Creative Musical Collaboration in the 21st Century
Writing in 2014, Margaret Barrett observed that ‘Collaborations may occur on a number of levels and degrees of separation, including those of place, time and expertise.’ In 2020, the global coronavirus pandemic provoked national lockdowns around the world, and this in turn motivated a proliferation of remote musical collaborations. Virtual choirs, orchestras, and ensembles of all shapes and sizes increased exponentially, using an array of digital technologies to connect performers across vast physical and temporal distances. However, despite an increasing number of products designed to address this issue, latency (lag) continues to frustrate online collaborative efforts, and prevents some altogether. Many musicians result to pre-recording individual parts, before subsequently stitching musical material together, but this is far from ‘live’ musical performance.
Using the composition ‘Latent’ (Cotter and Estibeiro, 2021), I explore the creative musical and social possibilities which arise from embracing lag, rather than embarking on another futile endeavour to eliminate it. This poster presentation illuminates the approaches taken by creative partnerships operating remotely, processes of co-performer communication (especially the navigation of omnidirectional feedback loops in the virtual domain), and the nature of collaborating ‘online’ in the 21st century.
University of Cambridge
David Cotter is an academic and musician.
He is currently a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Music at the University of Cambridge, under the supervision of Professor John Rink. His research concerns the past, present, and future of the guitar as a collaborative instrument, and creativity within ensemble music performance.
He has presented in Belgium (Orpheus Institute), Canada (Carleton University), Hong Kong (Academy for Performing Arts), Lithuania (Academy of Music and Theatre), the Netherlands (Maastricht University), Norway (University of Oslo), Portugal (NOVA University Lisbon; University of Aveiro), Russia (Saint Petersburg Contemporary Music Center; Saint Petersburg State University), Serbia (Academy of Arts and Sciences), Turkey (Istanbul Technical University), the UK (the universities of Cambridge, Dundee, Durham, Leeds, Middlesex, Nottingham, and Staffordshire; Guildhall School of Music and Drama; White Rose College of Arts and Humanities), and the USA (The University of Texas at Austin; University of Connecticut).
Latent (Marc Estibeiro and David Cotter)