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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
harmand
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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
pljones
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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
harmand
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pljones View Post
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
pljones
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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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Originally Posted by Tony Williams
...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
harmand
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pljones View Post
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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