Sigma Xi Publications



American Scientist

Real-Time Digital Sync

Singing together helps people build community and cope with anxiety and loss. Yet singing together has been notoriously risky during the COVID-19 pandemic. So, singers devised ways to carry on making music virtually, finding workarounds to deal with the audiovisual latency inherent in online communications. In “Virtual Community Singing During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” music historian Esther M. Morgan-Ellis summarizes her investigation of the experiences of people gathering online to sing together during the pandemic. Low-latency communications platforms for musicians have existed for about 15 years but are not yet broadly accessible. Great technological strides have been made during the pandemic, with programmers improving the software people use for virtual music-making and musicians becoming more aware of available technologies. Eventually, most people who want to sing together virtually will have access to technology that will facilitate real-time, multidirectional audiovisual communication. (Illustration by Chanelle Nibbelink.)

January–February 2022

Sigma Xi Publications