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Compositional Activities



Since the late 1960's, much of the compositional work at CCRMA has involved a software environment which evolved from the Music V program, which was originally developed at Bell Labs by Max Mathews and his research group. The hardware and software has changed and improved greatly over the decades. Ported to a PDP10, Music V became the Mus10 music compiler system and played scores composed in Leland Smith's SCORE language. The compiler was replaced in 1977 with dedicated synthesis hardware in the form of the Systems Concepts Digital Synthesizer (built by Peter Samson and known as the ``Samson Box''). The Samson Box was capable of utilizing many types of synthesis techniques such as additive synthesis, frequency modulation, digital filtering and some analysis-based synthesis methods. The PLA language, written by Bill Schottstaedt, allowed composers to specify parametric data for the Samson Box as well as for other sound processing procedures on the PDP10 mainframe (and on its eventual replacement, a Foonly F4). On April 3, 1992, the Foonly and Samson Box were officially retired. CCRMA has transitioned to a network of workstations (Intel based PCs, SGI's, and NeXTs) running Linux, Irix, and NEXTSTEP operating systems. The functionality of PLA exists now in the form of Common Music (CM) (written in Common Lisp by Rick Taube), a software package that can write scores by listing parameters and their values, or by creating algorithms which then automatically determine any number of the parameters' values. Common Music (CM) can write scores in several different syntaxes (currently CLM, CMN, Music Kit, MIDI, CSound and Paul Lansky's real-time mixing program, RT). The scores can then be rendered on workstations using any of the target synthesis programs. For example, CLM (Common Lisp Music, written by Bill Schottstaedt) is a widely used and fast software synthesis and signal processing package that can run in real time on fast workstations.

Continuity has been maintained over the entire era. For example, scores created on the PDP10 or Samson Box have been recomputed in the Linux and NeXTStep computing environments, taking advantage of their increased audio precision. To summarize all these names for CCRMA's composing environment, the synthesis instrument languages have been, in chronological order, MUS10, SAMBOX, CLM/MusicKit and the composing language succession has been SCORE, PLA, Common Music . Other computers and software are also used for composition. Several composers have realized pieces which make extensive use of MIDI equipment. Readily available commercial software for manipulation of digital audio has brought renewed interest in real-time control and computer-based ``musique concrète.'' The programming environments being used for composition and developmental research include MAX, Patchwork, Smalltalk, Common Lisp, STK, C/C++, and Pd.

Since its beginning, works composed at CCRMA have been highlighted at music festivals, concerts and competitions around the world. Compositions realized at CCRMA have been performed at nearly every International Computer Music Conference; at the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music (SEAMUS) in the U.S.; at the Bourges Festival of Electroacoustic Music in France; at ISCM World Music Days; at The Warsaw Autumn Festival in Poland; at the Computers and Music Conference in Mexico City; at the Primera Muestra Internacional de Musica Electroacustica in Puerto Rico; and in concerts throughout the world. Compositions from CCRMA have also won major electroacoustic music prizes over the years, including the NEWCOMP contest in Massachusetts, the Irino Prize for Chamber Music in Japan, the Ars Electronica in Austria, and the Noroit Prize in France. Works composed at CCRMA have been recorded on compact disks by Mobile Fidelity, Wergo, Harmonia Mundi, Centaur, Allegro, and others. CCRMA is publishing with Wergo/Schott Computer Music Currents, a series of 14 CDs containing computer music by international composers. Computer Music @ CCRMA, volumes one and two, represent music production by twelve composers working at CCRMA during the period 1992 to 1996.

Composers and Works

Recent compositional works realized at CCRMA include the following:

Jonathan Berger

Christopher Burns

Chris Chafe

Michael Gurevich

Damián Keller

Fernando Lopez Lezcano

Jonathan Norton

Juan Reyes

Gary Scavone

Rodrigo Segnini

Peter Traub

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