Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA)
Stanford University

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Demographics: approximately 250 participants

CCRMA Faculty appointed in Music Department

Patricia Alessandrini
Jonathan Berger
Chris Chafe, Director
John Chowning
Takako Fujioka
Jarek Kapuscinski
Julius Smith (+ EE)
Ge Wang (+ CS)

CCRMA Faculty appointed in other departments

Paul Demarinis, Art
Doug James, CS

10 Adjunct Professors, 4 Lecturers, 5 Visiting Scholars / Visiting Artists

Doug James
Physical Model Synthesis

Extensions to the 2D Waveguide Mesh for Modeling Thin Plate Vibrations

The 2D Waveguide Mesh computes realistic-sounding simulations of struck plates. The early 90’s saw an initial flurry of development on the model but it hasn’t yet found the greater musical use that its interesting sonic qualities suggest are possible.

The overall project goal is a synthesis instrument for real-time music performance and studio composition.

Real-time rectilinear mesh using 4-port scattering junctions and unit delays

no allpass, only lowpass

allpass (order 4) with stretch factor = 0

stretch factor = 0.73

signal dependent, passive nonlinearity "A Passive Nonlinear Digital Filter Design Which Facilitates Physics-based Sound Synthesis of Highly Nonlinear Musical Instruments," John Pierce and Scott Van Duyne, 1997

signal dependent stretch factor (pie pan)

Swinging in space simulated by wavefield synthesis

Knoll Building (100 years ago)
CO2 = 300 ppm

Knoll Building (CCRMA today)
CO2 = 400 ppm

Jordan Rudess, keyboardist and
instrument designer

Ceribell, Inc. Brain Stethoscope

this slide deck available at


Stanford AI Lab: CCRMA 1960's until 1985

CCRMA founded 1974

Life at the AI Lab: robot cart

robot arm

Space Wars game

John McCarthy

Les Earnest

always volleyball

visitors from France (founding IRCAM)

Sunset computer music concerts 1980's

After SAIL left for main campus, we needed our own computer

and we rewired the whole building

Foonly F2 arrives

F2 computer and Jan Mattox

Samson Box and Gareth Loy

300 MB disk packs and Mike McNabb

Andrew Nelson's charting of the impact of
Chowning's Frequency Modulation invention

The Knoll (1916)

CCRMA's home after DC Power Lab

renovation for studios and computers (1986)

earthquake renovation (2004)

Listening Room

CCRMA's hardware through the years

1960's-70's PDP10 mainframe

platter from early disc drive

analog connection for mainframe

custom 4-channel ADAC (early 70's)

custom digital synthesizer (1976)

custom mainframe (early 80's)

Yamaha GS1 FM synth (1981)

NeXT workstation (1988)

SynthBuilder on NeXT workstation

Laptop performance

Laptops + sensors = Bananaphone

Single board computer

this slide deck available at