Sonidos Telemáticos: Network Remote Performance for
Compositional Paradigm Shifting in Peruvian Musical Learning
José Ignacio López Ramírez Gastón
Laboratorio de Música Electroacústica y Arte Sonoro, Dirección de Innovación y Transferencia Tecnológica,
Vicepresidencia de Investigación, Universidad Nacional de Música, Lima, Peru
Keywords: Electroacoustic Music, Sound Arts, Latin American Academic Music, Experimental Peruvian Music,
Abstract: This paper explores the implementation of network data transmission for real-time remote musical
performance as part of a set of strategies for paradigm shifting in Peruvian musical education. It describes the
use of the [netsend] / [netreceive] objects in the Pure Data (Pd) visual programming language by the Ensamble
de Laptops de la Universidad Nacional de Música – ELUNM, for the composition and execution of musical
pieces developed by the creation of programs (patches) design for network distant performance interactivity
through a server computer. This practice aims at bridging a technological and conceptual gap, in musical
composition and performance, that has accompanied the history of musical education in the country, keeping
computational thinking from becoming a tool for the construction of new creative expressions and the
extension/reconfiguration of the musical arts.
The history of music has been inseparable from
technology, and we can comfortably say that most
music today is machine-ridden. However self-evident
this might seem, the relationship between musical
practices and technological development have been,
at times, difficult and controversial. From a ‘natural
fear of the new and a general technophobic stance, to
a lack of opportunities to catch up with rapid
technological development, musical technology has,
in many cases, been marginalized to a mere mean to
produce ‘something else’ known as music. For
instance, the heavy use of digital artifacts in
contemporary music does not necessarily reflect a
conceptual comprehension of the transformational
processes produced by the Third Industrial
Revolution. If, from the perspective of a global north,
“how fast these technologies are accepted depends on
a number of factors as well as an understanding of the
appropriate model to adapt or develop”
(Evwiekpaefe, A., Chiemeke, S., Haruna, M., 2018),
for the Peruvian environment, the conditions were
dramatically different from those of the ‘international
community’, and music technology was received by
a very specific “almost official nationalist and
technophobic context” (López, 2018), that affected
radically the development of technologically based
musical activities and therefore its participation in
Peruvian musical education. The role of particular
social discourses in the [under]development of
technology-based musical activities in Perú, together
with a report on new efforts being made to implement
substantial changes on the culture of musical
education in the country, has been extensively
documented on my Ph.D. dissertation (López, 2020).
This text centers on the implementation of
network remote performances by the Ensamble de
Laptops de la Universidad Nacional de Música in
Perú, not as a mere reflection of contemporary
practical oportunities for musical perfomance or a
demostration of computer technology advancement,
but as a potential paradigm shifting strategy that
could help move peruvian musical education away
from traditional models of compartmentalization that
might see a laptop ensamble or a remote performance,
López Ramírez Gastón, J.
Sonidos Telemáticos: Network Remote Performance for Compositional Paradigm Shifting in Peruvian Musical Learning Practice.
DOI: 10.5220/0010532806900697
In Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Computer Supported Education (CSEDU 2021) - Volume 1, pages 690-697
ISBN: 978-989-758-502-9
2021 by SCITEPRESS Science and Technology Publications, Lda. All rights reserved
for instance, as part of a conflicting conceptual
schema that undermines the set of predetermined
rules regarding musical education models and
performative practices. This is a report on a work in
process which results are to be found and interpreted
in the following years.
Arne Eigenfeldt noted more than a decade ago that:
“the laptop ensemble, or orchestra, ha[d] become a
new paradigm for electroacoustic music performance
in universities in North America and Europe”, and
that in order to form such an ensemble “you could
simply advertise the course, and ask the students to
bring their laptops”, declaring that the hardware
problem had been solved (Eigenfeldt, 2010). This
simplicity and viability to implement a laptop
orchestra in a university setting, mentioned by
Eigenfeldt, can be easily understood as the result of a
long history of computer music experimentation, in
the global north, and as a demonstration of the social
conditions these developments denote. By 2012 the
proliferation of laptop ensembles had led to the
organization of the 1st Symposium on Laptop
Ensembles & Orchestras- SLEO at the Louisiana
State University.
Close to a decade later, the
existence of such ensembles represents no novelty for
a world that has embraced technology for both
academic and popular music. However, this
embracing world must be understood as incomplete
in the sense that it imagines a not existing unity, of
which places like Peru are not a part.
Whether the lack of a long history of computer
music or laptop orchestration in Peru reflects a
displacement of Peruvian society to the margins of
global technological development, showing the
byproducts of a postcolonial condition, is, while easy
to imagine, an analysis that goes beyond the scope of
this work. However, to give us some sense of the
situation for education in musical technology in the
country, it might suffice to say that there are currently
no Computer Music or Electronic Music programs in
Peruvian higher education, and that music technology
is only seen as a means for the production of real
music, keeping technology as a subaltern practice
Proceedings.pdf. Retrieved on march 22, 2021.
mainly associated with the recording studio and the
notion of musical production.
In order to diagnose the current situation of
technological sound arts in this particular
geographical and political setting, and to assess the
relevancy of constructing mechanisms for musical
performance that challenge the traditional models for
musical education in this specific nation-state, one
must understand, in basic terms, the conditions of
difference and otherness that affect not only the (1)
access to technologically based musical products in
Perú, but, moreover, (2) the possibilities of
constructing a philosophical comprehension of the
value of those musical tools.
It is also important to mention that the hardware
problem has not been solved, and access to a laptop
computer that could handle heavy DSP processing is
not necessarily certain for a music student at a public
institution in Perú. For instance: “[i]n 2019,
approximately 32.7 percent of all households in Peru
owned at least one computer”.
This problematic had
to be taken under consideration for the laptop
ensemble we will here discuss, as programing
decisions had to be made taking under consideration
the specific laptop computers we were to work with.
2.1 What Can You Do Yourself
The nonexistence of the complementary role of
education in the historical development of computer
music and related sound arts, has affected the
progress of national popular music cultures based on
technological experimentation, and influenced the
existence of a general lack of interest for computers
as a musical tool for aesthetic research. This is
especially true since the last decade of the twentieth
century when “[l]aptop composition the creation
and performance of music primarily using laptop
computers emerged as an important musical
activity” (Latartara, 2010). While the world was
being, during this period, invaded by laptop
performers (both in popular and academic music),
Peruvian musicians interested in the new possibilities
for sound creation based in electronics and ‘machine
aesthetics’, did not envision the laptop as their main
creative tool.
I have previously defined a set of values that
informed the Peruvian experimental electronic
musician during the transition to the twenty-first
century, describing these artists as: (1) informal, (2)
households-access-computer/. Retrieved on march 22,
Sonidos Telemáticos: Network Remote Performance for Compositional Paradigm Shifting in Peruvian Musical Learning Practice
recurseros, roughly translated as resourceful, and (3)
cachineros, trading and sometimes scavenging for
second hand goods (López, 2008). Contrary to the
position of the avant-garde musician of the global
north who takes a decision towards underground,
DIY, or Lo-Fi cultures, as an ethical declaration of
self-sufficiency, or even as a statement against
academic specialization; the Peruvian sound artist
engages in these practices as a result of a contextual
constrain and in a need to adapt to a continuous state
of social insecurity. Most, if not all, of theses artists
are self-educated in musical technology, but not
necessarily by decision. By the time I presented my
research in 2008, homemade analogic synthesizers,
old drum machines, guitar pedals, and consumer
based second hand cheap electronic keyboards, were
the tools of the trade for experimentation.
Figure 1: El Lazo Invisible, IONAXS, Eric Ravina, and
Paruro, performing at Paruro Street, 2012.
The absence of opportunities to select a personal
computer as the easy solution for musical
composition, affects the musical output being
produced. The level of complexity and variety of the
resulting musical products is determined not by a
knowledge or academic professional training but by
exposure to popular music products from an
international music industry. It is difficult to talk, at
this historical stage, of compositional techniques (in
the traditional academic sense) for electronic music in
Peru, as most of the work done by these underground
communities is based on live improvisation. This
being said, a morphological analysis of the musical
products of these communities is still needed.
While contemporary conditions have changed and
the rapid democratization of access to personal
computers have reached Peru, the lack of
implementation of academic discourses to
accompany the machines, prevents both the amateur
and the academically trained musician from engaging
into an informed musical practice that implements the
aesthetics and conceptual possibilities given by the
machine frameset and its alternative languages. Many
students of music in the country regard the multitrack
Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) as the only
software worthy of attention, and most papers and
undergraduate investigations by the students at the
university level, explore the notions of the home
studio or the complementary capabilities of
technology for the production of music by traditional
instrumentation and harmonic models in a traditional
studio setting.
Having exposed the general circumstances
surrounding the lack of implementation of academic
training related to computer music practices, and
therefore, laptop musical experimentation, an
essential question will always remained unanswered:
given the opportunity for educational training in
computer music issues, would the Peruvian musical
output have dramatically changed? If the country is
now capable of reproducing most foreign musical
styles and confront all the possibilities given by
contemporary musical hardware and software, I
believe a lack of connection with the original
environments for computer music training and
academic exploration has affected dramatically the
way these musical styles are perceived and, therefore,
the probability for novel or innovative practices in the
country. This work explores some of the attempts
being made to change this historical course.
2.2 Accepting the Machine
The Technology Acceptance Model - TAM
developed by Davis (Davis, 1989) attempted to offer
a rationalization of the elements present in computer
acceptance, including the main variables of (1)
Perceived Usefulness, and (2) Perceived Ease of Use.
Venkatesh Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of
Technology (UTAUT), would expand this notion to
the presence of performance expectancy, effort
expectancy, social influence, and facilitating
conditions (Venkatesh et al., 2003). A multitude of
alternative models have been presented in the
following years, and while most of them approach the
problem from a pragmatic perspective not always
applicable to artistic endeavours, what has become
clear is that a multiplicity of factors can disturb the
processes of acceptance (Evwiekpaefe et al., 2018).
In the Peruvian case we face here, the external factors
associated with a reluctance to approach technology
for music composition or interpretation, are not
directly related to the aspects presented in these and
other models, and composers and interpreters
CSME 2021 - 2nd International Special Session on Computer Supported Music Education
academically trained are used to complex learning
routines and detail work. Social and historical factors
have played a direct role in delaying the process of
acceptance for machines into musical learning. These
factors include: nationalism, ancestralism,
ideological conservativism, technophobia, and
traditional compartmentalization for the arts, among
others. An extensive set of considerations for this can
be found in my work (López, 2019, 2020). However
complex the set of challenges computer music has
encounter along Peruvian contemporary history, what
is important to mention here is that the musical arts
have been one of the artistic environments that has
posed a mayor hesitancy towards he implementation
of computers. This being said, this work presents a
segment of the dramatic changes taking place at the
Universidad Nacional de Música in Lima since 2017,
were the willingness and openness of the authorities
is turning the wheels toward a natural implementation
of experimental musical practices with computers.
If the history of laptops orchestras is old, the dream
of telematic network music presents a much older
history. By 1986 the world already counted with a
computer music network ensemble (The Hub), and by
1987 they have already presented the first telematic
performance. Later historical references and the
challenges and possibilities of network performance
have already been extensively mapped (Gresham-
Lancaster, 2013, Akkermann, 2016). Students and
professors in Peru lack of connection with an
international world of network performance and are,
for the most part, unaware of its existence and of the
pertinent academic discussions taking place. A level
of isolation and seclusion becomes evident, and most
possible participants lack the means to insert
themselves into the academic international network
that could support their personal development on
these issues or nurture the implementation of network
performative models. The difficulties of traveling or
paying registration fees at the rate of the economical
parameters of the global north excludes them of the
game right at the beginning. This has also been true
in the opposite direction, and we do not count with
foreign professors in computer music in our education
In the particular case of our laptop ensemble, the
need to develop a system for remote performance was
produces by the pandemic situation. Being the
ELUNM in its early stages and still in the process of
maturing as an ensemble, stopping the learning and
practice process was not an option. A need to
maintain the visibility of this recently formed
ensemble was also an issue to take under
consideration. Network performance became a tool to
secure the continuity of the ensemble and to allow for
a smooth transition from students finishing their
composition careers into a world that might not have
a designed circuit for computer performance or a
social system of support for such practices. This
option also allowed me to maintain the possibility of
including a new generation of members for the
ensemble, as the students finish the related regular
courses I teach at the UNM: Taller de Electroacústica
1 and Taller de Electroacústica 2. Telematic
performance was not only the result of a craving for
innovation, but a survival strategy.
The institution of the first Peruvian laptop ensemble:
Ensamble de Laptops de la Universidad Nacional de
Música ELUNM, in 2019, as part of the activities
of the Laboratorio de Música Electroacústica y Arte
Sonoro (part of the Vicerectorado de Investigación),
marked a departure from the conventional
understanding of musical practice by the educational
institutions in Perú. Its insertion as part of the training
for the composition students aimed (1) to broaden the
perception of a musical instrument at our school (and
the Peruvian context in general) by recognizing that a
computer ensemble could share the official
performance space with other traditional ensemble
models, and (2) to challenge professional boundaries
by allowing composition students to become
performers and programmers in their own right.
The first year of activities, and my earlier attempts
to include a computer into a musical ensemble at an
educational institution, together with a discussion
regarding its relevancy in Peruvian musical
education, have been previously reported (López
2020b), but giving the COVID pandemic will be
presented officially during 2021. By the beginning of
2020, as the ensemble was overcoming the initial
logistical difficulties for its insertion, but with the
complete institutional support of the UNM, a small
version of the ELUNM was able to perform for the
electroacoustic festival MUSLAB 2020 in Mexico
City, being this our first experience outside of the
Sonidos Telemáticos: Network Remote Performance for Compositional Paradigm Shifting in Peruvian Musical Learning Practice
Figure 2: Jorge Quispe, José Ignacio López, and Michael
Magán at MUSLAB 2020, Mexico City.
4.1 Basic Original Learning Model
Our first ensemble was part of a strategic plan
implemented by the Laboratorio de Música
Electroacústica y Arte Sonoro starting on 2017, and
in which four angles/areas of learning were taken
under consideration for all courses regarding musical
technology (López, 2020b):
Within this learning model the ensemble had a
strategic transversal role that involved, among other
things: (1) the encouraging of live performance with
a computer, (2) the incorporation of visual
programming languages for musical organization, (3)
the flexibilization of the concept of musical
instrument and the incorporation of the concept of
interface, and (4) the inclusion of the roles of
‘technician’ and ‘programmer’ to the rules of the
Under this integral model, the computer ceases to
be considered as a support mechanism for the
learning of something detached and perceive as the
real musical practice, making the human-computer
interaction the center of a creative process in which
music parameters and aesthetic outputs are redefined,
and learning objectives and mechanisms are
constantly modified, in an attempt to produce
computer music instead of music produced with the
aid of a computer. The idea of confronting an all-in-
one machine capable of serving as a composing,
sound producing, and instrumental performative tool,
forces a traditionally trained musical student to not
only enlarge its list of objects of study, but to engage
into a new way of confronting musical materials and
organizing musical data. This process also
undermines the traditional separation between
science and the arts, and away from an ICT
pedagogical perspective in which computers serve
musical learning exclusively for the virtual
representation of tonal music and traditional notation.
4.2 Computer as a Physical Instrument
If by the end of the 1980s, seminal texts like “The
Computer as a Musical Instrument” (Mathews and
Pierce, 1987) emphasised the value of digital
electronic equipment in the production and control of
new classes of sounds, the addition in 2018 of
Electronic Digital Instruments as a principal
instrument option by the Berklee College of Music
acknowledge the development of computers and
computer based musical interfaces into a fully
functional musical instrument.
At its initial stage the ELUNM sought to highlight
the physical presence of the computer as a multi-
functional performative alternative to traditional
instruments, and saw on public presentations a
promotional approach that could bring musical
students unaware of the possibilities of computer
music closer by making computer music performance
visible in spaces dedicated to other manifestations of
the academic musical arts.
4.3 Computers Back to the Virtual
As I have hinted before, the ELUNM, as well as other
musical practices of the country, was heavily
impacted by the COVID pandemic. With the
disappearance of the possibility of a live
performance, other measures to maintain the
ensemble working had to be implemented. In front of
the collapse of the traditional lifestyle of the
conventional professional musicians, the Internet
arose as a saviour of human relationships in front of
the necessary confinement. This was taken by the
ensemble as an opportunity to explore ways for
remote communication not restricted to webcam and
microphone interaction through web conferencing.
CSME 2021 - 2nd International Special Session on Computer Supported Music Education
The already built perception of musical activities as a
virtual enterprise facilitated the migration to the
online rehearsal practice.
Pure Data, the visual programming language by
Miller Puckette, is the main tool for teaching
electroacoustic music at the UNM, and also for the
composition and performance of musical pieces by
the members of the Laboratorio de sica
Electroacústica y Arte Sonoro and the ELUNM.
Given that, we decided to investigate the options for
the transmission of information between computers
remotely in order the continue practicing and
organizing future remote performances. Multiple
options are available in Pure Data for network
communication between computers, including the
Open Sound Control (OSC), Transmission Control
Protocol (TCP), User Datagram Protocol (UDP).
5.1 Sending and Receiving Musical
After some deliberation we decided for the [netsend]
and [netreceive] objects included in Pure Data for the
transmission of TCP stream messages or UDP
datagram messages. While sending information was
not a problem, receiving information was a more
problematic issue and opening the local ports was a
more intricate task to resolve. The need to reconfigure
the router for the incoming of data at any location
used for the main performing computer using the
[netreceive] object was partially responsible for our
next decision. Using an Internet free tunnelling
service for port forwarding to open the localhost and
allow incoming information into the main computer
using the [netreceive] object without having to
reconfigure the routers, and, in this case, allowing for
TCP transmission. In this way all possible members
of the ensemble could receive information regardless
of their router configuration, allowing for multiple
possible settings of the ensemble. This configuration
allowed as to avoid dealing directly with audio from
multiple sources and worry only about instructions to
be send to a central computer dedicated to audio
reproduction. Given the instability of Internet
services in Perú he transmission of data instead of
audio is the most secure option at the moment.
Figure 3: Forwarding setup on terminal.
5.2 Pure Data Patching for Interaction
For the purposes of exchanging information between
computers, a set of server/client patches was
developed mainly by the student Jorge Quispe: (1) a
server patch to receive information from the different
performers and (2) a client patch to be use by each
one of the members participating of the ensemble at
any given time.
Figure 4: Variation for three performers of Jorge Quispe’s
server patch.
Figure 5: first GUI interface variation of client server by
Brian Ki San Yep.
Sonidos Telemáticos: Network Remote Performance for Compositional Paradigm Shifting in Peruvian Musical Learning Practice
GUI interfaces to simplify performance were later
developed for the client patch by the students Bryan
Ki San and Saul Medina. Other students also started
to develop their own GUI interfaces in Pure Data to
control the messages according to their performative
needs and, in other cases, according to the
compositions they intended for the ensemble.
Figure 6: GUI interface variation of client server by Saul
5.3 Troubleshooting and Recurseando
The patch that was ultimately used for our first
rehearsals presented a programming problem to
resolve. As it allowed for the selection and
‘previewing’ of different folders by any of the
performers participating, but only one visual array per
instance/performer to be read at the time of selecting
a specific sample from the folder’s list visualized,
every time a sample was selected, loading the sound
into memory from disk caused Pd to have to wait for
disk access. In other words, trying to draw a new array
in the middle of a performance made Pd stall. Not
dealing with the programming aspects of the patch we
decided to take a shortcut and build one long sample
that included all audios being used for each piece.
This permitted us to read only one audio per
instance/performer at the beginning and use it for the
whole performance. We declare the initial points for
Figure 7: Patch built in 2017 for Arpa 1: Descomposiciones
y Automatismos.
each sample included in this long audio, and
reproduce them by accessing the specific positions in
the sample-player, maintaining, that way, only one
graphical array per performer on display. This idea
was based on a patch I developed in 2017 for the
metacomposition Arpa 1: Descomposiciones y
Automatismos used as a compositional tool for the
Taller de Electroacústica during that year.
5.4 Composing for a Network Remote
After resolving some of the initial technical problems,
we commenced the production of musical pieces
thought for remote performance. To simplify the
process we have started with a smaller than usual
version of the ensemble of 3 performers, being 5 the
usual. The elaboration of sound materials and the set
of instruction for performance implied new
challenges and conversations. During this stage we
are in the process of testing alternative notation
systems and simplified sets of instructions for the
repertoire being constructed for the ELUNM.
Figure 8: Example of notation for the ensemble. El Filo
Errante by José Ignacio López.
Figure 9: example of notation for the ensemble. Zoomlag
by Michael Magán.
CSME 2021 - 2nd International Special Session on Computer Supported Music Education
Confronting an educational environment requires and
acknowledgment of its peculiarities, strengths and
weaknesses. The implementation of computer music
practices might be seen as a natural addition to any
musical training setting, when local and regional
subaltern conditions are not taken under
consideration. An historical assessment of the
presence of technologically oriented musical
practices and training in Peru reveals a series of gaps
that we hope to be in the process of bridging. The
presence of the ELUNM and the intention to develop
alternative performative models and remote network
presentations sets itself as a teaching/learning process
in which the direct connection between musical
output and human-technology interaction become
evident. The way these practices might serve to
produce substantial changes to the central paradigms
of Peruvian musical education requires an historical
distance not yet obtained.
I wish to dedicate this work to the composition
students of the Universidad Nacional de Música for
embracing enthusiastically the new and courageously
confronting their own possible biases and previous
cultural training regarding music and technology.
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Sonidos Telemáticos: Network Remote Performance for Compositional Paradigm Shifting in Peruvian Musical Learning Practice