DIGITAL LUTHIER, Northwestern University EECS 495-050 (SAI 402-0-21) spring 2018
Loctation: The Garage
Typically, Mondays, 2:30pm - 5:30pm (1st class is Wed April 4 2:30pm - 5:30pm) PLUS all day 9am - 5pm on Saturday May 5 and Sunday May 6
Instructor: Bryan Pardo
Office hours: Thursday 1-3pm. Ford building, room 3-323
TA: Ethan Manilow
Office hours: Friday, 2 - 4pm. Ford building, room 3-210
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. NOTE: As a requirement of the course, students must attend a 2-day all-weekend hardware hacking for music workshop in May.
Week 1: Wednesday April 4, 2:30 - 5:30pm
2 points: Introduce yourself & pick an instrument
Overview of course Music Instruments & Music Culture
Try toy instruments
6 points: Critique 3 DIFFERENT instruments (one common, one rare, your toy)
4 points: Record 2 DIFFERENT one-minute pieces on your toy instrument
Week 2: Monday, April 9 2:30 - 5:30pm
3 points: Students each give a 2 minute toy instrument critique & demo
Max tutorial: Installing Max. Making a drum sound.
9 points: Review of the following readings:
Week 3: Monday, April 16 2:30 - 5:30pm
3 points: Discussion of readings assigned in Week 2. Speak up or you don’t get the points!
6 points: Your instrument evaluation framework 4 points: make a video of yourself playing a new instrument
Week 4: Monday, April 23 2:30 - 4:00pm + Alternate time TBA
1 point: discussion of the important considerations when designing an instrument
2 points extra credit: Attend workshop on sonification of images for art by Robleto and Feaster (see Canvas)
3 points: Design an instrument
3 points: review the following Reading:
Week 5: Monday, April 30 2:30 - 5:30pm
GUEST SPEAKER Prof. Mike Horn
3 points: Brainstorm an idea for something you might build at the workshop.
3 points: Pick any one of the following papers and review it
Fyans & Gurevich - Perceptions of Skill in Performances with Acoustic and Electronic Instruments
Fyans, Gurevich & Stapleton - Examining the Spectator Experience
Gurevich - Digital Musical Interactions: Performer–system relationships and their perception by spectators
HARDWARE HACKING WEEKEND WORKSHOP: Saturday & , May 5 & 6, 9:00am - 5:00pm
The workshop will provide arduino hardware, sensors of many kinds and the instruction needed to put a controller together. You will need to provide your own computer, have some knowledge of programming and a lot of energy and creativity. Together we will make amazing interactive installations and instruments! (note 10 points per day for full attendance and participation)
Week 6: Monday, May 7 2:30 - 5:30pm
GUEST SPEAKER Prof. Michale Gurevich
5 points: Initial instrument design for your final project.
1 point: read Elaine Chew on musical structure
2 points: Read At the Guthman Competition, innovative instruments just might predict the future of music. Watch the videos on the 2017 winners. Give your opinions about the strengths and weaknesses on your two favorite winners.
Week 7: Monday, May 14 2:30 - 5:30pm
GUEST SPEAKER Prof. Elaine Chew
3 points: Pitch your instrument ideas in class
5 points: Updated instrument design
Week 8: Monday, May 21 2:30 - 5:30pm
Week 9: Monday, May 28 2:30 - 5:30pm
** NO CLASS. IT’S MEMORIAL DAY **
Week 10: Monday, June 4 2:30 - 5:30pm
10 points: Final performance & demo.
Final exam: Wednesday, June 13: 3PM-5PM
10 points: Final website and video due at 3pm