Introduction to Computer Music
Dr. W. Andrew Schloss
Office: MacLaurin A177
Local: x7931 Office Hours: Weds 4:30-5:30 pm or by appointment
email: aschloss at uvic dot ca
NOTE: All emails pertaining to this class must have "MUS 307" in the title.
TA: Jeffrey Bruton
Office Hours: TBA and by appointment
Classes: MacLaurin A168, B002, and the Studios for Integrated Media (SIM)
(default location: A168)
Tues 2:30-4:20 and Fri 2:30-3:20
Electronic Music and Sound Design - Theory and Practice with Max and Msp - Volume 1 (Second Edition, Upd. for Max 8 Edition), by Alessandro Cipriani and Maurizio Giri
There is also a much less expensive iBook/iPad/iPhone version: Electronic Music and Sound Design Volume 1 (Second Edition, Upd. for Max 8 Edition)
(If you have an older edition of the book, written for Max 6 or 7, you can download the addenda)
1. Jean-Claude Risset, foreward to Electroacoustic Music: Analytical Perspectives, Thomas Licata, editor
2a. K. Stockhausen, Four Criteria of Electronic Music, from Stockhausen on Music: Lectures and Interviews
2b. alternative: LIVE version of Stockhausen lecture (video)
3. John Chowning, The Synthesis of Complex Audio Spectra by Means of Frequency Modulation, Computer Music Journal 1977
4. Gareth Loy, Musicians Make a Standard: The MIDI Phenomenon, Computer Music Journal 1985
Supplementary texts availabe in the library:
Electric Sound by Joel Chadabe
Foundations of Computer Music edited by Curtis Roads and John Strawn
The Music Machine edited by Curtis Roads
Twentieth Century Music by H.H. Stuckenschmidt
Computer Music by Charles Dodge and Thomas Jerse
The Rest is Noise by Alex Ross
A Tutorial on Digital Sound Synthesis Techniques by Giovanni De Poli
The Dysfunctions of MIDI Computer Music Journal 12(1): 19-28. 1988 by F. R. Moore
Communicating with Meaningless Numbers Computer Music Journal 15(4): 74-77 by David Zicarelli
TO RESERVE THE STUDIO: https://finearts.uvic.ca/music/createlab/spaces/
Online Max tutorial via Kadenze:
Matt Wright's Max/MSP tutorial
Schedule (please note that these entries are subject to slight variations):
Week 1 Introduction, goals, expectations. My goal: To offer you"perspective" and artistic control (which might not mean this week's hottest plugins).
January 7 Brief review of acoustics, signals, sampling. A very brief history of the Twentieth Century
Technology vs. aesthetics in computer music and contemporary music in general
Computer vs Electronic vs Electroacoustic Music—the distinctions have as much to do with aesthetics as with technology/tools used
Art and Technology: as old as the human race (well, not quite, but close!)
Music synthesis/analysis. CCRMA and IRCAM. Access to tools. Cahill, Theremin, Moog, Buchla, Mathews, Boulez, Cage, et alia.
Introduction to the studio. LISTENING: Paul Koonce: Walkabout
READING: Risset's foreward to Electroacoustic Music and (optional): MAX/MSP digital audio tutorial
Week 2 A brief history of Musique concrete. Henry, Schaffer,
Jan 14 Introduction to Max/MSP/jitter — what is it for, and how does it differ from a DAW? Why are there so many objects?
MIDI protocol, binary and hexadecimal number number systems, polyphonic vs polytimbral.
Max vs MSP vs jutter (sychronous vs asynchronous vs variable). <option> click for live help in Max
LISTENING: Messiaen, Quartet for the End of Time, Oraison Pour Quartout D'Onde
Non-destructive editing, EDL, what does real-time really mean? Working out of real-time: Toy Story took months of compute time to render on dozens of computers. What about working faster than real-time? The"psychic" editor does not exist: the futility of processing speed in the context of normalization, for example.
Working from "left-to-right" is different from having the whole sound file on your disk before you start (as you would in a DAW as opposed to Max/MSP, which generates audio "on-the-fly."). Musical examples of analog vs. digital synthesis
LISTENING: Cage, Second Construction ("electronic aesthetic" but entirely acoustic music)
Interlude: aleatoric (Cage) vs stochastic (Xenakis) approaches to chance operations in music
Lab 1 Electroacoustic presentations (continue for next several classes). [Ongoing, beginning on Jan 14]
READING: ELECTRONIC MUSIC AND SOUND DESIGN: Up to Chapter 1T / section 1.3 (page 25)
Week 3 Multitrack digital recording/editing using Pro Tools, Audacity, and other audio editors.
Jan 21 Field recording of source materials for the musique concrete project
LISTENING: Schaeffer/Henry, Symphonie pour un homme seul; Beatles, Revolution 9
READING: ELECTRONIC MUSIC AND SOUND DESIGN: Up to Chapter 1P section 1 (page 50)
Week 4 Analog synthesis, the Buchla synthesizer, VCA, VCO, Ring modulation, how to record session directly to disk.
Jan 28 Bipolar vs unipolar waveforms; band-limited (or anti-aliased) vs non-band-limited generators.
Composition/aesthetics: Too many ideas vs. not enough ideas...
Lab 2 Musique Concrete using digital techniques [Due: Feb 14].
READING: ELECTRONIC MUSIC AND SOUND DESIGN: Up to Chapter 1P/section 1.2 (page 70)
Week 5 Digital recording chain, dBFS vs dB SPL (mistake in book) Nyquest theory, Aliasing, Compositional Techniques
Feb 4 READING: ELECTRONIC MUSIC AND SOUND DESIGN: Up to Chapter 1P/section 1.4 (page 98)
Week 6 Max/MSP: difference between subpatches and abstractions, difference between random and drunk
Feb 11 READING: ELECTRONIC MUSIC AND SOUND DESIGN: Up to Chapter 1P/section 1.6 (page 110)
Musique Concrete Rostrum
Week 7 READING BREAK
Feb 18 READING: Stockhausen's lecture on electronic music techniques
One can say that MIDI is "isomorphic" to standard musical notation, which in turn is isomorphic to actual music. This is partially true; the problem is that music notation is not music. The reasons are both subtle and obvious.
Week 8 Additive Synthesis, more MSP demos. Order of operations in Max. AM: cos(a)cos(b) = 1/2 [cos(a-b) + cos(a+b)]
Feb 25 Overview of synthesis Techniques: Fixed-waveform synthesis, additive, subtractive, non-linear (FM), waveshaping, granular, concatenative, Physical Modeling.
Lab 3 Buchla synthesizer [Due: March 6]
READING: ELECTRONIC MUSIC AND SOUND DESIGN: Up to Interlude A (page 141)
Week 9 Synthesis, cont'd: Comparison of FM and AM (Ring modulation)
March 3 ELECTRONIC MUSIC AND SOUND DESIGN: Up to Interlude 1A7 (page 176)
Week 10 Lab 4 FM synthesis, Fourier Analysis, 3D spectra [Due March 27] (For comparison: FM synthesis on the Buchla)
March 10 READING: Chowning's FM article, ELECTRONIC MUSIC AND SOUND DESIGN: Up to Chapter 2T (page 208)
Week 11 COVID-19: CLASSES CANCELLED THROUGH END OF TERM / ONLINE ONLY!
More Max, reading from/writing to tables, creating your own sequencer using the seq or detonate and multi objects
March 17 READING: ELECTRONIC MUSIC AND SOUND DESIGN: Up to Chapter 2T / section 2.3 (page 256)
Using tables to produce gaussian or specified-shape random generators
Week 12 Examples: turning EEG data into sound and image using the coll data structure, piano roll notation, score
March 24 MIDTERM: CANCELLED DUE TO PANDEMIC 1950-1980 Composers, TIMELINE of Music Technology, Basic MIDI patch, Stuck notes example
READING: ELECTRONIC MUSIC AND SOUND DESIGN: Up to Section 2.4 (page 303)
Demos, Max/MSP continued, using OSC (Open Sound Control) with arbitrary devices (compared with the MIDI protocol), Aalto and Kaivo synthesizers
March 31 Lab 5 Algorithmic control of FM synthesis using Max/MSP. [Due April 7]
Computer Music performance videos (The Space Between Us, Suite from the Seven Wonders, UNI, etc)
Time-based public art projects using Max/MSP
Final Projects [Due: April 21]
OTHER INTERESTING MUSIC/AUDIO PROGRAMMING ENVIRONMENTS (open source, FREE!):
Listening examples (in addition to class presentations regarding Lab 1):
Paul Koonce: Walkabout
Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry: Symphonie pour un homme seul
Cage: Second Construction
Messaiaen: Oraison Pour Quartout D'Ondes and Louange a l'Eternite de Jesus
Sound design for Forbidden Planet
Wendy Carlos on tuning systems
Final project due Friday, April 21 by 5 pm
Note: for all lab assignments, you must HAND IN A BRIEF WRITEUP DESCRIBING YOUR WORK
(Musical materials, tracks, problems (if any), strategy, etc.)
You won't get a grade if there is no writeup!