work for Music Applications. This survey led to the identification of innovative approaches, models and applications, with special emphasis on the shared nature of geographically displaced communication over the Internet. The notion of Shared Sonic Environments was introduced and implemented in a proof-of-concept application entitled Public Sound Objects (PSOs).

A second major contribution of this dissertation concerns methods that reduce the disrupting effect of network latency in musical communication over long distance networks. From laboratorial experimentation and evaluation, the techniques of Network Latency Adaptive Tempo and Individual Delayed Feed-Back were proposed and implemented in the PSOs prototype.

Over the course of the PSOs development other relevant and inspirational issues were addressed, such as: behavioral-driven interface design applied to interface decoupled applications; overcoming network technology security features; system scalability for various applications in audio web services.

Throughout this dissertation conceptual perspectives, of related issues to computermediated musical practices, were widely discussed conveying different standpoints ranging from a Psycho-Social study of collaborative music processes to the Computer Science and Music Technology point of view.

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