Music 220a [Fall 1996]:
Fundamentals of Computer Generated Sound

* Course Description

Music 220a is a first course in music technology pertaining to sound synthesis and digital audio effects. The lectures will describe sound synthesis techniques such as additive synthesis, subtractive, FM, sampling, wavetables, granular, and physical modelling synthesis; and digital effects algorithms such as phasing, flanging, chorus, distortion and reverberation. Some introductory signal processing topics will be included, such as decibel scales and elementary aspects of spectral perception. Basic familiarity with music, sound synthesis and audio effects is assumed.

Software examples will be presented illustrating elementary synthesis and sound processing techniques; the examples are primarily written in Common Lisp Music (CLM), which is built on top of the Common Lisp language. Basic familiarity with computers and programming languages is helpful but programming proficiency is not required. A parallel Common Lisp Workshop will be taught by Juan Pampin. Students are encouraged to take it as it will be oriented towards musical applications of the language. The continuation courses 220B and 220C require significantly more programming.

The project portion of the course consists of outside reading, computer based projects or other activity approved by the instructor. Project proposals are due by the third class.

* Lectures


* Course Materials

All course materials will be placed on-line in CCRMA's World Wide Web server (

Suplementary texts

* Elements of Computer Music
F. Richard Moore, Prentice Hall, 1990
* The Computer Music Tutorial
Curtis Road, MIT press, 1996
* Musical Sound
John Pierce, Scientific American Books, 1990
* Computer Music: Synthesis, Composition and Performance
Charles Dodge and Thomas Jerse, Schirmer Books, New York, 1985

* Administrative Information

Music 220a meets Tuesdays from 2:15pm to 4:05pm (with a 10 minute break). Autumm quarter only, in the Ballroom at CCRMA.

Units: The student may sign up for two to four units. Two units involves no project work, and the student is responsible only for completing the homework assignments. Signing up for three units implies at least three hours per week will be devoted to a project. Four units implies at least six hours per week devoted to a project.

Projects: The project may consist of clm work, independent study or a small compositional project. Requirements for the project include a written one-page proposal by the third week of the quarter, a written project report due by the end of the quarter and an in-class dfemonstration on the last day of class. For projects which span multiple quarters, interim write-ups are required each quarter.

Teaching Assistants: The TA's are Juan Pampin and Janet Dunbar. Office hours for the instructor (Fernando Lopez-Lezcano) are Tuesdays from 4:15pm to 6:00pm, right after the lecture. At other times we can be reached by email.

Mailing list: As soon as we create all accounts at ccrma we'll have a mailing list available for discussions, tips, tricks and general consultation. The address will be "".

General Information: Feel free to browse through the "CCRMA User's Guide" which highlights the available facilities and how to best use them. The document also includes a link to the FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions"... try to browse through them before asking questions....

©1996 Fernando Lopez-Lezcano. All Rights Reserved.