The Global Metronome: Absolute tempo sync for networked musical performance

Oda, Reid and Fiebrink, Rebecca. 2016. 'The Global Metronome: Absolute tempo sync for networked musical performance'. In: International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression. Brisbane, Australia 11-15 July 2016. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract or Description

At a time in the near future, many computers (including devices such as smart-phones) will have system clocks that are synchronized to a high degree (less than 1 ms of error). This will enable us to coordinate events across unconnected devices with a degree of accuracy that was previously impossible. In particular, high clock synchronization means that we can use these clocks to synchronize tempo between humans or sequencers with little-to-no communication between the devices. To facilitate this low-overhead tempo synchronization, we propose the Global Metronome, which is a simple, computationally cheap method to obtain absolute tempo synchronization. We present experimental results demonstrating the effectiveness of using the Global Metronome and compare the performance to MIDI clock sync, a common synchronization method. Finally, we present an open source implementation of a Global Metronome server using a GPS-connected Raspberry Pi that can be built for under $100.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Computing > Embodied AudioVisual Interaction Group (EAVI)


11 July 2016Published
18 April 2016Accepted

Event Location:

Brisbane, Australia

Date range:

11-15 July 2016


Funding bodyFunder IDGrant Number
Project X Grant, Princeton UniversityUNSPECIFIED

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

07 Jul 2016 07:10

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:19


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