Course Information

Class: M+W 12:30-2:20pm
Labs/Office Hours: After class (M+W 2:20-4:30pm)
Location: CCRMA Classroom (the Knoll)
Required Textbook: Ge Wang. Artful Design: Technology in Search of the Sublime. Stanford University Press, 2018. (Available in the Stanford Bookstore)
Prerequisite: prior programming experience

Course Summary

This lab and project-based course explores how we can physically interact with real-time electronic sound. Students learn to use and design sensors, circuits, embedded computers, communication protocols and sound synthesis. Advanced topics include real-time media, haptics, sound synthesis using physical model analogs, and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) theory and practice. Course culminates in musical performance with or exhibition of completed design projects.

Topics include:


There will be assignments every week until week 5 after which students will be able to focus on final projects. Assignments are due the following week on Wednesday before class. Late days are not allowed.



Week 1

Jan. 7: Intro + Overview of the Field of New Interfaces for Musical Expression


Jan. 9: Sound Synthesis Basics in Faust


Lab/Assignment: Faust and Basic MIDI Control + read chapter 1 of Artful Design -- Technology in Search of the Sublime

Week 2

Jan. 14: Guest Lecture by Ge Wang: Bodies Matter: The Art of Interface Design

Jan. 16: Microcontrollers, Communication Standards, MIDI, Basic Electronics, and Lab Kits


Lab/Assignment: Sensors -> Faust + read chapter 5 of Artful Design -- Technology in Search of the Sublime

Week 3

Jan. 21: Martin Luther King, Jr., Day

Jan. 23: Hybrid Instruments: Combining Physical and Virtual Elements


Lab/Assignment: "Hybrid" Instruments

Week 4

Jan. 28: Introduction to SolidWorks I + more Faust (parallel sessions)

Jan. 30: Introduction to SolidWorks II + more Faust (parallel sessions)

Lab/Assignment: Prototyping in SolidWorks

Week 5

Feb. 4: Working With Audio Buffers/Tables in Faust


Feb. 6: Digital Fabrication and Discussion Around Final Projects

Lab/Assignment: Digital Fabrication

Week 6

Feb. 11: Guest Lecture by Roger Linn

Feb. 13: Final projects brainstorm

Week 7

Feb. 18: Presidents' Day

Feb. 20: Guest Lecture by Jordan Rudess

Lab/Assignment: Final Project Milestone I

Week 8

Feb. 25: Critical Feedback Session on Final Projects

Feb. 27: From Breadboards to Perforated Circuit Boards: Finalizing Your Circuitry + Synthesizing Sound on the Teensy + Haptic Feedback and NIME


Week 9:

Mar. 4: Critical Feedback Session With Roger Linn and Ge Wang (Final Project Milestone II Due)

Week 10

Mar. 11: Final Presentation Rehearsal (from 5:30pm on CCRMA stage)

Mar. 13 (7pm): Final Presentation