Computer Music

Columbia University
Spring, 2005 -- G6611Y
Brad Garton/Michael Klingbeil/Terry Pender/Luke DuBois

course syllabus
general resources

We're going to try something a little different this term. Instead of introducing marvelous new concepts of algorthmic interactive control and snazzy synthesis techniques, each with a nifty little 'demo' program or two showing some basic use, we're going to subsume everything into a single bold and exciting musicl adventure.

We're gonna write a piece! We're gonna write a piece! "Music by Committee" -- yeah, dat's da ticket.

Check the syllabus; each week we will explore some fantastically amazing fun new thing we'll contribute to our masterwork. What a term this will be!


Class meets on Tuesdays n 313 Prentis from 5:45 to about 8 or so. We can't really say too much more about the structure, because we're making it up as we go along.

Such is life.

We'll probably be using these to acocmplish our worthy musical goal:

and maybe some of these: and who knows? perhaps even these:

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, CSOUND, JSyn and SuperCollider are all free for developers to use. Check the resources page for links to the download sites.


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). 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). I will usually be around before or after (except when I have to frantically drive like a maniac to get home) class. Michael and Terry and Luke live at the CMC. Sorta.

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-music 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!

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!