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Homework #3: "Granular"

  • reading: Artful Design, Chapter 5 + Interlude
  • milestone due 2019.2.20 Wedesday, in-class
  • final musical statement due 2019.2.26, Tuesday, 11:59:59pm

In this assignment, you are to explore and make use of Granular synthesis: 1) experiment with time-varying control over its parameters and 2) create a musical statement; it may be helpful to craft a live granular experimental testbed using physical input (keyboard, mouse, and/or joystick).


Tools at your disposal

  • ChucK
  • LiSa (Live Sampling); use multiple instances for layering / panning OR roll your own granularizer!
  • check out instrument redux and source sound from Twilight for laptop orchestra | (also the game-trak version: twilight-trak)
  • recorded sounds (any, please give proper credit)
  • Audacity/Ardour (for intermediate + final recording/assembly)


What to do:

  • 1) spend some time exploring and collecting different sounds (online or recording them; check out freesound.org)
    • give proper credit as appropriate / note the origin of the sounds in your README
  • 2) process/transform/arrange/compose.
    • check out the code examples from class here
    • use ChucK / LiSa to process/transform/arrange the sounds
    • plan and create time-varying, continuous control over at least 2 parameters in the synthesis process (grain length, grain tuning, grain position, volume, envelope, density, or other)
  • 3) think about using granular synthesis to create foreground musical gestures, soundscapes, layers
  • 3) as before the bulk of the arranging should be done in ChucK, with intermediate editing and late-stage assembly in Audacity
    • figure out what you want to do, experiment, try a lot of stuff, have fun


As usual, add to your portfolio — and turn in all files to Canvas

  • 0) 250-500 word reading response; prompt: "reflect on the role of the computer as it relates to music-making for you; what makes certain uses of the computer better than others? articulate an argument, and support with evidence."
  • 1) all related source/sound files (.wav/.ck)
  • 2) a short README text (readme.txt) file that:
    • specifies instructions on running your programs
    • describes your process/adventure, and perhaps the ideas (technical/aesthetic) behind the composition
    • gives credit, if needed, for the sounds you are using
    • describe any difficulties you encountered in the process
  • 3) upload files to Canvas

Thanks and have fun!!!