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 to confirm time/mode)
email: aschloss at uvic dot ca
NOTE: All emails pertaining to this class must have "MUS 307" in the title.
TA: Sam Kaiser
Office Hours: TBA and by appointment
email: samuelkaiser at uvic dot ca
Classes: MacLaurin A168, CreateLab (B002), and the Studios for Integrated Media
(SIM) in the Fine Arts Building
(default location: A168)
Tues 2:30-4:20 and Fri 2:30-3:20
Student Wellness resources - List of community, local and private resources, relating to mental health and wellness.
Counselling Services - Counselling Services can help you make the most of your university experience.They offer free professional, confidential, inclusive support to currently registered UVic students. A note to remind you to take care of yourself. Do your best to maintain a healthy lifestyle this semester by eating well, exercising, getting enough sleep and taking some time to relax. This will help you achieve your goals and cope with stress. All of us benefit from support during times of struggle. You are not alone.
Health Services - University Health Services (UHS) provides a full service primary health clinic for students, and coordinates healthy student and campus initiatives. We encourage students to use UHS as their primary point of health care while at UVic. We are located at the Petersen Health Centre.
Centre for Accessible Learning - The CAL staff are available by appointment to assess specific needs, provide referrals and arrange appropriate accommodations . The sooner you let us know your needs the quicker we can assist you in achieving your learning goals in this course.
Elders' Voices - The Office of Indigenous Academic and Community Engagement (IACE) has the privilege of assembling a group of Elders from local communities to guide students, staff, faculty and administration in Indigenous ways of knowing and being.
Text: Electronic Music and Sound Design - Theory and Practice with Max and Msp - Volume 1 (Fourth Edition, Upd. for Max 8 Edition), by Alessandro Cipriani and Maurizio Giri
There is also a less expensive Apple Books/iPad/iPhone version: Electronic Music and Sound Design Volume 1 (Fourth Edition, Upd. for Max 8 Edition)
Also required (free): SOFTWARE SUPPLEMENTS FOR BOOK (items to download): https://virtual-sound.com/electronic-music-and-sound-design-volume-1-support/
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
TIMELINE of Music Technology
Electronic Music 120 years
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, January 10 Introduction, goals, expectations. My goal: To offer you"perspective" and artistic control (which might not mean this week's hottest plugins).
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 Music vs Electronic Music 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!)
Introduction to Max/MSP/jitter -- what is it for, and how does it differ from a DAW? Why are there so many objects?
Max vs MSP vs jitter (asynchronous vs synchronous vs variable).
dBFS (0 dB is the loudest possible sound in a digital audio system) vs dB SPL (0 dB is the quietest possible sound in real life)
Some examples of things you can do in Max/MSP that you can't do in a DAW.
LISTENING: Paul Koonce: Walkabout
READING: Risset's foreward to Electroacoustic Music and (review of material from MUS 207): MAX/MSP digital audio tutorial
Week 2, Jan 17 A brief history of Musique concrete. Henry, Schaffer,
Music synthesis/analysis. CCRMA and IRCAM. Access to tools. Cahill, Theremin, Moog, Buchla, Mathews, Boulez, Cage, et alia.
LISTENING: Messiaen, Quartet for the End of Time, Oraison Pour Quartout D'Onde
Field recording of source materials for the musique concrete project
LISTENING: Schaeffer/Henry, Symphonie pour un homme seul; Beatles, Revolution 9
Lab 1 Electroacoustic presentations (continue for the entire semester). [Ongoing, beginning on Jan 17]
READING: ELECTRONIC MUSIC AND SOUND DESIGN: Up to Chapter 1T / section 1.3 (page 25)
Week 3 Jan 24 Digital recording/editing/mixing using DAWs like Pro Tools, Logic, Reaper, Audacity, and others. Why is Max/MSP not a DAW?
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 typically generates audio "on-the-fly."). Musical examples of analog vs. digital synthesis
LISTENING: Cage, Second Construction ("electronic aesthetic" but entirely acoustic music)
READING: ELECTRONIC MUSIC AND SOUND DESIGN: Up to Chapter 1P section 1 (page 50)
Week 4, Jan 31 How to decode Mid-side (M-S) recordings for Lab 2.
Introdction to the recording studio and the Buchla synthesizer, VCA, VCO, Ring modulation, how to record session directly to disk.
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 17]
READING: ELECTRONIC MUSIC AND SOUND DESIGN: Up to Chapter 1P/section 1.2 (page 70)
Week 5, Feb 7 Digital recording chain, Nyquest theory, Aliasing, Compositional Techniques
Interlude: aleatoric (Cage) vs stochastic (Xenakis) approaches to chance operations in music
READING: ELECTRONIC MUSIC AND SOUND DESIGN: Up to Chapter 1P/section 1.4 (page 98)
Week 6, Feb 14 Max/MSP: difference between subpatches and abstractions, difference between random and drunk
The MIDI protocol, binary and hexadecimal number number systems, polyphonic vs polytimbral.
READING: ELECTRONIC MUSIC AND SOUND DESIGN: Up to Chapter 1P/section 1.6 (page 110)
Musique Concrete Rostrum
Week 7, Feb 21 READING BREAK
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 obvious and subtle.
Week 8, Feb 28 Additive Synthesis, more MSP demos. Order of operations in Max.
Overview of synthesis Techniques: Fixed-waveform synthesis, additive, subtractive, non-linear (FM), waveshaping, granular, concatenative, Physical Modeling.
Lab 3 Buchla synthesizer [Due: March 10]
READING: ELECTRONIC MUSIC AND SOUND DESIGN: Up to Interlude A (page 141)
Week 9, March 7 Synthesis, cont'd: Comparison of FM and AM (Ring modulation) FM synthesis on the Buchla
AM: cos(a)cos(b) = 1/2 [cos(a-b) + cos(a+b)] -- there is no intrinsic mathematical difference between modulaton and sidebands
ELECTRONIC MUSIC AND SOUND DESIGN: Up to Interlude 1A7 (page 176)
Week 10, March 14 Lab 4 FM synthesis, Fourier Analysis, 3D spectra [Due March 24]
READING: Chowning's FM article, ELECTRONIC MUSIC AND SOUND DESIGN: Up to Chapter 2T (page 208)
Week 11, March 21 More Max, reading from/writing to tables
MIDTERM: Composers covered 2023, Risset's foreward to Electroacoustic Music, Stockhausen's Lecture, MAX/MSP digital audio tutorial,
ELECTRONIC MUSIC AND SOUND DESIGN: Up to Chapter 2T section 2.3 (page 256) and associated Max patches in these folders:
Max Patches Vol 1/Chapter 1 Chapter 01 Patches (there are 18 of them), and Max Patches Vol 1/Interlude A Patches folder (patches 1-5)
Also look at: A Brief Timeline of Electronic Music since 1900
Week 12, March 28 Examples: turning EEG data into sound and image using the coll data structure, piano roll notation, score
READING: ELECTRONIC MUSIC AND SOUND DESIGN: Up to Section 2.4 (page 316)
Using tables to produce gaussian or specified-shape random generators
Basic MIDI patch, Stuck notes example
Week 13, April 4 Demos, Max/MSP continued, using OSC (Open Sound Control) with arbitrary devices (compared with the MIDI protocol).
Lab 5 Algorithmic control of FM synthesis using Max/MSP. [Due April 10]
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 19 -- FINAL DUE DATE FOR ALL WORK]
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 Weds, April 19 by midnight
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!