Winter 2002

220b: Synthesis Techniques, Compositional Algorithms, Psychoacoustics and Spatial Processing

* Course Description

This is the second course in the 220 series. It covers some basic sound synthesis techniques not covered last quarter (see 220a), algorithmic composition techniques, spatialization and some psychoacoustics. The course uses the CLM-2 (Common Lisp Music) environment to create all sound examples and the Common Lisp programming language (in which clm-2 itself is implemented) for all programming examples.

Common Lisp Music (CLM) is a public domain sound design language written on top of Common Lisp, currently running in Macintosh PowerPCs, Windows and several UNIX environments including SGI, Sun, NeXT and Linux.

* Lectures

Jan 8Additive, Wavetable and Modulation Synthesis, Simple FM
Jan 15CLM instruments: Granular Synthesis and Sampling Rate Conversion, the Loop macro
Jan 22CLM instruments: digital filtering, CM-2 Patterns
Jan 29Algorithmic Composition: Random Processes and State Machines
Feb 5Algorithmic Composition: Cellular Automata
Feb 12Algorithmic Composition: Chaos, Fractals
Feb 19Spatialization
Mar 5Physical Modelling
...more to come soon...

Supplementary information and links (Winter 2001), by Chris Burns.

* Course Materials

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

The on-line clm-2 distribution (source code, examples and so on...)

The on-line "CLM-2 Manual".

* Emacs and XEmacs editor references

Emacs cheat sheet
the most commonly used commands
Reference materials
getting started, reference card, the complete manual in html and more...
XEmacs Home Page
the official home of the xemacs editor...

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 220b meets Tuesdays 10:00am to 1:00pm (with a 10 minute break). Winter quarter only, in the Ballroom at CCRMA.

Units: The student may sign up four units. This implies at least six hours per week devoted to a project (in addition of regular homework assignments.

Homeworks: Assignments or homeworks are going to be posted on the course web site, in the page that corresponds to the lecture of that week, and are to be emailed back to a TA (to whom will be announced during class). The email has to have a proper subject line to be considered, it has to include the course name ("220a:") and the number of the assignment (for example: "Assignment 1" or "Homework 1"). The homework must include all materials necessary for the TA to be able to recreate the results (for example, a soundfile is not enough, the homework must include all code necessary to recreate the soundfile from scratch - ie: clm instruments used, programs, scripts, clm note lists, etc). Please DO NOT email soundfiles! Send a reference to a soundfile if necessary, the TA will let you know when it has been copied over to our area so that you can erase it. All auxilliary files must be sent to the TA as MIME attachments. Homeworks are due one week after the class during which they were posted. A late homework will have a substantially lower grade than one submitted in time. Don't expect to do everything at the last minute and get a decent grade. It will not work. Late homeworks will not be accepted after the last day of classes, this quarter (Winter 2002). See below ("Grading") for more detail.

Projects: The project may consist of clm work, independent study, research work or a small compositional project. Requirements for the project include a one-page proposal by the third week of the quarter (to be submitted through email to the TA), a project report due by the end of the quarter and an in-class demonstration on the finals day. If your project is based on work that you started in 220a (Fall Quarter) please submit your 220a project along with the proposal. The project report is due by the last day of finals at the end of the quarter (Winter 2002). If that deadline cannot be met, it may be possible for you to take an incomplete for the course and turn in your project sometime later in the year, provided your homeworks have been properly received and a reasonable amount of work on the project has been done during the quarter.


a) Four Units:
The grade is based on homework (40%), classroom participation (30%), and final project (30%).

The percentages above are not approximate, those numbers are actually used in a spreadsheet to come up with the grades. In the case of homeworks the percentage is divided equally between all assignments. Classroom participation (attendance of the class is not optional!) directly influences your grade.

Teaching Assistants: The TA's are Damian Keller (office hours will be 4:30-6p Mondays at CCRMA) and Michael Gurevich (office hours will be Thursdays 10:30am to 12 noon). Office hours for the instructor (Fernando Lopez-Lezcano) are Tuesdays from 2:30pm to 4:00pm. At all other times we can be reached by email.

Mailing list: We have a mailing list available for discussions, tips, tricks and general consultation. The address is "".

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....

The Planet CCRMA Guide is an invaluable resource for answering common questions about the Linux environment here at CCRMA.

©2001-2002 Fernando Lopez-Lezcano. All Rights Reserved.