Jamalus. Has anybody used it?

December 29, 2020, 7:44 PM · ACMP sent an e-mail around a while ago in which they strongly recommended Jamalus (jamalus.io) as a means to play ensemble music remotely.

Has anybody tried anything with the software? I am curious if it lives up to the fulsome praise with ACMP has used on it.

Replies (12)

December 29, 2020, 9:09 PM · ACMP just had an article on using it last month in their newsletter. Not my cup of tea, so did not read it it too attentively.
December 29, 2020, 9:18 PM · I downloaded Jamulus, but I never used it; all subsequent Jamulus updates would not install, due to warnings from my computer that the updates were damaging; there have been several warnings about this problem online--do a Google search. I have seen favorable reviews of JamKazam--why don't you look at that instead...
December 29, 2020, 9:40 PM · Play ensemble music remotely, how do they manage it?
December 29, 2020, 9:41 PM · https://acmp.net/joy-jamulus
December 29, 2020, 11:47 PM · I've heard it's good.
December 30, 2020, 2:09 AM · my son will use an app named "echo muses" that really works to play toghether online.but you must have a really strong lan connection
December 30, 2020, 1:54 PM · JamKazam has just started to charge more aggressively for their service.
Edited: December 30, 2020, 4:31 PM · Lydia: Jamulus is open source, so the pricing is no problem so long as they don't change that.
David: Exactly my question too.

Personally I feel that remote ensemble playing--even if Jamulus or some other system works flawlessly--is weird. Take beginning a piece. Normally the person with the leading voice makes eye contact all-around, then gives the upbeat. How does that work remotely? Balancing the ensemble must be a daunting task when microphones at each end and individually controlled earphones are involved.

And last but not least: How do you sit down together at the end and have some tea and snacks and chat?

Edited: December 31, 2020, 3:09 AM · I sent the link to my quartet and the response has been a chorus of "hmmm...". Albrecht is absolutely right. It could be fun for five minutes (after a lot of setting up of leads and levels) but so much in classical ensemble playing depends on subtle visual interaction.
December 31, 2020, 3:13 AM · ...which leads me off on a delicate tangent. Does anybody have any experience of playing music with a blind partner? There must be a huge amount for both partners to learn about interaction
January 1, 2021, 12:40 PM · I played several times during my teenage / student years with a blind organist. It is not much different from playing with an organist with vision; maybe in part because from the bench an organist can not easily make eye contact no matter how his/her eyes.

He would count a measure ahead to begin (in a whisper of course). Details needed to be rehearsed maybe a little more conscientiously than usual but he was still good at staying with me when I made an error (he--a professional--did not make any...). And of course he had to memorize everything we played.

To me it was a privilege to play with him. I sometimes helped him out and accompanied him to places he was not familiar with (where he was familiar he was entirely capable of navigating. He would always board the tram at the door in front and chat with the driver (he seemed to know them all and they knew him too). Occasionally I got to play at some wedding or funeral (always Mozart's Adagio in E) and he negotiated a nice remuneration for me.

Anyhow, I think in a string quartet a blind partner would by no means make playing impossible but one would feel the limitations more: No spontaneous sight reading of repertoire; the blind person would have to work much harder than the rest and communication during playing would be limited (though I believe one could develop strategies that would compensate at least in part).

Edited: January 2, 2021, 2:18 AM · That's a nice story and it must have brought home to you just how much musicians normally rely on sight for matters of ensemble as well as reading the music. As my own counter-example I might cite all the hours I've spent recording string quartets with myself. That's largely made possible by the fact that "we" have a click track to tell us when all the tempo modulations are to occur, but it's like playing with the most insensitive accompanist on earth!


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