MUMT 307: Music & Audio Computing II

Music Technology, Schulich School of Music
McGill University

Winter 2016

Course Description

This course is a continuation of MUMT 306: Music and Audio Computing I. Various sound synthesis and processing techniques will be studied. Exercises will focus on the development of programming skills for the implementation of real-time audio applications. Students will learn how to implement sound synthesis and audio processing algorithms in Matlab, C++, and Max/MSP, with a quick introduction to ChucK.

Instructor: Gary P. Scavone

Office:  Rm. 504, Suite 500, 550 Sherbrooke Street West
Phone:  398-4400, x-089843
Office Hours:  By appointment

Course Details

Time:  Tuesdays 1:35 - 4:25 PM
Place:  E-215 (MTCL)
Credits:  3
Prerequisites:  MUMT 306, C++ or other object-oriented programming experience, curiosity and creativity beneficial
Texts:  Computer Music: Synthesis, Composition, and Performance by Dodge & Jerse, 2nd Edition, Wadsworth Publishing, 1997.


There will be two in-class exams, each consisting of a one-hour closed-book written section and a two-hour open-book computer-based section. Assignment due dates will be indicated for each homework. The grade of a late homework will be reduced by 20% per day after the due date. Homework handed in 5 or more days late will be given a grade of 0.

Exams (2):  40%
Homework:  30%
Final Project:  25%
Participation/Attendance:  5%

Final Projects

There will not be a final exam for this class. Instead, students are required to work on a final project of their own design. The final project provides students the opportunity to pursue a more in-depth study of a particular aspect of the class that they are most interested in. Group projects are possible with the instructor's approval. Project topics should relate to the course material and might include an electro-acoustic composition, the development of a C/C++ application, or the use of an existing software package (Max/MSP, STK, Matlab) to achieve an interesting music synthesis task. Students are encouraged to consult with the instructor and/or TA in the development stages of the project. Short, 5-10 minute, project progress reports will be required in class during the 5th and 10th weeks of the semester. Final presentations will occur during the last class of the semester. A short project report, written in HTML, detailing the objectives, methodology, and results will be due at the presentation session. Grading will be based in part on effort, organization and creativity in pursuing the project objectives.

Course Outline

Week 1 (12 January): Signal Metrics, Envelopes, Spectra, Audio Processing in Matlab
Week 2 (19 January): Digital Filters and Delay Lines
Week 3 (26 January): Digital Effects and Reverberation
Week 4 (2 February): Wave Tables, Granular Synthesis
Week 5 (9 February): Additive Synthesis, Bandlimited Signal Generation, Project Report #1
Week 6 (16 February): STK & ChucK Introduction
Week 7 (23 February): Exam #1
Study Break (1 March): No Class
Week 8 (8 March): Amplitude Modulation, FM Synthesis
Week 9 (15 March): Modal Synthesis, Physical Modeling
Week 10 (22 March): Frequency-Domain Analysis, Project Report #2
Week 11 (29 March): Frequency-Domain Processing & Resynthesis
Week 12 (5 April): Exam #2
Week 13 (12 April): Final Project Presentations

Homework, Labs, & Links

In accord with McGill University's Charter of Students' Rights, students in this course have the right to submit in English or in French any written work that is to be graded.

McGill University values academic integrity. Therefore all students must understand the meaning and consequences of cheating, plagiarism and other academic offences under the Code of Student Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures (see for more information).

L'université McGill attache une haute importance à l'honnêteté académique. Il incombe par conséquent à tous les étudiants de comprendre ce que l'on entend par tricherie, plagiat et autres infractions académiques, ainsi que les conséquences que peuvent avoir de telles actions, selon le Code de conduite de l'étudiant et des procédures disciplinaires (pour de plus amples renseignements, veuillez consulter le site

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Maintained by Gary P. Scavone.