Typically, Mondays, 4:00pm - 6:50pm in The Garage (1st class is Tuesday March 29 on ZOOM from 4:00pm - 6:50pm)
Instructor: Bryan Pardo
Wednesdays: 4:00pm - 6:0pm
Location: Francis Searle Building, room 1-122.
Directions: Go left (north) when you enter the building. Room 1-123 is the LAST door on the left. It is a glass door that says it is the dean’s office. Go through room 1-123 to reach room 1-122. Then look for the last (westmost) door on your right (north). That’s the room.
Digital Musical Instrument Design (formerly Digital Luthier) studies Human Computer Interaction through the lens of artistic creation. The course lies at the intersection of design, engineering, and musicianship. This course will introduce students to fundamentals of creating their own musical instruments using modern technology. We will explore the influence and feedback between the tool (e.g. an instrument), the tool user (a musician/producer), and the creative output (the music). Along the way, we will learn about user interaction design, embedded computing (using arduino), sensor technology, signal creation and interpretation (using Max/MSP or PureData), and musicality (using your sensibilities as a musician). Students will create a new musical instrument by the end of the course and the final examination will be a performance using their instrument.
Please use CampusWire for class-related questions. I get way too much email. Email me and…well….it may be a while before you hear back.
Assignments must be submitted on the due date by the time specified on Canvas. If you are worried you can’t finish on time, upload a safety submission an hour early with what you have. I will grade the most recent item submitted before the deadline. Late submissions will not be graded. If you don’t do an assignment, no worries…you can still earn 10 points of extra credit. See below.
You can earn up to 110 points. You will be graded on a 100 point scale (e.g. 93 to 100 = A, 90-92 = A-, 87-89 = B+, 83-86 = B, 80-82 = B-, 77-79 = C+, 73-76 = C, 70-72 = C-…and so on).
Classroom participation allows for up to 10 points of extra credit. See below.
You will submit 10 reviews of readings/videos/music from the course website. Each will be a single-page reaction to something you read/watched/heard from the links provided below. Each review will be worth 2 points.
Each week, you are expected to show up, have reviewed the materials and be able to discuss ideas. Every week you show up and substantially contribute to the discussion, you get 1 point. If you don’t show up or you don’t say anything that week, you don’t get the point.
There will be a series of preparatory exercises: reviewing existing instruments, making a max patch, making something react to a hardware controller, etc.
You will make/modify/create a digital music instrument. “Digital instrument” will be construed broadly. If you know deep learning, this may mean modifying a music creation deep net or adding a cool interface to it. If you know hardware hacking that might mean adding digital reactivity to an acoustic instrument. If you want to make an installation piece, that’s a possibility. If you want to make something crazy, I’m listening, but you’ll have to convince me. We will negotiate the specifics of the project as you develop it.
|1-10||1 point per week class participation||10|
|2||4 written reviews of reading/viewing||8|
|3||Compare 3 musical instruments||6|
|3||Video review of an instrument||5|
|4||Video of your Makey-makey instrument||5|
|4||3 written reviews of reading/viewing||6|
|5||Your max patch + video||6|
|7||3 written reviews of reading/viewing||6|
|7||Video: max patch reacting to arduino||10|
|8||Final Project Proposal||10|
|9||In-class Project Progress Report||10|
|11||Final instrument demo||16|
|11||Website & video||16|
Introductions, Overview of course, Music Instruments & Music Culture
Max Tutorial 1: basics
Discussion of last week’s readings
How to evaluate tools for enhancing creativity?
Max tutorial 2: Making a drum sound.
Discussion/disection of musical instruments you reviewed.
The feedback loop between instrument makers and musicians.
Max tutorial 3: Making a max patch
Artist talk: Stephan Moore
Max tutorial 3: Making a Max patch.
Miller Puckett (creator of Max)gives an overview of thedevelopment of Max
Coding tools for music creation
Getting started with Arduinos. Breadboarding your controller
It’s all about hardware: more Arduino stuff, Exploring different kinds of sensors, crimping and soldering
Read up on the AI Song Contest
Guest talks and panel discussion featuring:
Moises Horta, a Mexican/American audio-visual artist based in Berlin (GMT +1) that uses deep learning models to create performances and installations.
Anna Huang, a research scientist at Google Brain with an appointment at MILA and is based in Montreal (GMT -4). She makes deep learning tools for musical co-creation, like Google’s Bach Doodle.
Aaron Hertzmann is a principal scientist at Adobe and has both developed many computational visual art tools and also written and talked extensively about what it means to create art with intelligent tools.
It’s all about your work! Class discussion on your new, more realistic, instrument designs
It’s all about your work! Reporting progress on your proejct.
No class. Memorial day
Final performance & demo.
Final website and video due by 5pm