Music 220b | winter 2015
Compositional Algorithms, Psychoacoustics, and Spatial Processing
Ge Wang and Alex Chechile (TA)

lectures | assignments

class: T+Th 10-11:30am
location: CCRMA classroom (the Knoll)
prerequisite: 220a - or by instructor's permission.

office hours: TBD (Alex, email: chechile /at/

course summary:

This is the second course in the 220 series. It investigates algorithmic composition, advanced sound synthesis techniques, as well as audio analysis, and elements of computer-mediated music composition and as they relate to psychoacoustics, and spatialization. Additionally, we will explore computer-mediated performance as well as issues of aesthetic in computer music. The course uses the ChucK programming language for assignments and projects. The format consists of in-class discussions and lectures, individual and group assignments, a final project, as well as an experimental live performance component.

synthesis / analysis topics:
  • modulation / AM / FM synthesis / waveshaping
  • timbre, sculpting, perception
  • subtractive synthesis, filters
  • intermediate synthesis techniques
  • FFT / audio analysis / UAna in ChucK / resynthesis / event detection
  • formant-based synthesis
  • granular synthesis / FOF's / phism
  • learning to program these via ChucK
algorithmic composition topics:
  • computational aesthetics
  • algorithmic composition tools and approaches
  • elements of computer-mediated composition
  • algorithmic sonification
  • rule-based, constraint-based systems
  • state machines / cellular automata / genetic algorithms
  • grammars / L-systems / fractals
  • agent-based, particle systems / swarm
  • aesthetics of computer-mediated composition and performance
  • homework #0: Computational (An)aesthetics
    due date: 2015.1.12, Monday, 11:59:59pm

  • homework #1: Homebrew
    milestone: 2015.1.20, Tuesday, in-class
    due date: 2015.1.22, Thursday, 11:59:59pm

  • homework #2: Granular
    milesonte: 2015.2.3, Tuesday, in-class
    due date: 2015.2.9, Monday, 11:59:59pm

  • homework #3: Generative Drum Machine + Soundscape
    due date: 2015.2.19, Thursday, 11:59:59pm

  • final project: Computer-mediated, Audio-visual, Live Performance
    due dates:
    • milestone 0 (in-class, Tuesday, 2/24/2015)
      initial sketch, detailing vision, sound, music, interaction, aesthetics, music technology involved
    • milestone 1 (in-class, Tuesday, 3/3/2015)
      initial working system, with sound, visual, and core performance
    • milestone 2 (in-class, Tuesday, 3/10/2015)
      fully working system + fully fleshed out performance, complete as possible
    • all code/documentation/program notes: 2015.3.18, Wednesday, 11:59:59pm>
    • final performance: 2015.3.19, Thursday, 3:30pm, CCRMA Stage

CCRMA | Music Department | Stanford University