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Old 04-17-2020, 07:29 AM   #1
ultraleetj
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Default some creative ideas for a more dynamic intervallic jam

so, I have been doing weekly jams and mostly advertising them on my fb page, so all of my local friends and colleagues can join.
Since this is a rather new thing, I have had to explain over and over why realtime audio and playing online together goes from extremely difficult to impossible, in 99% of cases it will be impossible anyway.
Once they get this, we all have a great time. I have prepared some crafted loops and such and its just great. One little issue I do have though, is that when I press home, or w to go to the start of the project after using media explorer to insert a media file or whatever, (cursor won't stay in the same place no matter what I have configured in options) the ninjam metronome sort of stutters a bit, as if it was paused or something... so this makes me think that I will eventually go totally off sync if I keep doing this, so some reassurance or a way to fix this is appreciated.

So now to the bulk of the matter, I have found the following helpful for interesting jams:
1. when jamming over progressions its nice to start to subtly vary the progression and try to evolve it into something new. Many musical cultures sort of have this as well and it works that great on ninjam also.
2. When doing longer musical forms (I think max allowed BPI is 64) its better to halve the tempo and work with that. This means that most faster swing tunes (such as "it don't mean a thing") can be played say, at 120 bpm with a 64 BPI successfully.
3. When doing things that are in other time signatures, like 3/4, its necessary to set a propper BPI (24 for 8 bars for instance) and then CHANGE the time sig in your project as well, if you plan to loop something.
4. This one was the most interesting... if there was a way to do this automagically or something, we could have codas that extend the end of a tune. Take, for example, autumn leaves where the last 4 bars are commonly repeated before finishing the tune over and over... this is called a tag ending, where all players can improvise for a while, as well. Of course, if you are at the front of the jam, or whoever is (a lead instrument, or anyone who has the last melody) they could click or press a button that said tag and have the BPI be automatically voted or changed to 4 bars (or any preconfigured value that will not exceed the current BPI) and by just playing and with the evident metronome change, signal that there is an ending coming up. I did this and it proved to be actually quite successful despite the interval nature of the jam. The only problem was that I had to stop playing to type the BPI vote lol. But this could also be expanded to allow us to change sections of a song for a while and so on.
So, any thoughts? other ideas to give more life and creativity to the current system we have in place?
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Old 05-24-2020, 12:57 AM   #2
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Well I too, like many others, have been recently and… spontaneously interested in the so called "online jamming" and I have been testing NinJam (through JamTaba, actually) together with some friends.
I have to admit, however, that we were quite disappointed. Maybe I'm wrong, but I find it really difficult to understand how, in describing the features of such a software, we can talk about "jamming together", “jamming with other people”.

As far as I understand, NinJam intentionally introduces a considerable delay in sound delivering, in order to "compensate" for the many network delays so that the sounds of the various sources reach their destinations in a coherent and synchronized manner.
However, if on the one hand this is an advantage in terms of listening, on the other hand it greatly penalizes the very perception of "playing", because while you play you do not listen to what you (and the others) are actually playing: you listen, instead, to what you played many seconds before. Likewise, the notes you play right now will be heard (by both you and the others) several seconds later.

Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems to me that the "feeling" of playing itself (that is, the direct relationship between what you do and what you hear) is missing to a large extent. Which is, to say the least, quite unnatural.

The issue becomes even more... twisted if you play an acoustic or semi-acoustic instrument, such as a sax, a guitar, a drumset (also an electronic one) or... your own voice; an instrument, namely, that emits sounds even without any connections to sound equipment.
In that case, indeed, in addition to hearing through the Internet the things done (by you and by others) many seconds ago, YOU also hear through your ears (even if somehow muffled) the things you are doing now, on top of all the rest. A kind of strange and continuous... overdubbing, in which everyone almost plays... blind (or, to put it better, deaf).
Not to mention what you "feel" not with your ears but with your hands, fingers, throat...

Undoubtedly if you play a repetitive groove, without significant variations and at a constant rhythm (not by chance NinJam includes a showy metronome), the “overdubbing” can be somehow covered up, but you still remain quite far from the concept of "playing an instrument" and very far from that of "jamming together".
I'm sure that such a system can be useful and even fun in particular situations, but I really wouldn't call it suitable, no way, for those who hope to simply “jam together” with others through the net.

Or maybe my friends and I didn't understand how NinJam works and made some serious installation or configuration mistakes… :]
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Old 05-24-2020, 01:07 AM   #3
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Sounds like you've got the idea of how it works perfectly.
https://forum.cockos.com/showthread....59#post2230659

It's weird to start with, yes. Very different from playing live in the same room - it's not even trying to be that, and anyone who thinks it is really is missing the point.

But you are playing live with other people and responding to what they play and they respond to what you play. Just with delays, which you can't predict perfectly - which mean you have to think differently and feel the music differently. The feeling hasn't gone, it's just your consideration for others needs to be adapted to fit: you can't expect something that happen(s|ed) to have an immediate response, as you've found.

So it is live jamming, creating music together in a shared space - it's just nothing like being in a real room together.
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...Playing fast around the drums is one thing. But to play with people for others, to listen to, that's something else. That's a whole other world.
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Old 05-24-2020, 01:30 AM   #4
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So it is live jamming, creating music together in a shared space...
Well, obviously the meaning of words and phrases can be quite... flexible and sometimes, especially when talking about personal feelings and sensations, a single RIGHT meaning can not be found.

From my point of view, jamming together or playing together is quite different from "creating music together".
We can perfectly create music together even if I send to you a wav file today and then next week you send it back to me after adding something to it.
If we consider NinJam as something like that, with tenths of seconds instead of days or weeks, then the subject takes a different turn, which for me has much more the flavour of working together, of collaborating, than that of "jamming together".

I think this is a quite interesting "ground" on which to share opinions and experiences. That's why I posted my previous message also as a new thread in the forum.
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Old 05-24-2020, 06:05 AM   #5
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http://www.drealm.info/ninjam/202005...hinych-Fil.mp3

That's been cleaned up (noise reduction, limiting, compression, hi and lo pass filters) but no timing changes. So it's "as played". No one else will have heard it the way I heard it, of course, as they'll all have had different interval offsets.

NINJAM isn't the same as sending someone a WAV and then getting back to them - that would allow consideration, experimentation, trying something, trying something else, etc. It's far, far more like live, in the moment jamming. You don't get a second chance - everything you play is heard as you played it.

But no, it's not the same as being in the same room with someone.

I was going to compare chatting with a group of friends to exchanging emails with them, but you've effectively made that comparison already. They're different ways of communicating ideas. But NINJAM is _more_ live than email. Less live than being in the same room - or even in a video chat. But still more live than exchanging a recording session and adding to it independently.

It's just another way of making music together.
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...Playing fast around the drums is one thing. But to play with people for others, to listen to, that's something else. That's a whole other world.
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Old 05-24-2020, 09:13 AM   #6
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It's just another way of making music together.
Totally agree with that. Another way.
Another one, amongst the countless possible ways of "making music".
A way located somewhere between working separately on received/sent material and playing or improvising "together" (in the same room OR in "well" connected distant rooms).
But different and distinct from both.
Not to mention the (even more) countless ways in which we can define "music"...

I often get the feeling, when reading "reviews" and articles and posts about NinJam (and JamTaba), that such a difference is not so clearly described (and, consequently, perceived, understood). Sometimes, indeed, I've had the suspect that many people, also amongst those who explain and describe, don't exactly know how the system works. Maybe just because they are not actual players or because they didn't try the system for themselves. At times, to be honest, I have the feeling that even some users, maybe due to the kind of music they like and play, fully enjoy the system without realizing they are not actually playing in real time.
All of which can easily lead, in my opinion, to misunderstandings. :]
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Old 05-24-2020, 10:36 AM   #7
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oh, I would have something that is live and not in realtime, rather than not have it at all, or have a badly working realtime system that pretends to solve it all once and for all, as your other claims and reviews from the other competitors do.
And yes, true that some people that go on a jam have no idea how it works, but apparently, they do enjoy it even more than those who over-struggle to Analise the system, and that is all there is to it, so you can say that the program fulfills its purpose.
If you are hearing things muffled, i think there are bad miking techniques, or monitors aren't really the better option, or there is a configuration error somewhere, too. I wonder why people do not talk about their pristine audio quality like this when they find a dvd of their favorite artist posted on youtube, who does massacre the audio in terrible ways no matter if your video is 20k? but anyway
Some other thing I found that really helps when jamming in this distinct way is that the click can be used in all sort of ways, so you can have it be the beat one of every 6-8 bar for instance and do these kinds of blues which are ternary.
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Old 05-24-2020, 01:35 PM   #8
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Sometimes, indeed, I've had the suspect that many people, also amongst those who explain and describe, don't exactly know how the system works. Maybe just because they are not actual players or because they didn't try the system for themselves. At times, to be honest, I have the feeling that even some users, maybe due to the kind of music they like and play, fully enjoy the system without realizing they are not actually playing in real time.
Yes, that's why I wrote the two messages I linked above -- it finally struck me that hardly any of the explanations that are given out really to explain (or attempt to) what's going on and what you're likely to experience. That leads to ... misunderstandings, disappointments and unfulfilled expectations.

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oh, I would have something that is live and not in realtime, rather than not have it at all, or have a badly working realtime system that pretends to solve it all once and for all, as your other claims and reviews from the other competitors do.
Agreed. There are too many "closed" systems that don't allow the user to experience the real-time latency that everyone else they're playing with is hearing, which again leads to those misunderstandings, disappointments and unfulfilled expectations. That's one of the reasons I prefer Jamulus over other realtime systems -- you hear your latency. If you hear it bad, you know it's bad. Still, it doesn't stop sessions like this:
https://youtu.be/p8g6zQtW6QU (got cut off by YT)
https://www.facebook.com/simon.james...0018582677576/ (3h live session)
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...Playing fast around the drums is one thing. But to play with people for others, to listen to, that's something else. That's a whole other world.
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Old 05-25-2020, 12:00 AM   #9
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And yes, true that some people that go on a jam have no idea how it works, but apparently, they do enjoy it even more than those who over-struggle to Analise the system, and that is all there is to it, so you can say that the program fulfills its purpose.
Let me say, however, that a musician who does not notice a ten seconds delay between playing a note and hearing it must have quite... peculiar habits and feelings about playing. Perfectly legitimate and respectable, without a doubt, but also quite peculiar.

Quote:
If you are hearing things muffled, i think there are bad miking techniques, or monitors aren't really the better option, or there is a configuration error somewhere, too.
I used the term "muffled" referring to the "acoustic" sound that comes from your instrument at the very moment you play it, especially it it's an acoustic or semi-acoustic instrument (saxophone, drumset...).
That sound often comes somehow "cut" because you're wearing headphones. Anyway, while you hear high quality (but delayed) sounds coming from the net through headphones or speakers, you can't help hearing ALSO the real-time sound (lower, weaker, "muffled" or whatever) coming directly from your instrument. :]
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Old 05-25-2020, 12:41 AM   #10
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If you've set up correctly with NINJAM, you'll hear yourself immediately through NINJAM.

If you're hearing yourself after a delay, your set up is faulty.
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...Playing fast around the drums is one thing. But to play with people for others, to listen to, that's something else. That's a whole other world.
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Old 05-25-2020, 11:10 PM   #11
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If you've set up correctly with NINJAM, you'll hear yourself immediately through NINJAM.
I suppose you are referring to "direct monitoring" or something like that, which can be enabled or not (and is inevitably "on", to some extent, when you play any acoustic instrument).
Anyway, it would be quite strange that I could NOT immediately hear what I'm playing with my own instrument.

But will I hear immediately ALSO the other players?
And WHEN will THEY hear what I'm playing (and hearing immediately)?

Moreover:
supposing I play a certain sequence of notes, will I hear it only ONCE (the moment I play it) or will I hear it also ANOTHER time, some seconds later, coming from the net?
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Old 05-25-2020, 11:20 PM   #12
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I suppose you are referring to "direct monitoring" or something like that, which can be enabled or not (and is inevitably "on", to some extent, when you play any acoustic instrument).
Anyway, it would be quite strange that I could NOT immediately hear what I'm playing with my own instrument.
I'm saying you should not be using any form of direct monitoring. You should only hear your signal through NINJAM. (You do need good isolation.) If hearing yourself (alone) playing through NINJAM doesn't sound as good as hearing yourself (alone) playing without NINJAM, then something's wrong in your set up.

NINJAM doesn't interfere with your own sound, once it's got to your computer. You must get that right.

I wasn't going backwards in the conversation to re-cover what's been discussed about how NINJAM works with others.
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...Playing fast around the drums is one thing. But to play with people for others, to listen to, that's something else. That's a whole other world.
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Old 05-26-2020, 02:21 AM   #13
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I'm saying you should not be using any form of direct monitoring. You should only hear your signal through NINJAM. (You do need good isolation.)
What about my other questions?
Those answers would surely help me in understanding what you mean.
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Old 05-26-2020, 04:21 AM   #14
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I answered them earlier, didn't I?
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...Playing fast around the drums is one thing. But to play with people for others, to listen to, that's something else. That's a whole other world.
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Old 05-26-2020, 09:05 AM   #15
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I answered them earlier, didn't I?
Well, may be you answered indirectly, however three direct answers would have been more explicit.
I can try to figure them out myself:

1] But will I hear immediately ALSO the other players? NO
2] WHEN will THEY hear what I'm playing (and hearing immediately)? LATER, after several seconds.

3] Supposing I play a certain sequence of notes, will I hear it only ONCE (the moment I play it) or will I hear it also ANOTHER time, some seconds later, coming from the net? Another time, several seconds later

So, if I got those answers right, my doubts are confirmed, because it actually is a very... peculiar "playing", quite far from what is normally meant.
Undoubtedly useful and even pleasant for certain tasks, but definitely much less suitable for simple "jamming" and improvising together or, also, for rehearsing songs with prefixed chord changes, rhythm changes, solo parts and so on. :]
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Old 05-26-2020, 10:06 AM   #16
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1 - Yes, you'll hear yourself immediately playing alongside the other players. No, it won't be what they're playing at the same time as you - but it will be in time, so long as you can play to a metronome, and it will fit musically, so long as your phrase length can be accommodated.

2 - They'll hear it later, it will be in time, so long as you can play to a metronome, and it will fit musically, so long as your phrase length can be accommodated.

3 - You hear what you play ONCE, IMMEDIATELY you play it. If something else is happening for you, your set up is faulty.

NINJAM isn't intended as a rehearsal room. You can jam and it's not repetitive (if you know what you're doing with your phrasing and you listen as well as lead).
A random jam.


If you want to rehearse online, that is possible - so long as you don't mind standing around 10 to 15 metres apart whilst you play. Think of it as social distancing. It requires that you have a Jamulus server close enough to you that your overall delay is under 40ms. Then you can connect Reaper to Jamulus client and jam together, in real time. London to Netherlands or Germany is possible, for example, quite easily within the 40ms. For example:
20200525-1805-edit01-pljones-A_T__Jones-nils
I'm in London, UK; A_T__Jones was in the Netherlands; nils was in Germany
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...Playing fast around the drums is one thing. But to play with people for others, to listen to, that's something else. That's a whole other world.

Last edited by pljones; 05-26-2020 at 12:48 PM.
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Old 05-27-2020, 12:30 AM   #17
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1 - Yes, you'll hear yourself immediately playing alongside the other players. No, it won't be what they're playing at the same time as you ... You hear what you play ONCE, IMMEDIATELY you play it.
This is exactly the point where I... get lost.

Let's say I play a note A while I hear the notes B and C played by other two players. I play my note NOW (and I hear it immediately, only once, only now) but the others are not playing their notes now, at the same time as me. This means, I understand, that those notes B and C have been played before and it means also that the other two players, while playing (and immediately hearing, only once) those notes of theirs, did NOT hear my note A, because at that moment, obviously, I hadn't played it yet. I will play my note A some time after they have played their notes B and C and they will hear my note A after a further delay, when they will play something else alongside my note A.
So I'm the only one who will hear all the three notes A, B and C at the same time, together. And the same, consequently, also applies to the other two players.

Does that mean that every one of us will be listening to a... different music, a different combination of notes (and chords and so on)?
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Old 05-27-2020, 04:17 AM   #18
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Try reading these two messages:
https://forum.cockos.com/showthread....59#post2230659
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...Playing fast around the drums is one thing. But to play with people for others, to listen to, that's something else. That's a whole other world.
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Old 05-27-2020, 09:19 AM   #19
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Try reading these two messages: ...
You don't really know when the others in the room will hear you, except that what you play on "1" will get delayed until some future time and heard on "1", whilst you're hearing something that's from the past and that's been delayed until you heard "1"...
Well, reading those messages kind of... reassured me, not only because they contain precisely the kind of explanation I was looking for (not looking well enough, apparently) but also because that explanation pretty much confirms my experience.

Thanks a lot for you help.
Thanks also for your hint about Jamulus, which, at least as far as distances are concerned, could actually be suitable for our needs. Which makes it definitely worth a try. :]
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Old 05-27-2020, 08:03 PM   #20
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and... why was this whole off topic discussion posted here, again? when there are threads after threads that talk about this, all over the web, there are even videos explaining how this all works
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Old 05-27-2020, 10:01 PM   #21
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and... why was this whole off topic discussion posted here, again?
Whole off topic?
Why should this be off topic?
This thread clearly talks about "jamming" with NinJam in many ways, more or less creative and enjoyable.
I've asked for explanation and advice about... jamming with NinJam, more precisely about HOW this kind of delayed playing can be described and perceived as "playing together". Someone has kindly supplied explanation and advice, also with useful technical information.
What's wrong with that?
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Old 06-04-2020, 09:59 PM   #22
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well for the record, I was expecting to find things like these:
https://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=133

even though this is old, it shows ever expanding possibilities with something that has been there for at least 15 years. NO idea if any more work was done on it, or anything else, but the way that discussion was heading gave quite a few ideas.
The last posts here, above these, I feel, were a bit more of a "ninjam/online jamming is rather hard to understand"

And yes it might be for some (though all of the musician friends I have invited over for some reason don't think it is and they are sure a varied bunch), due to factors that other forum posts and articles answer really well, like this one:
https://medium.com/@calebdolister/wh...s-44260789a721
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Old 06-25-2020, 01:19 AM   #23
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I understand you think that anybody, looking for some explanation or advice about something, should perform some in depth net searches, even years backwards and then, ONLY after those searches have proved unsuccessful, post a message in a place involving the EXACT matter he is interested in.

Maybe you are right, but I'm afraid that approach is very unlikely. I know that in Internet forums there are needs (often also ... money related) to maintain a strict separation between different topics (even when they are quite similar to each other), but that aim collides with the natural way in which people usually interact, often "jumping" from something to something else just following the spontaneous progress of the dialogue.

So I think that directives (and reproaches) should above all concern good manners, mutual respect, the lack of offensive languages and so on.
In this particular case, moreover, it seems to me that the "off topic", assuming that there actually was one, was really slight (and also quite short, after all). :]
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