Musical Directors & Jacktrip

Last week I tried out Jacktrip with our big band with everyone except our drummer (Trevor) in the same hall. Trevor and his drum kit were connected via a digital bridge and located in a neighbouring town. This worked pretty much as I expected, with Trevor playing through our local PA system, and the band mic’d up so that Trevor could hear it. Providing the band followed Trevor and he (more or less) ignored the band we could play together very well and didn’t slow down. Audio quality was excellent.

Unfortunately the Musical Director (in the same hall) felt a bit left out of things and didn’t quite understand why Trevor wasn’t responding to his baton and the music just fell apart when he tried to conduct.

This got me wondering whether there was anything simple that might pick up the baton gestures and map these to a metronome track which Trevor (and any other remote players) could hear. Ideally this would be slightly in advance of the bottom of the director’s beat to help overcome the latency, but this shouldn’t be too difficult to accommodate.

My initial thoughts were around a smartwatch app or other dedicated wearable device but I also wondered whether a low cost Theremin control module might be used.

I might take a look at this myself at some point, but Is anyone aware of anything out there which will help involve a musical director - either local or remote.

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Hey rebholland! I’m not aware of anyone pursuing something similar but the theremin-based idea seems cool and might fit with how a director would conduct. If you’re able to pipe JackTrip through the music hall, have you tried video solutions like Zoom? It’s possible that the video latency would be too much, but just a thought.

For what it’s worth, there was a similar setup as part of NAMM where Eric Whitacre conducted an in-person ensemble accompanied by JackTrip singers (see the 2nd video): JackTrip Labs Eliminates Latency for the Modern Musician | During that performance, the piano was responsible for following the conductor and keeping time to cue the singers. It’s not exactly your same setup but just another example for you to consider since it’s a similar use case!

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