Front cover image for Collaborative musicking on the web

Collaborative musicking on the web

The Web has evolved far beyond its original function as the vehicle of information sharing through hypertext, but the spirit of collaboration remains central to the Web. With the arrival of HTML5 and new browsers capable of streaming audio and complex graphics, new and unprecedented opportunities have arisen. The advent of Web Audio API in 2010 took real-time audio processing within web browser to a new level, giving birth to a new breed of interactive, visually rich, and networked music software. This thesis investigates the potential of web music technology within the context of collaborative musicking. I adopt the verb `musicking', coined by the late Christopher Small, in the title, to underscore the nature of music as an active process rather than a static object. The dissertation commences with a concise review of the intersections and convergence of the Web and music technology. Following this historical review of web music technology, a theoretical framework is proposed. The subsequent chapters describe technical efforts to implement this theoretical basis and empirical experimentation through a series of `case studies'. We conclude with a critical evaluation of the work and a look toward the future. The work offers a novel model for classification of collaborative computer music production (Chapter 2), and an innovative software framework that facilitates the development of web-based music applications (Chapter 3) that are illustrated in case studies (Chapter 4). Unlike many written dissertations, this thesis documents a living and organic project that is best studied directly engaging with the environment described within. The reader is encouraged to pursue the thesis while directly interacting with this project on the Web. All code examples and operational prototypes discussed in the text are available at \url{https://ccrma.stanford.edu/~hongchan/WAAX} keeping in mind that the very nature of this project is one that enables and encourages collaborative creativity - indeed, `musicking' - on an unprecedented massive scale
Thesis, Dissertation, English, 2016
Stanford University