Basic Electroacoustics II

Columbia University
Spring, 2009 -- G6602Y
Brad Garton and Francisco Iovino

course syllabus

I'm certain that we are attempting to do way too much this term, but what the heck. Our goals are to:

These are also an excuse to cover languages and compositional environments like RTcmix, ChucK, Processing, OpenMusic, Lisp, SuperCollider and of course Max/MSP/Jitter. Probably about halfway through the term we will realize that there is NO POSSIBLE WAY we can cover everything we'd like, so consider the syllabus as a fluid and amorphous post-modern document. hey hey!


Class meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays in room 313 Prentis from 3:10 to about 5 or so. The Thursday class will be run as a 'lab' session enabling you to do one-on-one work with us, because we plan to move rather quickly in the course. We'll be throwing a lot of information at you, and we don't want you to feel totally overwhelmed.

Here's some useful links right off the bat:

It is not essential that you work exactly the same way we demonstrate in class -- Any/all of the languages mentioned above are fair game for you to use. As much as possible, we will try to use public-domain or shareware programs in the class. RTcmix, Processing, ChucK, SuperCollider, OpenMusic and Lisp are all free for developers to use.


Nearly all of the CMC studios and hardware resources are available for you to use in this class. If you prefer to work on your own computer using applications you find comfortable, that's perfectly fine. Otherwise you may sign up studios and machines for doing your work at the CMC using our on-line signup system (this link is also located on the resources page). [NOTE: this resources page is currently a bit dated, fixed soon!] If you are having trouble getting access to the hardware or software you need to work, please let us know! The CMC is intentionally in a state of perpetual flux, reflecting the rapid evolution of the field of computer music. Our primary guide for the kinds of hardware and software investments we need to make comes from you, our happy students!

At this point, we assume that you sort-of know your way around our studios and hardware. Please let us know if you are having problems gaining access to our facilities or getting equipment to work for you.


The course syllabus is located here.

I'll try to keep up with linking in class patches and examples, but I may fall behind. Yell at me when I do.

Contact Information

The best way to reach us is through e-mail: If the machines are in flames and our e-mail server is down, you can also contact me via: garton-at-columbia-dot-edu. I will also be holding semi-official office hours from 10:30 AM-12:00 noon on Wednesdays in Dodge (my Dodge office is room 807). Both Francisco and I can schedule alternative times, too. Plus there is the wonderful Thursday "lab" sessions.

It's always a good idea to make an appointment to see me, even during my purported office hours, because I often have to run around campus like a maniac doing strange, computer-musicy stuff. You can also call on the phone, but please refrain from calling my home much after 11:00 PM or my wife will mutter evil curses that will affect Your Future. Relevant phone numbers are:


Grades will be based mainly on the final project you do, and of course they will be completely subjective and based on our own personal whims -- so ya better treat us right! We're going to be taking the final projects a lot more seriously this term, so be thinking about a good one...

I say this every year, and generally people believe it (I think): by this point in your career the last thing you should be worrying about is a grade. The main thing is to find something that you'd really like to do and then do it. Please don't try to impress us with your consummate knowledge and skill, we are more impressed by people who do things. Honest!

Hope you enjoy the class!