NMC 2016

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New Music Controllers

CCRMA Summer Workshop 2016
June 27-July 1

Instructors: Sasha Leitman sleitman@ccrma.stanford.edu and Michael Gurevich mdgurev@umich.edu


This course was originated in 1996 to offer a hands-on approach to interaction design for musical applications. It was originally helmed by Max Mathews and Bill Verplank, and early on was jointly taught over teleconference with instructors at San Jose State and Princeton. In 2002, CCRMA began offering an intensive workshop version of this course during the summer. Other past instructors include Matt Wright, Edgar Berdahl, and Wendy Ju.

This workshop integrates programming, electronics, interaction design, audio, and interactive music. Focus will be on hands-on applications using sensors and microprocessors in conjunction with real-time DSP to make music. Specific technologies will include Satellite CCRMA, Beagle Board, Arduino Nano, Pd for music synthesis, and sensors including force-sensitive resistors, bend sensors, accelerometers, IR range finders, etc. Participants will design and build working prototypes using a kit that can be taken home at the end of the workshop. Further issues to be explored will include modes and mappings in computer music, exercises in invention, and applications of sensors and electronics to real-time music. The course will be augmented by a survey of existing controllers and pieces of interactive music.

Monday Morning


Class Overview: Why we’re here and schedule overview

Opening Sketching exercise - Take 15 minutes and draw the following:

1. Your favorite musical instrument

2. Something you think you could make this week

3. Something you could create if money, time, knowledge and physics were not considerations

Context / history / examples

Signal flow and toolchain

Electronics overview

Monday Afternoon Background and Intro To Arduino

Arduino Hands on Lecture Download Arduino IDE here: http://arduino.cc/en/Main/Software

Download some examples here: http://ccrma.stanford.edu/~sleitman/Arduino_examples.zip

Max Physical Models: http://ccrma.stanford.edu/~gurevich/MaxPhysicalModels.zip

Goal: send data, receive data, connect to Max,

Debounce the button in Arduino

Challenge: Make an interesting instrument with one button

References: Make: Electronics (Learning by Discovery) by Charles Platt: http://amzn.com/0596153740

Multi-tasking and Arduino : why and how? by Loe Feijs: http://ccrma.stanford.edu/~gurevich/Feijs_ArduinoMultitasking.pdf

Homework: Come up with at least 5 ideas for your performance. Sketch them out. Include details such as materials, sounds, sensors, gestures.

Tuesday Morning One-button show and tell

Gestures - discrete vs. continuous

Bill Verplank's Interaction Design Sketchbook http://ccrma.stanford.edu/courses/250a/lectures/IDSketchbok.pdf

Continuous sensing in Arduino -- A/D and sending Serial

Scaling data in Max and/or in arduino

Go through sensors:






Hall Effect



Tuesday Afternoon

Max - Bring data in, make some sounds

Scaling and filtering data in Max and/or in arduino

Goal: Create a musical interaction that could/would be used in your primary controller idea. Think about how the physical gestures that you are using and the type of sensor (continuous or discrete) interact with the sounds you are controlling.

Homework: Make a plan Plan should include: Make a new and refined sketch of your idea Timeline Parts and materials needed Identify the challenges in your design Look up similar work (optional)

Wednesday Morning Solder your accelerometer and proximity

Sensors: Proximity Accelerometer


Making Connectors

Present the plans and receive concrete feedback.

Wednesday Afternoon Get Going!

Electronics Resources: jameco.com digikey.com mouser.com sparkfun.com adafruit.com futurelec.com

Thursday Morning

Group check in about the state of your piece

Bonus topics on demand

Individual working with consultation

Thursday Afternoon

Individual working with consultation

Friday Morning

Set up and rehearse performance

Friday Afternoon

Final projects Wrap up Clean up