To start, each participant selects a particular piece of music from a list of available pieces. These are short musical passages composed of up to five distinct parts (bass, lead, drums, synth, and strings). The piece that the participant selects represents him/her in the environment. The participant then moves through various musical spaces in the environment at will.
Virtual Music Rooms
Each shared music environment contains three rooms. Each room is associated with a separate musical stream that is determined by the avatars currently within that room. Each avatar is �tagged� with music they have chosen from a list of musical pieces, available outside the entrance to the three rooms. When an avatar enters or leaves a room, the music playing in that room is recalculated to produce musical variations that take into account the change in musical inputs. These variations combine and rework parts from the songs identified with those avatars present in that room.
In short, whenever a participant enters any shared space a new piece incorporating their music is generated. When the participant leaves this space the music alters once again.
Based on the fashion and music parallel we proposed above, we anticipate that participants will seek out spaces which appeal to their musical tastes, and they will congregate with those participants who have complimentary music tastes.
Music Analysis and Remixing
Each musical variation embodies harmonic and rhythmic manipulations that impose musical coherence on each combination of parts drawn from the songs worn by avatars within a particular room. These manipulations introduce variety into the note structure within each part, and the contrapuntal structure across parts, in order to make each remix unique.
A music software environment facilitates the automatic, near-real-time analysis, creation and mixing of music within each space. The software manipulates notes within and amongst music pieces, allowing disparate musical elements to be transformed and combined into coherent new pieces. Various algorithms including a fractal compression scheme are used to map harmonic and rhythmic structure. Genetic algorithms are used to optimize musical well-formedness. The compute engine makes musically-intelligent adjustments to blend and combine strands of music from disparate musical sources. Musical qualities of source pieces are often still audible, even in new permutations. The software has algorithms to introduce and foster variations from existing and combined material.
As new pieces are created automatically, they will be added to the list of pieces available to each participant. Thus musical characteristics and styles will evolve as newly-generated pieces are "fed back" into the environment. In this manner numerous generations of musical permutations of will be created.
The environment could be seeded with a specific music style or characteristic; this element could be tracked to explore evolution of the given style. The hope is that distinct and original musical styles will evolve through collaborative musical creation.