Sharing tunes via Skype

Sharing tunes via Skype

I acknowledge this subject has been discussed on previous occasions but I raise it again.

I recently participated in a Skype based musical exchange between two disparate groups of teenagers sharing session tunes. It worked like a dream. Not only were they able to play music together (I’ll talk about lag and latency shortly) but they were also able to learn tunes from each other and chat with each other between tunes. They loved it and so did I.

I have a strong interest in the music of Turlough O’Carolan as well as tunes and songs from Brittany and I would like to hear from anyone who shares those interests - with a view to exploring that music on line via Skype.

The time lag (latency) issue means you can’t replicate the experience of playing at a live session but you can learn together, chat with one another and have a good time. It is not as good as the real thing but it is an effective way of making contact with musicians from other parts of your own country or from other countries. It is particularly useful for people living in remote areas.

I repeat - because this seems to cause much anxiety - playing tunes via Skype can supplement but can never substitute for a live session (you can’t buy a beer for another player on Skype).

I will add some comments here for our friends in France, Canada and Italy.

Je veux jouer la musique celtique Bretonne en ligne via Skype. J’aime beaucoup les chansons et les mélodies Bretonnes et aussi la musique de Turlough O’Carolan. Je parle français et j’aimerais jouer musique et bavarder avec vous en ligne. Vous pouvez me contacter via un message privé s’il vous plaît.

Voglio avere uno scambio di musica celtica via Skype. Amo la musica di Bretagna e la musica di Turlough O’Carolan. Mi piacerebbe incontrarvi via Skype. Parlo italiano. Si può mandarmi un messaggio privato oppure si può rispondere qui.

Re: Sharing tunes via Skype

Thanks Graham,

What is it like to play together - with the lag?

I would have thought irritating or confusing- no?

Re: Sharing tunes via Skype

As a teacher/student on Skype what I find myself doing quite often is muting my mic or asking my co-conspirator to mute their mic; then I play or they play and then the other plays along, and that works quite well, as long as you don’t watch the video stream to closely.

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Re: Sharing tunes via Skype

#Choons …….We followed the method described by #Calum.

Group (or player) A start a set with microphone on mute. Group/player B can play along in sync because there is no lag when you are on the receiving end of the broadcast. Group A cannot hear what group B are doing so there is no lag at the broadcast end either. We simply reversed the roles after each set. As #Calum says its best not to look too closely at the other player(s) because of the lag so in that respect you miss out on the visual cues of a live session.

This is not a ‘virtual’ session. It is a different experience. I think it is a useful adjunct to live play but it won’t suit everyone.

It pays to have your computer/laptop/smartphone hooked up to a decent set of powered PC speakers with bass boost (or sub). You won’t get much joy out of the tinny sound of inbuilt speakers. You can record the set at the receiving end and email the recording back to the broadcast end after the session. That way they get to hear your contribution without any lag effect.

#Calum I get the impression teaching via Skype has taken off in a big way over the past few years.

Re: Sharing tunes via Skype

Think you’d mind adding me to this skype group? Sounds like an interesting experience. I’ve been meaning to find new tunes to learn recently 🙂

Re: Sharing tunes via Skype

My skype name is: Nal Un arak
remove the spaces, obviously. hoping to prevent spambots :D

Re: Sharing tunes via Skype

No problem BlindBard I’ll pm you to talk about time zones/availability etc.

In my previous post I talked about having the mic on mute. It should be speaker on mute, not the mic.

Re: Sharing tunes via Skype

Or, you know, you can just pop in a decent pair of ear-buds or headphones

Re: Sharing tunes via Skype

Graham - yes, I think Skype teaching is a fantastic step forward. I’m based in London and there’s no-one here teaching West Highland fiddle style, but with two clicks of a mouse I’m chatting to someone sitting in Fort William, not to mention the warm fuzzies from helping support someone keeping traditional music alive in his own community.

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Re: Sharing tunes via Skype

#Calum …….excellent (or should that be awesome?) …..may you make many more such connections.

Re: Sharing tunes via Skype

Scotty, thanks for the viola sounds at the Morisett session last weekend (I was playing flute). What is the possibility of using a Skype conference call as a pseudo session? i.e. as you explained to Choons earlier in this post. The tune / set instigator being the only one with microphone on (and speaker muted) all remaining players can play along at their respective locations. Would that work? Maybe we could try it with Nik the fiddler.

Re: Sharing tunes via Skype

Well #flutist I’m willing to give it a go.

There would be an amount of trial and error at first so patience would be needed but in theory it could work. I guess we could buy beers for each other via FedEx (or maybe a sky drone delivery from Amazon) to further enhance the session ‘feel’. I’m pretty sure TheBlindBard (mandolin/Las Vegas) would be interested.

I do think the lag/delay issue will rear its ugly head. You would probably have to mute all other players except the instigator …….but there’s only one way to find out.