Interactive Sonic Arts

DATT/MUSI 4071 |  DIGM/MUSI 5071 – Interactive Sonic Arts 

DIGM/MUSI 6071 – Advanced Interactive Sonic Arts

4071 Syllabus

5071/6071 Syllabus

Weeks 1-3: Sound Fundamentals: material, computation, composition, perception

week 1: Introduction, Orientation, Electroacoustic/Experimental/Computer Music Lineages, Complex Max patch experiment


Max Patch(es) – Week 1

Assignment #1

Week 2: Etude #1 improvisations, group play: noise/tone matching, sinusoids and “pure sound”

Max Patches – Week 2

Assignment #2

listening inspirations/selections:

Matthews/Miller – Bicycle Built for Two

Karlheinz Stockhausen – Studie II

John Chowning – Stria

Paul Lansky – Mild und Leise

Eliane Radigue – Adnos I

Eleh – Homage to the Sine Wave

Ruth Anderson – Points

Supplementary Readings:

Computer Music Journal Special Issue: The Reconstruction of Stria

Stockhausen – Electronic and Instrumental Music

Week 3: Etude #2 listenings: sine waves/additive/FM/AM, covering Max basics

Assignment #3

Max Patches – Week 3

4071 Reading:

Cage – Silence, The Future of Music: Credo

Supplementary/Additional readings for 5071+6071:

Russolo – The Art of Noises (chapter one: futurist manifesto)

Cascone – The Aesthetics of Failure

Van Nort – Noise/Music and Representation Systems

listening inspirations/selections:

James Tenney – Analog #1 (Noise Study)

Charles Dodge – Earth’s Magnetic Field

Pauline Oliveros – No Mo

Kim Cascone – Gravity Handler

Prurient – Frozen Niagara falls (portion two)

Pharmakon – Self-Regulating System

Merzbow – Woodpecker No. 1

Week 4: Noise pieces, Pure Data vs. Max/MSP, Jacktrip+EAO Discussion

Assignment #4

4071 Reading:

Hunt et al – The Importance of Parameter Mapping in Electronic Instrument Design

Supplementary/Additional readings for 5071+6071:

Wessel and Wright – Problems and Prospects for Intimate Musical Control of Computers

Joel Ryan – Some Remarks on Musical Instrument Design at STEIM

Curtis Roads – The Perception of Microsound and its Musical Implications

viewing inspirations/selections:

Clara Rockmore – The Swan

Michel Waiswisz – performing w/ The Hands

Laetitia Sonami – performing w/ Lady’s Glove 

David Wessel – discussion/performing w/ Slabs

Week 5-6: Audio Protocols, Mapping Examples, Project discussions

Supplementary Readings:

Hunt/Wanderley – Mapping performance parameters to synthesis engines

Van Nort et al – Mapping control structures for sound synthesis: functional and topological perspectives

Chadabe – Electric Sound: The Past and Promise of Electronic Music, Chapter 4 (out of the studio) 

Chadabe – Electric Sound: The Past and Promise of Electronic Music, Chapter 5 (computer music)


Chapters 1-7 of Chadabe book!

Week 7-8: Instrument developments, solo playing, group overlapping solo/duo playing,  feature extraction+envelopes and the “gesturality” of signal conditioning/mapping

Due Week 8 (worth 5% of grade): 1 page (500 words) final project proposal. Please contextualize your project relative to the diagram (composition, performance, etc.) that was discussed in week 7 (also from the week 1 slides), and cite at least four new references. these should come from the course bibliography. Also please be ready to improvise with your system in a group setting this coming week.

Max patch – sandbox for smoothing and vel/accel, leaky gestures, namespace management

Suggested Reading:

Magnusson – Sonic Writing, introduction


Magnusson – Sonic Writing, chapter 1: Material Inscriptions (included in above link)

Due Week 9 (worth 5% of grade):: 1 page (min. 500 words) updated description of project, plus 1 page that diagrams/sketches the final experience (e.g. explain the space, context, and end “users”: i.e. audience or inter-actors with the project). This time, please focus on: why you are creating this piece – e.g. what is your motivation/inspiration – and specifics of when and how you are going to present it publicly). Please be prepared to demonstrate a mock-up/work-in-progress of the final project in class.

Week 9: Machine Learning for Performance:








Viewing inspirations/selections:

Atau Tanaka – Le Loup, Lifting, and Myogram

Onyx Ashanti – NIME 2018 performance

Pamela Z – solo voice and electronics

Improvisation avec la Hyper-flûte – Cléo Palacio-Quintin

electrumpet lecture/demo – Hans Leeuw

Lamonte Young and Marian Zazeela – Dream House NYC

endangered guitar – Hans Tammen

Practices of everyday life: Cooking – Chong/Delapierre/Montanaro/Navab

Mogees/Milan installation

Ecosystems feedback music – playlist

Keith Rowe: What is a man and what is a guitar?

Course Bibliography

Entire Journals/Conferences:

Jan, Stephen and Robin Laney (ed). Journal of Creative Music Systems. Huddersfield University Press. 2016-2022.

Keislar, Doug (ed.) Computer Music Journal, MIT Press. 1977-2022.

Landy, Leigh (ed.) Organised Sound, Cambridge University Press. 1996-2022.

Marsden, Alan (ed.) Journal of New Music Research, Taylor and Francis. 1984-2022.

MOCO Conference Proceedings (20124-2022).

MUME Conference Proceedings (2012-2019).

NIME Conference Proceedings (2001-2022).

Specific Articles and Books:

Born, G. (2020). Diversifying MIR: Knowledge and Real-World Challenges, and New Interdisciplinary Futures. Transactions of the International Society for Music Information Retrieval3(1).

Cox, C., & Warner, D. (Eds.). (2017). Audio Culture, Revised Edition: Readings in Modern Music. Bloomsbury Publishing USA.

Bosma, H. (2016). Gender and technological failures in Glitch music. Contemporary Music Review35(1), 102-114.

Bovermann, T., Campo, A. de, Egermann, H., Hardjowirogo, S.-I., & Weinzierl, S. (Eds.). (2016). Musical Instruments in the 21st Century: Identities, Configurations, Practices (1st ed. 2017 edition). New York, NY: Springer.

Cage, J. (2012). Silence: lectures and writings. Wesleyan University Press.

Cascone, K. (2000). The Aesthetics of Failure:“Post-Digital” Tendencies in Contemporary Computer Music. Computer Music Journal24(4), 12-18.

Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. Society, culture, and person: A systems view of creativity. Springer Netherlands, 2014.

Chadabe, J. (1997). Electric sound: the past and promise of electronic music. Pearson.

Cipriani, Alessandro, and Maurizio Giri. Electronic Music and Sound Design – Theory and Practice with Max/Msp – Volume 1.  Contemponet, 2010.

Cipriani, Alessandro, and Maurizio Giri. Electronic Music and Sound Design – Theory and Practice with Max/Msp – Volume 2.  Contemponet, 2014.

Cook, Perry R. “Real Sound Synthesis for Interactive Applications (Book & CD-ROM).” (2007).

Collins, Nick. Introduction to computer music. John Wiley & Sons, 2010.

Cook, Perry R. Music, cognition, and computerized sound. Cambridge, MA: Mit Press, 1999.

Emmerson, S. (Ed.) (1986). Language of Electroacoustic Music. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Emmerson, S., & Landy, L. (Eds.) (2016). Expanding the Horizon of Electroacoustic Music Analysis. Cambridge University Press.

Farnell, A. (2010). Designing sound. MIT Press.

Dodge, Charles, and Thomas A. Jerse. Computer music: synthesis, composition and performance. Macmillan Library Reference, 1997.

Dean, Roger T., ed. The Oxford handbook of computer music. Oxford University Press, 2009.

Godøy, R. I., & Leman, M. (Eds.). (2010). Musical gestures: Sound, movement, and meaning. Routledge.

Gottschalk, J. (2016). Experimental music since 1970. Bloomsbury Publishing USA.

Hayes, L., & Marquez-Borbon, A. (2020). Addressing NIME’s Prevailing Sociotechnical, Political, and Epistemological Exigencies. Computer Music Journal44(2-3), 24-38.

Hayes, L. (2019). Beyond skill acquisition: Improvisation, interdisciplinarity, and enactive music cognition. Contemporary Music Review38(5), 446-462.

Helmholtz, Hermann LF. On the Sensations of Tone as a Physiological Basis for the Theory of Music. Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Howard, David Martin, and Jamie Angus. Acoustics and psychoacoustics. Taylor & Francis, 2009.

Leman, M. (2008). Embodied music cognition and mediation technology. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.

Lewis, G. E. (2000). Too many notes: Computers, complexity and culture in voyager. Leonardo Music Journal, 33-39.

Lewis, G. E. (2008). A power stronger than itself: The AACM and American experimental music. University of Chicago Press.

Lewis, G. E. (1996). Improvised music after 1950: Afrological and Eurological perspectives. Black music research journal, 91-122.

Magnusson, T. (2019). Sonic writing: technologies of material, symbolic, and signal inscriptions. Bloomsbury Academic.

McCartney, J. (2011). The SuperCollider Book. (S. Wilson, D. Cottle, & N. Collins, Eds.). Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Press.

Manzo, Vincent J. Max/MSP/Jitter for Music: A Practical Guide to Developing Interactive Music Systems for Education and More. Oxford University Press, 2016.

McLean, A., & Dean, R. T. (Eds.). (2018). The Oxford handbook of algorithmic music. Oxford University Press.

McCormack, J. and d’Inverno, M. (eds.) (2012). “Computers and Creativity”. Springer, Berlin.

Oliveros, P. (1984). Software for people: Collected writings 1963-80. Unpub Editions.

Pickering, Andrew. “Ontological Theatre Gordon Pask, Cybernetics, and the Arts.” Cybernetics & Human Knowing 14, no. 4 (2007): 43-57.

Puckette, Miller. “The theory and technique of electronic music.” (2007).

Refsum Jensenius, Alexander. A NIME Reader – Fifteen Years of New Interfaces.  Springer. (2017).

Rodgers, T. (2010). Pink Noises: Women on Electronic Music and Sound. Durham NC: Duke Univ Pr.

Roads, Curtis. The Computer Music tutorial. MIT press, 1996.

Roads, C. (2004). Microsound. MIT press.

Roads, C. (2015). Composing electronic music: a new aesthetic. Oxford University Press, USA.

Rossing, Thomas D., ed. Springer handbook of acoustics. Springer, 2007.

Russolo, L. (1913). The art of noise (pp. 35-41). Glover, VT: Something else press.

Ryan, J. (1991). Some remarks on musical instrument design at STEIM. Contemporary music review6(1), 3-17.

Salter, Chris, and Andrew Pickering. Alien Agency: Experimental encounters with art in the making. MIT Press, 2015.

Sterne, J. (2012). MP3: The meaning of a format. Duke University Press.

Stockhausen, K. (2004). Electronic and instrumental music. Audio Culture: readings in modern music, 370-80.

Robert Seyfert, Jonathan Roberge (eds.), Algorithmic Cultures: Essays on Meaning, Performance and New Technologies

Sha, Xin Wei. Poiesis and enchantment in topological matter. MIT Press, 2013.

Steiglitz, Kenneth. A Digital Signal Processing Primer with Applications to Digital Audio and Computer Music. Addison-Wesley, 1996.

Van Nort, D. (2006). Noise/music and representation systems. Organised Sound11(2), 173-178.

Van Nort, D. (2009). Instrumental listening: sonic gesture as design principle. Organised sound14(2), 177-187.

Van Nort, D. (2020). Sound, Senses, Musical Meaning, and Digital Performance: Epistemological Reframings. Canadian Theatre Review184, 57-61.

Van Nort, D., Oliveros, P., & Braasch, J. (2013). Electro/acoustic improvisation and deeply listening machines. Journal of New Music Research42(4), 303-324.

Voegelin, S. (2010). Listening to noise and silence: Towards a philosophy of sound art. Bloomsbury Publishing USA.

Wessel, D., & Wright, M. (2002). Problems and prospects for intimate musical control of computers. Computer music journal26(3), 11-22.

Wishart, T. (1988). The Composition of” Vox-5″. Computer Music Journal12(4), 21-27.

Wishart, Trevor. Audible design: a plain and easy introduction to practical sound composition. Orpheus the Pantomime, 1994.

Wishart, Trevor, and Simon Emmerson. On sonic art. Vol. 12. Psychology Press, 1996.

Xenakis, Iannis. Formalized music: thought and mathematics in composition (rev. ed). Pendragon Press, 1992.