Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Electrical & Electronic Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Joe Connell, Cork Institute of Technology

Second Advisor

Dr. Susan O'Regan, Cork Institute of Technology

Third Advisor

Prof. Dr. Kyrill Fischer, Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences

CIT Disciplines

2.2 ELECTRICAL, ELECTRONIC, INFORMATION ENGINEERING; Electrical and electronic engineering; Musicology


This thesis presents a new systematic method to measure the ability of western musicians to cope with latency. The core of the method is a listening test and the development of a measure. The viability of the method is statistically tested with an empirical observation of 31 test subjects performing on 17 different musical instruments.

The primary goal of the investigation is the development of a systematic, reliable and replicable method that can be applied to different western music instruments, in order to provide data for analysis on latency issues while performing music in non-collaborative performances. In addition, a measure of the latency range tolerance for different musical instruments groups is defined and developed on the basis of the data gathered.

The experimental application of the method developed provides empirical results showing that different musical instruments produce different results with regard to latency. This indicates that, in terms of latency, the type of musical instrument plays a decisive role with respect to the ability to perform music. Furthermore, evidence of the dissimilarities in the ability to cope with latency could be observed and classified according to musical tempo and the four musical instrument groups of aerophones, chordophones, idiophones and membranophones.

This investigation is a further contribution to the understanding of the relationship between musician, musical instrument and musical performance.


Volume II of this thesis, which contains the appendices, can be found in the attached additional files at the bottom of the page.

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