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Remote Rounds

June 11th, 2016
tech, music, ideas

If you've ever tried to sing "happy birthday" with someone over the internet, you've seen how the delay keeps people from being able to sing together coherently. Once a delay gets above a few ms our ability to create a synchronous piece of music falls apart. This isn't something we can fix with faster connections: lightspeed delay means if you want 10ms of round trip latency you can't be more than 1000 miles apart, and in the real world things will be slower than this.

Instead of trying to sing at the same time, however, what if we make there be a large fixed delay? Then we can sing rounds! Each person would think they were singing the first part, and hear the other person singing the second part. You do need your delay to be completely consistent, and fully symmetric, but this seems doable. This would probably have to be a native app, since low level control of delay like this isn't something the web lets you handle.

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