Playing LIVE chamber music on the internet (Jamulus)

New 28feb2021  Digital Audio & Video 101 for Musicians

Not specifically Jamulus.  BUT … Sampling rate?  dB?  Bit Depth?  Here is Chris Whittaker — Music Director of Washington Heights Chamber Orchestra — with a demystifying intro to digital audio matters.  (And video matters too, for that matter.)


You may not see my buddies, but I can hear them …

Any questions on the material below, please feel free to contact me (Tom) at email address:  frethoa AT aol DOT com .
You may also “Leave a Reply” at the bottom of this page.



Want some motivation?  Check out the Concordia String Quartet playing together at the same time, but each in their own home!  (Note: the video was added later; Jamulus is an audio-only product.)


Jamulus for Chamber Musicians — Written by my internet string quartet, an illustrated guide to getting started.  Read this first!


(New 05aug2020) Don’t have a Jamulus-savvy friend available at the moment, but would like to check out your setup?  Read:   Trying Jamulus on your own first


Not specifically for classical musicians.  But here are two excellent introductory videos by John Punshon.  These are actually recordings of Zoom (well, its lookalike Jitsi) sessions:


Online rehearsals with Jamulus — In this video, violist Konrad of the Vierimpuls string quartet explains their setup for optimum internet playing.  Worth watching, but do not feel you need such fancy hardware, in order to have fun!


If you want to get a bit more serious about internet music-making, Sweetwater is a well-respected online audio equipment dealer.  Your humble correspondent purchased a microphone and audio interface from them.  It is easy to talk to a real, knowledgeable person on the phone!  They made sure that I had the correct cables and accessories to connect everything together.  They even followed up after the sale, with messages asking if I had any questions or issues.

And no, (regrettably) I am not getting any compensation from Sweetwater for this endorsement …


If you want to explore the official Jamulus presence on the Web, HERE is a good place to start.  There are links to:

  • Jamulus documentation
  • Discussion forums.  Many helpful folks hang out here.
  • Sourceforge.net, the host for the Jamulus project.  Here is where you can download, for free, the latest version of Jamulus (Windows, Mac, Linux).  Note that Jamulus is updated frequently, so keep an eye on this page for the latest and greatest.
  • The source code, at Github (for those with that extra measure of geekiness)

Note the useful Software Manual .


Remote Live Music-Making With Jamulus — a writeup from the standpoint of a chorus. But like the author says, most of it applicable to instrumental groups. (My only demur is his attitude of “Embrace the latency”.) Along with Jamulus, he discusses other approaches, including JamKazam and Jacktrip. But as you’ll see, he concludes (as I do) that Jamulus is the best approach for “remote live music making”.


Facebook Jamulus pages:


Idiots Guide to Installing Jamulus Server on Amazon AWS Lightsail Ubuntu instance

Here is a nice dose of tech speak — but made as easy as possible under the circumstances.  🙂

Why would you want to install your own (i.e. “private”) Jamulus server?  After all, there are plenty of public ones available …

  • To try and minimize latency (delay), especially if you’re in a remote area
  • To make reliable, good audio recordings of your sessions.  (The recording is done by the server.  Each musician has their own track, enabling you to create the optimum balance of volume when you combine the tracks later.)
  • To avoid having people popping by and listening in on your sessions.  (But who knows … maybe the next Jamulizer popping by your quartet session might be a violist, who would like to make a five-some to play quintets?)

Here is my current (15jul2020) setup.  After a few sessions with basic equipment, I decided to invest a significant — but low in terms of other audio equipment out there! — amount of less than $300.  (I already had the Bose QC-35 headphones.)  So, to go with my Windows 10 laptop, I acquired an AKG P120 microphone and a Focusrite Scarlett Solo audio interface (plus required accessories).  I now get much better sound than I did from the laptop’s microphone.  The “Overall Delay”, while better than before, still tends to run on the high side (about 50 ms).  Though good sessions are possible with this delay, I’d still like to find a way to cut it down!

Not Jamulus-related … but I already had an iPad Pro, so I decided to digitize my sheet music.  I don’t have a big printed chamber-music library; therefore, much of what I play is downloaded from IMSLP in any case.  On my iPad, I use the terrific forScore app.  I bought a PageFlip Firefly pedal (partly visible beneath the black chair holding the iPad), so I could make hands-free page turns.  I am now saving the hassle and expense of printing the music.  Plus, I no longer need a music stand, stand light, tuner, or metronome (the last two being built into forScore).


5 Comments

Filed under NBR

5 responses to “Playing LIVE chamber music on the internet (Jamulus)

  1. Cyril Penn

    Nice work, Tom! — Cyril

  2. Roy Oser

    Way to go, Tom. It looks like you’ve refined your equipment and technique since we started on this. Have you been able to reduce the latency?

    • Thanks! Latency might be a bit lower, usually in 50’s now. Do-able, but not great. I’m gonna try re-inventing an old W7 laptop as a Linux machine … to see if that’ll help. Longer term, maybe replacing Spectrum cable with Verizon FiOS?

  3. Pingback: Online music-making with nearly no lag time—really! | OUPblog

  4. Pingback: Online music-making with nearly no lag time—really! | MusicOvation

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