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MirrorFugue – Music collaboration across space and time

Xiao Xiao’s Ph.D. research project MirrorFugue at the MIT Media Lab explores how physical gestures inform music collaboration over space and time, via creative applications:

MirrorFugue can be used in remote lessons to enable teachers and students to see each other’s playing. It could also be used to playback recordings of the self and others. A student can use MirrorFugue for practice support by recording a portion of a piece playing a duet with the recording. By displaying the body and the hands at full scale on the surface of the instrument, MirrorFugue evokes the presence of a pianist with a sense of intimate emotional expression. Examples below combine life-sized projection and the actuated keys of a Yamaha Disklavier.

The current prototype consists of MIDI keyboards, wide-angle cameras, projectors, using the MaxMSP/Jitter to manage video and sound. Xiao tested the remote communication by transferring 640×480 video at 30 frame per second over gigabit ethernet between two locations in the same building and were able to do so without noticeable latency. For their user studies, they placed two piano keyboards in the same room arranged to simulate a remote situation where two people cannot see each other but can hear each other and what is being played.

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