Musical Interaction Design

CCRMA Summer Workshop 2005

June 27 - July 8

Instructors: Wendy Ju, Matt wright
Special Guests: Bill Verplank, David Wessel, Don Buchla


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 a intensive two-week workshop version of this course during the summer.

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 C programming for Atmel AVR microcontrollers, PD and/or Max/MSP 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.

COURSE SCHEDULE (will change as needed)

We will meet from 9am-5pm daily, with a break for lunch from 12-1:30.

- Week 1 -

6/27 Monday

Introductions, previous work, modes/mappings, brainstorming, drawing

Intro to PD

Lab 1: Instrument design, mapping, PD

6/28 Tuesday

Lab 1 presentations and discussion, more PD/OSC, system overview, communication and MIDI, filters

Lab 2: System architecture, communication, accelerometers, filters

6/29 Wednesday

Lab 2 presentations and discussion, resolution, latency and jitter, how to program the AVR discrete digital inputs

Lab 3: AVR programming

6/30 Thursday

Lab 3 presentations and discussion, handles and buttons, analog sensors, circuits, project ideas

Lab 4: Circuits

7/1 Friday

Lab 4 presentations and discussion, interaction design, physical prototyping

Lab 5: Physical prototyping

- Week 2 -

7/4 Monday

Project concept presentations, topics on demand

Work on projects

7/5 Tuesday

Guest lecture by David Wessell & Don Buchla, student project reviews with guest

Work on projects

7/6 Wednesday

Guest lecture by Bill Verplank, student project reviews with guest

Work on projects

7/7 Thursday

Topics on demand

Work on projects


7/8 Friday

Work on projects

Project presentations


One of the goals of this workshop is to help you get hands-on experience building a musical interaction project of your choosing. You are encouraged to work with other workshop participants on the project, particularly those who might have skills that complement your own. Since the workshop is short, it is a good idea to start thinking of ideas during the first week's lectures and labs; during the second half of the workshop, you will primarily be working on getting a "údemo-abl" prototype ready for the project presentations on Friday afternoon.


General workshop questions

How do we get parking?

Conference "scratcher" permits are available for $3.75 per day. They can be obtained at the conference services office at 123 Encina Hall.

Where do we find food?

Closest on-campus dining is at Manzanita Dining Commons across Escondido Rd. They serve breakfast from 7-8:30am, Lunch from 11:30am- 1 pm and dinner from 5:00- 6:45pm. A larger variety of dining options, including cafeteria fare, Peet's Coffee and Tea, Subway, and Jamba Juice, can be found at Tressider Union. In addition, the Moonbeam Cafe in front of Green Library is a good spot for caffeine breaks.

How do I get wireless/wired internet access at CCRMA?

Make sure your computer is configured for DHCP in its TCP/IP settings. Open a browser, and fill in the necessary registration information. Once your machine is approved, it will continue to work whenever it's connected to the guestnet. For more details, see the CCRMA guestnet page.

Project questions

Can I do ____ for my project?

You can do whatever you would like for your project. Keep in mind that you really only have a week to work on it, so you might want to focus on one crucial aspect of a larger project that you'd like to have working.

Can I incorporate my own hardware and software into my project?

Yes, you can, although we have limited time and ability to support hardware and software other than what is introduced in the labs. Ideally, your hardware and/or software can send OSC messages to interface with the tools we provide.

Can I keep the tools we use during the workshop?

The software we're using at CCRMA is open-source, and can be downloaded and set up on your own Windows or Mac OS X computer. If you wish to keep AVRmini boards which you are using after the workshop, they are available for purchase for $100.