Mario Marlon Schumacher


Digital Composition Studios: E-515


TR (Thursday) 13:35 – 16:25


Course Webpage


McGill’s myCourses

Teaching Assistant:

Duncan Schouten

Office Hours:

TU (Tuesday) 14:00-16:00 (E-515)




MUCO342 or permission of the instructor

Course Description:

(3 hours lecture-demonstration + 3 hours studio time)

Advanced topics in digital studio composition. Aesthetics and poetics of electroacoustic composition. Analytical approaches to this repertoire. Use of digital signal processing and synthesis techniques. Creation of complete pieces incorporating music technology which may include a live performance component.

Software (available at the Digital Composition Studios):

  • Performance Environment: Max 6, Third-party externals
  • DAW: Apple Logic Pro + Various Plugin Bundles (Waves, TC, etc.)
  • IRCAM Forum Software (Audiosculpt, SuperVP, etc.)
  • CIRMMT Live Electronics Framework


No textbook is required. Readings from various sources will be assigned during the term and can be found either on the course webpage or on Music reserve (Library).


  • Class Contribution: 15 %
  • Term Work: 30 %
  • Listening Quiz: 10 %
  • Theory Examination: 15 %
  • Final Project 30 %

Note: Class Contribution includes discussion of weekly assignments, summaries of readings and an in-class presentation of a piece for instrument and live electronics. Attendance is mandatory.


Assignment / presentations

25 min.

Laboratory (technical topics, programming)

90 min.

Compositional topics, theory & aesthetics

30 min.

Discussion / assignment

10 min.

Term Work:

Term Work will consist of weekly assignment, which might include programming exercises, short summaries of readings, analysis/discussion of musical examples. Weekly assignments will be explained during the lecture and are due Tuesday midnight before the following class. Late assignments will not be considered.


  • Midi-based live electronics study
  • Listening Test on the pieces available on the course webpage
  • Theory Examination on MaxMSP + CLEF

Final Project:

Your Final project will be a 5-minute composition for solo instrument and live electronics, i.e. including real-time signal processing of the instrumental part during the performance of your piece. The instrumental part (i.e. live audio input) will be simulated using a sound file that you can prepare using audio editing techniques (splicing, cutting, etc.), however, no additional effects or processing. For the composition of the live-electronics part you will use the CLEF software, a higher-level composition and performance framework developed at CIRMMT and used for this course.


This is a computer music course. The use of laptops in class is encouraged, however exclusively for class-related work (no browsing, social media, etc.).

Important Dates:

Class 6 (October 9):

MIDI study Exam

Class 11 (November 6):

Listening Test

Class 13 (November 27):

Theory Exam

“Exam Day” (December 19):

Final Project

 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 www.mcgill.ca/students/srr/honest/ for more information).
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