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CCRMA Colloquium

The CCRMA Colloquium is a weekly gathering of CCRMA students, faculty and staff. It is an opportunity for members of the CCRMA community and guests to share the work that they are doing in the field of Computer Music. The colloquium typically happens every Wednesday during the school year from 5:15 - 6:30.

Autumn Quarter Schedule

Autum 2007

==10/17/07== Keith McMillen Mapps: A persistent performance score for modern music ==10/24/07== Flo Menezes ==10/31/07== Craig Sapp Measuring Similarity in Performances of Chopin Mazurkas ==11/7/07== Jonathan Middleton 11/14/07 Jesper Nordin 11/21/07 Thanksgiving 11/28/07 Hans Tutschku

Previous Colloquia


Title: Mapps: A persistent performance score for modern music

Abstract: A brief history of the effects of technology on music followed by a description of the problems facing modern technical composers and performers with the persistence of any performable repertoire. Progress on this front as characterized by the software program MACIAS as used by TrioMetrik and plans for a more enduring format.

Presenter: Keith McMillen has been working his entire adult life on one single problem – how to play live interactive music in an ensemble using extended instruments moderated by computer intelligence. This goal has required him to create dozens of new instruments, patented technologies and multiple successful companies in order to advance the technology sufficiently to reach his musical objectives. Keith began his audio career in 1979, when he founded Zeta Music. The company's revolutionary electronic instrument designs created a new market in the music industry, and the brand “Zeta” is synonymous with the modern violin. Later, as Vice President of R&D at Gibson Guitars, Keith worked with UC Berkeley’s CNMAT and created a new technology group focusing on audio networking, synthesizers and string instruments. As Director of Engineering at Harman Kardon, he formed an innovative new software product division dealing with audio processing and distributed networks. Keith founded Octiv in 1999 to solve major issues with live audio and led the company as both technologist and business guru raising over $20M from VCs such as 3i and Intel Capital. In April of 2005, Keith successfully sold Octiv to Plantronics (NYSE:PLT) and is personally funding the current operations of the BEAM Foundation. Keith received his BS in Acoustics under James Beauchamp from the University of Illinois where he also trained in classical guitar and studied composition with Herbert Brun, Scott Wyatt, and Sal Martirano. Keith has spent 25 years developing MACIAS – an integrated composition performance system that is the foundation of TrioMetrik’s music. He now works full time at composing, creating and performing while pursuing his original goal of a next generation music he has termed NuRoque and a method for creating a persistent performance score for modern music called MAPPS.


Title: Maximal Musicâ

Abstract: The purpose of the lecture is to give an insight on the compositional aesthetics of composer Flo Menezes. Aspects such as pitch polarization, directionalities, musical references, sound spatialilty and interval techniques will be exposed along with 22 musical examples, which go from purely instrumental to electroacoustic compositions.

Presenter: Flo Menezes (São Paulo, 1962) studied Composition at the University of São Paulo with Willy Corrêa de Oliveira (1980-85), Electroacoustic Music with Hans Humpert at the Studio für elektronische Musik of Cologne (1986-90) and Computer Music at the Centro di Sonologia Computazionale in Padova, Italy (1991), besides courses in France with Pierre Boulez (1988) and Brian Ferneyhough (1995), in Austria with Luciano Berio (1989), and in Germany with Karlheinz Stockhausen (1998), who has invited him as Professor of his International Stockhausen Courses in 1999 and 2001. In 1992, he concluded a PhD on the work of Berio in Liège under the supervision of Henri Pousseur and worked on Berioâ’s manuscripts at the Paul Sacher Stiftung in Basle, Switzerland. His analysis of Visage by Berio was awarded in 1990 at the 1st International Musicology Competition, Italy.

Menezes was awarded significant international prizes for composition: UNESCO in Paris (1991); TRIMALCA-Prize (1993); Prix Ars Electronica in Austria (1995); Luigi Russolo Contest in Italy (1996); Prêmio Sergio Motta in São Paulo (2002); Bolsa Vitae de Artes in São Paulo (2003); Giga-Hertz-Preis at ZKM in Karlsruhe (2007). He was invited by many institutions such as Fondation Royaumont (1995), IRCAM and GRM (1997), BEAST in Birmingham (2001), CRCA in San Diego (2007), Experimental studio of Freiburg (2008) etc. and his works have been played in many festivals and theaters around the world (Carnegie Hall in NY; Salle Olivier Messiaen in Paris; Walt Disney Hall/Redcat in Los Angeles; Sala São Paulo; Maison de la Suisse Romande; etc.)

Author of several books, he is founder and Director of the Studio PANaroma in São Paulo and of the PUTS: PANaroma/Unesp Teatro Sonoro, the first loudspeaker orchestra in Brazil, and is currently Professor of Electroacoustic Music at the State University of São Paulo (Unesp) and Visiting Professor at the University of Cologne, Germany.


Title: Measuring Similarity in Performances of Chopin Mazurkas

Abstract: Recent work in performance analysis being done at the Centre for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music (CHARM) at Royal Holloway, University of London will be presented. Performance features, such as note timings and loudness are extracted from audio files from various performances of the same work. These musical features are then compared between performers in isolation, in combination, and in subcomponents to get a feeling for where a performer might be getting their inspiration. One pianist was found to have gotten her inspiration in an unusual way:

Presenter: Craig Sapp has been working on performance analysis of Chopin mazurkas with Nicholas Cook and Andrew Earis at CHARM in London for the past two years.


Title: The Algorithmic Foundations of My Instrumental Music

Abstract: In the book "Atlas" one can see the original photographs Gerhard Richter collected as inspiration and source material for his photo-paintings. In my CCRMA colloquium, I'd like to make a similar attempt to reveal my creative sources and the artistic strategy I have developed to make these sources the foundation of my music. I will present the early stages of my creative process that provide a basic thread and musical themes for Redwoods Symphony (Kiev Philharmonic), Radiant Peaks (Coeur d'Alene Symphony), Reciprocal Refractions (Spokane Symphony), and Dreaming Among Thermal Pools and Concentric Spirals (Paradox duo). Each process begins with the algorithmic transformation (or translation) of things I care about: redwood trees, bull trout, spirals, topographical maps... things that serve as a creative launching point. Algorithmic examples will be presented from, the user-friendly freeware I designed in 2004-05.


Title: "calm like a bomb" - Jesper Nordin

Abstract: Jesper Nordin's music is largly influenced by his background in rock music and the traditional Swedish folk music. These influences are always present in his music, be it orchestral pieces or works with live electronics. His focus on the audible aspect in composition has made the computer his foremost tool in composing. Usually he builds up very detailed sketches/maquettes with recorded and treated sounds that he then transcribes. The use of improvisation during composing is also important and can include everything from himself singing to letting different programs treat his material in controlled or random ways. Lately he has also started to incorporate different control surfaces to be able to improvise but still keep control over musical materials and techniques. His piece "calm like a bomb" for violin and electronics will be performed by Greame Jennings of the SFCMP on November 19th at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Forum.

Presenter: The music of Jesper Nordin, with its clear traces of traditional Swedish folk music, rock music and improvised music, is played throughout the world by major soloists, ensembles and symphony orchestras. His international break-through came in 2000 with the piece “calm like a bomb” that is regularly performed by ensembles like ASKO, l’Itineraire and San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. He has been awarded prizes in many composition competitions in Europ and North America, for instance at UNESCO’s Rostrum of Composers. His music is broadcast around the world and has been played at festivals such as ISCM, Gaudeamus, ICMC and Resonances. After studies at the Royal College in Stockholm, Stanford University and at IRCAM in Paris he was appointed Composer in Residence at the National Swedish Radio 2004-2006. In 2006 the Swedish Radio Released the portraid CD “Residues” that include some of his major orchestral works. For more info see


Title: "The electronic studio as instrument".


Hans Ts Born 1966 in Weimar. Member of the "Ensemble for intuitive music Weimar" since 1982. He studied composition of electronic music at the college of music Dresde and had since 1989 the opportunity to participate in several concert cycles of Karlheinz Stockhausen to learn the art of the sound direction. He further studied 1991/92 Sonology and electroacoustic composition at the royal conservatoire in the Hague (Holland). 1994 followed a oneyear’s study stay at IRCAM in Paris. He taught 1995/96 as a guest professor electroacoustic composition in Weimar. 1996 he participated in composition workshops with Klaus Huber and Brian Ferneyhough. 1997-2001 he taught electroacoustic composition at IRCAM in Paris and from 2001 to 2004 at the conservatory of Montbéliard. In May 2003 he completed a doctorate (PhD) with Professor Dr. Jonty Harrison at the University of Birmingham. During the spring term 2003 he was the "Edgar Varèse Gast Professor" at the TU Berlin. Since September 2004 Hans Tutschku has been working as composition professor and director of the electroacoustic studios at Harvard University (Boston). He is the winner of many international composition competitions, among other: Bourges, CIMESP Sao Paulo, Hanns Eisler price, Prix Ars Electronica, Prix Noroit and Prix Musica Nova. In 2005 he rezeived the culture prize of the city of Weimar.

Current describes the quantity of electrons passing through a point in a circuit at a given instant in time. Current is measured in Amperes (Amps, A).

Voltage describes the potential difference in electrical charge between two points in an electrical circuit. Voltage (also known as Electro motive force or EMF) is measures in Volts.

Resistance (a special case of Impedance) describes the capacity of a circuit element to resist or impede the flow of electrons in the circuit. Resistance in measure in Ohms.

A common analogy may be used to relate these three quantities to water flow in pipes in place of electrons in wires. Current is analogous to the quantity of water flowing through a pipe at a given moment in time. Imagine you have two water tanks connected from the bottoms by a pipe (such as the drain of a double sink). If one tank is full of water and the other one empty we know intuitively that the water in the full tank will flow through the pipe into the empty tank until the level of water in the two tanks is equalized. The water in the full tank near the drain pipe is under pressure caused by gravity acting on the water above it in the tank. The difference in pressure between the water at the bottom of the full tank and the bottom of the empty (or only slightly full tank) is analogous to the voltage between poles of a battery (recall that voltage is always measured with respect to two distinct point in a circuit). In the case of a battery there is an excess of electrons present at the negative pole which are attracted to the electron holes at the positive pole with a potential or voltage determined by the chemical and physical properties of the battery.

Q: would the voltage change if we increased the amount of water in the full tank? yes - more water means more gravity acting on the water which results in greater pressure at the bottom of the tank.

Q: What happens if we open the pipe between the two tanks and let water flow? It flows from the full tank to the empty one until the level is the same in both. The same happens if you short the leads of a battery together without a resistor in between.

So what governs the time taken to equalize the level in the two tanks? The diameter of the pipe. The larger the pipe the less resistance there is to the water flow (or current) and the faster the levels equalize. Placing a resistor in an electric circuit has the same effect as placing a constriction in a water pipe. The amount of flow (or current) is not fixed, but given the same water pressure (or Voltage) the smaller the constriction the less flow occurs. Increasing the water pressure can counteract the reduction in flow. You can think of a battery as a pair of tanks, one full extra electrons and one empty to which extra electrons are attracted. (does adding constrictions hold in water as for electricity?) .... Ohm's Law ...

Ohm's Law

V = IR Ohm's Law states that Voltage = Current x Resistance or V = IR. The equation can be rearranged to find any one of the three quantities given the other two.

Consider the following circuit:

Ohms law 1.png

The voltage in the circuit is given (10V from the battery) and the resistance is also given as the 100 ohm resistor is the only resistive element in the circuit. So we can compute the current in the circuit as: I = V/R = 10V / 100 Ohms = 0.1 Amps or 100 milli-Amps.

Button LED Example

The following circuit diagram show the most basic LED (Light Emitting Diode) circuit:


Diodes are from the family of semiconductors. Unlike a resistors, diodes always have a fixed voltage drop in a circuit. A diode passes current in only one direction, a very useful property for protecting circuits from incorrect current flow. The arrow in the diode symbol points in the direction that current flows, so normally you would place a diode in your circuit with the arrow pointing to a ground. Therefore once we know the current passing through the resistor in this circuit we also know the current passing through the LED. The brightness of an LED is proportional to the amount of current passing through it. How would you make the LED shine brighter? less brightly?

Now consider the following circuit which adds a button:

Button led.png

The button simply interrupts or re-connects the flow of current through the circuit lighting or extinguishing the LED in the process.

PID 2007