Join us for our Experiment
AcA's James Devin Moncus Theater
What is LoLa?
LoLa, or “Low Latency AV Streaming System” (we’ll stick with LoLa), is a high-quality audio and video system that functions in real time or without a lag. Interestingly, this experimental technology was first publicly demonstrated in 2010 and has created a fast-growing network. LoLa was developed by Conservatorio di Musica Giuseppe Tartini in Trieste, Italy in collaboration with GARR, the Italian Research and Academic network.
Have you ever noticed news anchors switching back and forth between two remote locations? Typically, the reporter puts their hand to their ear piece, receives the ‘go-ahead’, and then looks in to the camera and starts speaking. The reporter does this because there is a lag in their connection and we often can visually observe this delay in audible communication.
Next, imagine being a guitarist in one end zone of a football field trying to play a song with another guitarist in the opposing end zone. It would be difficult to hear and stay in sync and on key, yes? This is because of the amount of space between you and the other musician. Latency is comparable to the space between the musicians. One meter of distance equals one millisecond of latency, and in music, milliseconds are incredibly important. Bring the musicians together, without space (or a lag), and it becomes music to our ears.
LoLa’s purpose is to close the connectivity gap and create an experience in which two musicians across the country can play together, completely in sync.
In Acadiana, music is woven into our cultural fabric. It’s in our schools, it’s in our homes, it’s in our hearts, and in the hearts of the children we’re raising here. So, what better place to test this new technology than right here?
For this experiment, AcA is partnering with Chattanooga Public Library, Old Fiddlers’ Association, and Louisiana Folk Roots to perform using LoLa technology.
As part of the project, Louisiana Folk Roots will teach students in Chattanooga, Tennessee a Cajun/Creole song, and Old Fiddlers’ Association in Chattanooga will teach Acadiana students an old-time fiddle tune. Following, adult groups in Chattanooga and Lafayette will play a song together. Using LoLa, we want to play music together, perfectly in tune (with no lag), while hundreds of miles apart.
What are the benefits of this experiment and this technology?
For Music & Music Education
LoLa developers, in part, aim to enable real time musical performances among musicians in distant geographic locations. These performances have been made possible by technological advancements. We hope to add to these advancements by leading our own experiment.
Music education, although one of the enduring art forms taught in public schools, can be out of reach for some learners. Additionally, geographic location limits the opportunity to learn about different types of music and have authentic hands-on experiences; therefore, this project seeks to address this issue by providing a cross-city learning experience related to the musical cultures of respective geographic locations.
Developers created LoLa for musicians that experienced setbacks and difficulty connecting due to geographic distance. Musicians often need to communicate live and without latency for concert practice, master classes, teaching, and recording sessions. LoLa is a tool that connects musicians seamlessly. This (typically) uninterrupted connection allows them to work together without having to be at the same location, thus, creating new and endless possibilities.
Although LoLa has most often been used for the arts, there are certainly many ways it can be beneficial to other industries. As with any other technology, testing is the path to infinite further development. AcA is thrilled to be a part of this project and experimenting with this tool that enables us to connect globally.
Recorded content will be made available for use by scholars and the community as part of the Cajun and Creole Music Collection of the University Libraries at the University of Louisiana Lafayette.
Photos courtesy of lola.conts.it
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. CNS-1531176, funding the Mozilla Gigabit grant program.