The ability for musicians to interact face-to-face has been highly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Physical distancing and travel restrictions have forced teaching, rehearsals, and performances to be moved online. The use of videoconference platforms designed for conversation has also meant accepting their limitations when used in musical contexts. For example, in networked music performance (NMP), low-latency audio is usually transmitted alongside a separate video image. Since videoconference systems usually have a higher degree of in-built delay, the result is that performers often ignore the video image of each other in order to maintain a steady rhythm. If musicians usually avoid looking at each other during NMPs, could virtual reality provide a viable alternative to videoconferencing? In recent years, virtual reality has reemerged as an immersive medium with the ability to bring users together in an online space. However, there is a relatively small body of literature that is concerned with realistic acoustic interaction approaches in NMP when virtual reality is used as the visual medium. This paper explores research at the intersection of networked music performance, virtual reality, and virtual environments. It finds that virtual reality as a visual alternative to videoconferencing in NMP is worthy of further investigation and points to priorities for future research.
Loveridge, Ben. "Networked Music Performance in Virtual Reality: Current Perspectives." Journal of Network Music and Arts 2, 1 (2020). https://commons.library.stonybrook.edu/jonma/vol2/iss1/2