Distributed Music Group

“Composing’s one thing, performing’s another, listening’s a third. What can they have to do with each other?” —John Cage

The Distributed Music Group develops enabling technologies and musical works which create new connections among composers, performers, listeners, students, and educators. Through computer vision and mobile devices, we facilitate mass-audience participation in live concert performances. Through real-time music notation systems, we connect the creative activities of those audiences to performing musicians. Through networked music environments, we extend the excitement of such collaborations beyond the concert hall. And through education and outreach projects, we transform the ways in which creativity, collaboration, and computation are learned.


Research Projects


  • In LOLC, the musicians in the laptop orchestra use a textual performance interface, developed specifically for this piece, to create and share rhythmic motives based on a collection of recorded sounds

  • UrbanRemix is a collaborative and locative sound project consisting of a mobile phone system and web interface for recording, browsing, and mixing audio.

  • A toolset, curriculum, and social network for collaborative, computational hip-hop remixing designed to engage high-school students in basic computer science.


  • A client-server system for mass audience participation in live performances using smartphones.


  • Flou (pronounced “flew”) is not exactly a game; you do fly a ship through space, but you cannot shoot anything, score points, or win or lose. The focus, rather, is on the soundtrack: as you navigate through a 3D world and zoom through objects in space, you add loops and apply effects to an ever-evolving musical mix. You can also design your own worlds to fly through and share them with other Flou users.

  • Inspired by the tradition of open-form musical scores, these four piano etudes are a collection of short musical fragments with links to connect them. In performance, the pianist must use those links to jump from fragment to fragment, creating her own unique version of the composition.

  • Nular represents sound objects as balls in an attempt to control granular synthesis parameters through user interaction. These virtual objects move and collide with each other to determine the behavior of playing sounds.



  • In Flock, a full-evening performance work commissioned by the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, music notation, electronic sound, and video animation are all generated in real time based on the locations of musicians, dancers, and audience members as they move and interact with each other.

Current Students



  • Weitzner, N., Freeman, J., Chen, Y., and Garrett, S. (2013). “massMobile: Towards a Flexible Framework for Large-Scale Participatory Collaborations in Live Performances,” in Organised Sound, Cambridge University Press, 18:1 (in press).

  • Magerko, B., Freeman, J., McKlin, T., McCoid, S., Jenkins, T., and Livingston, E. (2013). “Tackling Engagement in Computing with Computational Music Remixing,” in Proceedings of the ACM SIGCSE Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, Denver, Colorado (in press).


  • Subramanian, S., Freeman, J., and McCoid, S. (2012). “LOLbot: Machine Musicianship in Laptop Ensembles,” in Proceedings of the New Interfaces for Musical Expression Conference (NIME 2012), Ann Arbor, Michigan.

  • Weitzner, N., Freeman, J., Garrett, S., and Chen, Y. (2012). “massMobile – an Audience Participation Framework,” in Proceedings of the New Interfaces for Musical Expression Conference (NIME 2012), Ann Arbor, Michigan.


  • Freeman, J. (2011). “Listening, Movement, Creativity, and Technology” in S. Mass and K. Wurth (eds.), Liminal Auralities. New York, New York: Fordham University Press (in press).

  • Freeman, J. (2011). “Artist Statement: Bringing Instrumental Musicians Into Interactive Music Systems Through Notation” in Leonardo Music Journal, MIT Press, 21.

  • Freeman, J., DiSalvo, C., Nitsche, M., and Garrett, S. (2011). “Soundscape Composition and Field Recording as a Platform for Collaborative Creativity” in Organised Sound, Cambridge University Press, 16:3.

  • Freeman, J. and Van Troyer, A. (2011). “Collaborative Textual Improvisation in a Laptop Ensemble” in Computer Music Journal, MIT Press, 35:2, pp. 8-21.

  • Lee, S., Freeman, J., Colella, A., Yao, S., and Van Troyer, A. (2011). “Collaborative Improvisation in a Laptop Ensemble with LOLC” in Proceedings of the 8th ACM Creativity and Cognition Conference (CC 2011), Atlanta, Georgia.

  • Freeman, J., Lee, S., Yao, S., and Albin, A. (2011). “LOLC for Laptop Music Ensemble (artist statement)” in Proceedings of the 8th ACM Creativity and Cognition Conference (CC 2011), Atlanta, Georgia.

  • DiSalvo, C., Freeman, J., and Nitsche, M. (2011). “Participatory art as inner city workshop: The UrbanRemix sound project” in Proceedings of the Inter-Society for the Electronic Arts (ISEA 2011), Istanbul, Turkey.


  • Freeman, J. (2010). “Web-based Collaboration, Live Musical Performance and Open-Form Scores” in International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media, Intellect, 6:2, pp. 149-170.

  • Freeman, J. (2010). “Reading a Poem” in K2010. Vienna, Austria: Universal Edition. Universal Edition.

  • Freeman, J. and Colella, A. (2010). “Tools for Real-Time Notation” in Contemporary Music Review, Routledge, 29:1, pp. 101-113.

  • J. Freeman. "DIY Scores" Symphony: The Magazine of the League of American Orchestras, September/October 2010.

  • J. Freeman. "Compose Your Own" The New York Times Online, April 23, 2010.

  • J. Freeman. "Compose Your Own, Part 2" The New York Times Online, May 24, 2010.


  • Freeman, J. (2009). “Storage in Collaborative Networked Art” in H. Thorington, J. Green, and E. Navas (eds.), networked: a (networked_book) about (networked_art). Available at http://freeman.networkedbook.org/.  5 out of 35 (~14%) proposals were published from the initial open call for this online book supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.


  • Sarre, C. (2011, May 27). “Am New Yorker Times Square entstanden im Projekt ‘Urban Remix’ hunderte Geräuschinstallationen als lebendes Audio-Archiv dieses Ortes” on Ö1 / ORF Austrian Radio.

  • Sarre, C. (2011, May 18). “Times Square Medley – neu gemischt” on DRadio Wissen German Radio.

  • Lewis, S. (2011, May 12). “Artists Mix Times Square Street Sounds into Music” on WNYC (New York, New York public radio).

  • Kirn, P. (2011, April 26). “Remixing Times Square, with Mobile Field Recordings” on Create Digital Music.

  • Ross, A. (2011, April 19). “Miscellany: Philly crisis, etc.” on The Rest Is Noise. Alex Ross is the classical music critic for the New Yorker.

  • Hughes, T. (2011, March 27). “Mobile Audience Participation with Jonah Bokaer and the Ferst Center” on Technology In The Arts.

  • Kirn, P. (2011, March 21). “What Makes a Truly New Instrument? Human Gestures Power Winners of Guthman Competition” on Create Digital Music.

  • ABC Radio National in Australia broadcast a half-hour segment on my Piano Etudes (2010, August 7) on The Music Show.

  • Performance Today, NPR, complete broadcast performance of Piano Etudes (2010, January 15).

  • Atlanta Business Chronicle. GaTech Center for Music Technology starts. Nov 7, 2008 

  • Market Watch, Georgia Tech Launches Center for Music Technology. Nov 7 2008