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This is mostly a humanities reading-based project on computer music, and most of it is just me getting a grip on the literature (and on ChuCK and music coding), rather than directed towards producing an application for any of the reflections on the topic. The goal of the practice-based computer music component is to provide some scholarly infrastructure for future music collaborations with manuscript scholars.

  • 1) Reading books about sound studies and computer music in humanities theory
  • 2) A tool that helps scholars use noise as a form of theoretical scholarship on visual images
  • 3) a 3 to 5-page paper discussing the work’s theoretical implications

Learning objectives:

  • To go from no experience at all with computer music to being competent in its discourses.
  • To read widely in sound studies, music theory, computer music history, sound poetics, etc
  • To learn to approach sound and music from a number of interdisciplinary angles.
  • To build/solidify proficiency in ChuCK, P5.js, and Live/Max
  • To think about music production as a form of practice for a scholar-practitioner


Week 10

  • Presentations
  • Reading report [see reading report]

I presented my work to the live seminar room audience. Someone in my film studies seminar who doesn't have coding experience expressed interest in taking this project as a way of auralizing still/moving images of hummingbirds! More to come on this in the future, I hope.

Week 9

  • Memorial Day
  • Reading report [see reading report]
  • Calibration
  • Finalizing project
  • Redesigning the interface

This week, it was a race to the finish. I made the feature to calibrate the sound per a color on the page finally work as expected, thanks to Professor Chafe's help. I made it possible to record and play back journeys, and had time to add the feature of being able to insert keyframes into the playback. This made it possible discuss particular aspects of the image and allow these textual labels to appear at different points in the playback. I found several other images I could use to test on the system, which worked pretty well. I also redesigned the interface to make it presentable in preparation for next week. And finally, I started drafting my reading report and spent some time reviewing the progress I've made towards my goals.

Week 8

I realize that my project works best when I focus on images of architecture, spatial constructions (such as maps), and other kinds of figurations of entanglements -- they are perhaps the optimal object of the tool. I spent this week building out the interface, making it possible for users to customize. I ran into problems while trying to "chromatize": i.e. it was difficult to allow people to choose base colors for parametrizations -- a session with Chris helped me out on this. The next step is to allow people to save "journeys" in the images. This was tricky, but it got me thinking about how to think about "strongly-timed" as a humanistic concept. More to come on this in the reading report. I also added calibration settings to the system, so scholars can play around with calibrating the image (sets a color at 440 Hz, with three degrees of freedom).

Week 7

  • Wang, G., P. R. Cook, S. Salazar. 2015. "ChucK: A Strongly-timed Computer Music Language." Computer Music Journal. 39(4):10-29.
  • Tobias Wilke, Sound Writing: Experimental Modernism and the Poetics of Articulation (University of Chicago Press, 2022)

After meeting with Kevin, I ported the code to P5.js, which took a lot more time than I had anticipated. I learned a great deal from Kevin and Andrew's presentations of their work, which touch on similar topics. More reading about the relationship between sound and the avant-gardes.

Week 6

  • Parker VanValkenburgh, Alluvium and Empire: The Archaeology of Colonial Resettlement and Indigenous Persistence on Peru's North Coast (The University of Arizona Press, 2021)
  • Edmund Husserl, The Phenomenology of Internal Time-Consciousness, Fourth Printing edition (Indiana University Press, 1964);
  • Edmund Husserl, Ideas: General Introduction to Pure Phenomenology, Routledge Classics (London ; New York: Routledge, 2012).

I build out the interface I have in mind in Processing. I consider the idea of a "reduction" (reducción) in entangled histories of sound and space. I experiment with a trove of images from forthcoming article from an ILAC professor to see what kinds of arguments can be mounted from the noise. The images were not particularly appropriate to the vision I have for how this kind of thinking might broaden the contours of scholarship, but it was useful to think about what a scholar might be thinking about as they try to auralize images from the past.

Week 5

I finally have a project defined! I begin to consult with ILAC scholars. Selected project parameters, began to build Processing code -- built out lightboxes, etc. I work through tutorials on Processing, OSC -- these are both quite new to me -- and try to hook it up to ChuCK.

Weeks 3 & 4


  • Carolyn Kane, Chromatic Algorithms: Synthetic Color, Computer Art, and Aesthetics after Code (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2014).
  • Brian Kane, Sound Unseen: Acousmatic Sound in Theory and Practice, Reprint edition (Oxford University Press, 2016)
  • Douglas Kahn, Earth Sound Earth Signal: Energies and Earth Magnitude in the Arts (University of California Press, 2013)
  • Kim-Cohen, Seth. In the Blink of an Ear: Toward a Non-Cochlear Sonic Art. Illustrated edition. New York: Continuum, 2009.

These books taught me a great deal about how sound became something of a fascination in avant-garde art of the late twentieth century. I experiment with the idea of chroma, of color as a metaphor for sound, which I think I will focus on for the rest of the quarter. I spend the weekend at the studio experimenting with throwing colors onto sounds.

Week 2


  • V. J. Manzo and Will Kuhn, Interactive Composition: Strategies Using Ableton Live and Max for Live, 1st edition (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2015).
  • Jan Schnupp, Israel Nelken, and Andrew J. King, Auditory Neuroscience: Making Sense of Sound (The MIT Press, 2012)
  • Veit Erlmann, Reason and Resonance: A History of Modern Aurality, First paperback edition (New York: Zone Books, 2014).

I participated in a studio orientation with Matthew on Wednesday and spent Saturday afternoon and evening working through how to get a DAW up and running up to the point where I can make basic ambient music through Ableton Live. Instead of making a composition, as I had planned, I think I am starting to consider in more depth the processes that make these auralizations possible.

Week 1


  • Ajay Kapur et al., Programming for Musicians and Digital Artists: Creating Music with ChucK, 1st edition (Shelter Island: Manning, 2015).
  • Andrew J. Nelson, The Sound of Innovation: Stanford and the Computer Music Revolution, Illustrated edition (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2015).
  • Ge Wang, Artful Design: Technology in Search of the Sublime, A MusiComic Manifesto (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2018).

I have been giving myself a bootcamp education in ChuCK – I worked through a textbook and am now able to complete work up to MUSIC 220A and half of MUSIC 220B. I am also exploring other software ecologies (Max/MSP, PureData etc). I have also been reading up on the relationship between the sonic avant-gardes of mid-twentieth century America and contemporary discourse on poetics, sound studies, and art history to see what theoretical interventions made in music look like.