Basic Electroacoustics II: Music-Making Systems

Music G6602Y
TueThu 3:10-5:00pm
Spring 2004
Professor: Douglas Repetto [douglas at music columbia edu]
TA: James Fei [jamesfei at music columbia edu]
Our Motto: "Why, then how."
syllabus | lectures

Computer Music II: Sound Art

This term we'll cover a wide range of works, ideas, and practices relating to the idea of a music-making (or more generally, art-making) system. It's a fun class; you'll have a fair amount of work to do, but it will mostly be casual, creative work on topics that you choose.

N.B.: This is not a class about learning to use software or hardware tools. You are expected to either have some experience with your tools or be willing to learn how to use them outside of class. Most students in BEII should have already taken BEI, which focuses on basic computer music tools, theory, and techniques. You are encouraged to experiment and to learn new ways of working in this class; just keep in mind that while the CMC can provide access to tools, learning to use them is your responsibility.

The Class

There are three main components to the class: discussions, student research, and student works.

Discussions cover historical and contemporary uses of music-making systems in numerous disciplines, forms, styles, and movements, and the work of individual artists. Numerous short readings will be assigned to accompany the discussions.

Student research involves brief reports on student-selected topics related to the discussions. Student works are art projects proposed and/or created by individual students or collaborative groups based on a "commission" model that will be explained in class.

We will also have visits from a number of guest artists during the term.

Class discussion topics include:

systems & algorithms
human perception
generative art
kinetics/sound sculpture
data sonification
human-computer interaction
active/interactive/reactive installations

The Schedule

The class meets twice a week and (roughly) follows a four class cycle:

student research presentations
student works presentations

So each week we'll have one lecture and one batch of student presentations. That means that you'll do a presentation of either your research or your art work every week. The online lecture notes/schedule are here.

The Grades

Grading is as follows:

attendance: 25%
assignments: 25%
midterm project: 25%
final project: 25%

Come to class, do the assignments, do the two projects, and you have an A. Don't do all of that, and you don't have an A. Grading is purely mechanical, and does not involve the evaluation of your work.

This grading policy is designed to encourage you to stretch out and take chances with your work, as the success of your pieces is not related to your grade in the class.

The Studio Access

Taking this class gives you access to the equipment in 324 Prentis and 803 Dodge. To reserve a machine use the signup sheet at:

The username and password will be given to you on the first day of class. You may do your work anywhere you like and use whatever tools you want. You are not required to use any particular software, hardware, techniques, equipment, etc. However, you will need to present your work regularly in class, so take that into consideration when deciding how and where to do your work.

The End

(Have some fun!)