Netronomia by Ethan Cayko

Performance videos and composer’s documentation:

Digital Score GitHub repository:

Full dataset:

About Netronomia

Netronomia uses the Netronome, a networked metronome developed at UCSB by Ethan Cayko, to create a multi-city rhythmic work. It addresses the challenge of synchronising performers across different locations with varying latencies, making rhythmic accuracy difficult without adjustment. The Netronome facilitates calibration of timing relationships, enabling musicians to play together despite being physically apart. The Netronome introduces rhythmic offsets due to latency, resulting in performers experiencing different rhythmic versions of the same music. The Netronome challenges traditional notions of musical scores by materially structuring the temporal space between performers. Unlike traditional scores, it not only provides instructions for sound production but also regulates temporal relationships among performers. This feature could empower composers to craft desired rhythmic units and give musicians control over their performances, mitigating the impact of network latency on intentionality.


The primary objective was to employ the newly developed Netronome to compose a multi-city rhythmic work. This involved addressing challenges related to synchronizing performers across different locations with varying latencies. Another objective was to further develop the toporhythm technique, which involves introducing rhythmic offsets due to latency. This technique aims to create a unique musical experience where performers in different locations hear different manifestations of the same music. The integration of digital technologies like the Netronome into the music work was intended to transform musical creativity. A key objective was to foster inclusivity in network music performance by addressing the complexities of latency. This involved enabling musicians from diverse cultural backgrounds and musical traditions to collaborate within a common temporal framework, thereby broadening participation in networked music-making engagements.


The process involved research on network music, focusing on latency acceptance, groove-based music, and rhythmic topologies in order to understand the technical aspect of these materials. The making of the visual score involved incorporation of Euclidean rhythms, pitch sets, and articulation marks for different instruments (guqin, cello, bass). Technological setup involved configuring network connections and addressing latency issues between musicians located in Vermont, California and Beijing. This involved adjusting tempo and delay compensation in software patches to compensate for network latency. The musicians collaborated remotely, rehearsing and performing Netronomia using personal equipment and internet connections with tech teams assistance at each location. Challenges such as high internet costs, setting up home studios for musical practice, and the absence of traditional performance settings were noted and compared with traditional ensemble settings. Throughout the process, there was a focus on iterative development and improvement of the score, technological setup, and rehearsal methods. Ideas for future improvements include adding interactive elements to the score, enhancing notation systems for different instruments, and refining the technological setup for better performance.

Critical Insights from the Analysis


Visual Score:

• Performers made a connection with the visual score which helped them to understand rhythmic relationships and enabled joint action within a shared pulse

• By providing a visual representation of rhythmic patterns and interplay between performers, visual score enhanced communication and coordination during collaborative performances in different locations

• All the performers appreciated the visualised digital score which helped with the interconnectedness between them and their contributions to the overall work

• For the composer, visualising the relationship between multiple nodes over time, akin to unfolding the faces of a 3D object, provides insights into the dynamic nature of networked music

Sound Feedback:

• Despite the physical distance between musicians, there was a strong sense of presence and connection facilitated by the auditory feedback. Musicians felt as if they were in the same room, reacting to each other’s sounds and adjusting their performance accordingly

• In the absence of visual cues like in a chamber ensemble, musicians heavily relied on sound for communication and coordination

• Through focused listening and heightened awareness of sound, they were able to immerse themselves in the musical experience and connect with their collaborators

• Musicians were able to connect and communicate through sound despite differences in language and musical background

Exploration of Toporhythmic music:

• The concept of toporhythm highlights the variability in how performers across different locations experience the same piece of music due to latency-induced variations

• Performers embraced the variability of each other’s rhythmic structures as it did not disturb their own parts (no latency felt) which contributed to appreciation of networked music

Dynamic Adjustment of Latency Relationships:

• Implementing a feature to include rhythmic topology settings that automatically adjust or rotate when switching player views enhanced user experience in Netronomia

• This functionality streamlined the process of managing latency relationships between nodes, improving synchronisation and overall performance quality

Impact of Technical Adjustments on Latency:

• Technical adjustments, such as modifying audio buffer sizes, significantly influenced latency in Netronomia

• Fine-tuning these settings led to more precise synchronisation between performers, ultimately enhancing the quality and coherence of the collaborative performance


• The complexity of rhythmic patterns necessitated a warm-up period for performers to acclimate to the intricacies of the music

• Initial rehearsals were characterised by a process of settling into the music, gradually achieving a sense of musical interaction and entrainment

• The composition was divided into three distinct sections, each with its own unique rhythmic patterns and characteristics

• These sections provide a clear journey for performers and listeners, resembling an introduction, climax, and resolution

• The performance relies on intricate interlocking rhythms, wherein performers’ parts inform and complement each other

• Listening to and interacting with other performers is essential for maintaining synchronisation and achieving a cohesive musical flow

• Despite physical separation, performers experience a flow state akin to playing “in the pocket” with musicians in the same room

• The circular notation format, coupled with rhythmic entrainment, fostered a sense of security and continuity, enhancing the flow experience

• While the piece presented challenges, such as the complexity of rhythms and coordination among performers, a sense of flow was attainable through rehearsals and remaining attuned to each other’s contributions

Digital Musicianship

• The platform allows musicians to choose their preferred way of viewing the musical phrases and pitch sets through a dropdown menu. This flexibility enables users to tailor the interface to their individual preferences and workflow, enhancing their overall experience with the tool.

• The process of developing the platform involved a significant learning curve for Ethan Cayko, particularly in terms of programming and visualisation techniques. He invested time in learning JavaScript and programming to construct the piece, indicating a willingness to adapt and acquire new skills to achieve his artistic goals.

• Desire for Groove and Pulse: The underlying motivation for creating the platform was to bring groove and pulse into networked music. This emphasis on rhythm underscores the importance of temporal coordination and synchronisation in collaborative musical performances conducted over a network.

• Expanded Listening Abilities: Musicians in the project reported an expansion of their listening abilities, enabling them to focus on sonic outcomes with greater detail and precision.

• Exploration and Experimentation: The project encourages experimentation with notation systems, articulations, and pitch representations, fostering creative exploration and innovation in musical expression. Participants express a desire to continue refining and evolving the platform to further enhance its usability and effectiveness.

• Transferable Skills: Engagement with the platform cultivates skills that extend beyond musical performance, including proficiency in programming languages like JavaScript and communication abilities relevant to software development projects. These transferable skills contribute to participants’ personal and professional growth.

• Reflection and Future Directions: As musicians reflected on their experiences with the project, they identified areas for improvement and potential avenues for future exploration.


• The platform’s international nature invites musicians from diverse backgrounds to collaborate within a common temporal framework. This inclusivity facilitates cross-cultural exchange and collaboration, enriching the musical experience for participants.

• Engaging in the development of the platform led to transformative experiences for participants, such as acquiring new programming skills and gaining confidence in using unfamiliar technologies.

• Participants expressed relief and satisfaction in the platform’s ability to facilitate successful collaborative performances despite the challenges posed by network latency and technical complexities. This highlights the platform’s effectiveness in overcoming barriers to musical collaboration.

• Despite being a novel and technologically advanced approach to music-making, the platform remains accessible and approachable to musicians of diverse backgrounds. This inclusivity is essential for fostering engagement and participation in collaborative musical projects.

• The platform’s emphasis on accessibility extends to the choice of instruments, aiming to accommodate musicians worldwide. This facilitates cultural exchange and exploration for diverse musical traditions to converge.

• The platform challenges traditional notions of musical scores by introducing new functionalities that structure temporal space and facilitate rhythmic coordination among performers. This innovative approach expands the possibilities for musical expression and collaboration.

• Participants reflected on their experiences with the platform, expressing a desire to continue exploring its potential and incorporating digital scores into future projects. This ongoing process of growth and reflection underscores the platform’s significance in shaping artistic practices and creative trajectories.

• Leveraging digital technology, the platform offers a highly accessible and user-friendly interface for performers, requiring minimal technical expertise to navigate and participate in collaborative performances, fostering inclusivity and innovation in the creative process.

• Despite the inherent complexities of networked music-making, the platform simplifies the process for performers, allowing them to focus on the sonic outcome rather than technical intricacies. This simplicity enhances the overall experience of collaborative music-making, making it more intuitive and enjoyable for participants.


Netronomia utilises the Netronome, a networked metronome developed at UCSB by Ethan Cayko, to compose a multi-city transcontinental rhythmic work. Its main goal is to synchronise performers across different locations with varying latencies. The Netronome enables timing calibration, allowing musicians to play together despite physical separation. It introduces rhythmic offsets due to latency, challenging traditional musical score concepts. The project involved thorough research on network music and addressing latency issues through technological setup. Rehearsals and performances were conducted remotely, focusing on continuous improvement. Netronomia enhances connectivity through visual scores, sound feedback, and exploration of toporhythmic music. These aspects facilitated communication, coordination, and appreciation of networked music among performers. Dynamic latency adjustment and technical tweaks significantly impacted performance quality and synchronisation. Flow in music creation was emphasised, allowing performers to achieve musical interaction despite physical separation. The platform promotes digital musicianship by offering customisable viewing options and encouraging exploration and experimentation. Transformations include facilitating cross-cultural collaboration, improving participants’ skills, and challenging traditional musical score concepts. The platform’s accessibility and user-friendly interface make collaborative music-making intuitive for performers of diverse backgrounds. Overall, the Netronome offers a practical approach to collaborative music creation, leveraging digital technologies to overcome geographical barriers and enhance artistic expression.