MUMT 307: Music & Audio Computing II

Music Technology, Schulich School of Music
McGill University

Winter 2024

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. A-723, 527 Sherbrooke Street West
Phone:  514-398-8591
Office Hours:  By appointment

Course Details

Time:  Tuesdays 1:35 - 4:25 PM
Place:  E-215
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.

Grading and Policies

Attendance and punctuality: It is expected that you will be punctual and attend all classes. If you miss any, it is your responsibility to find notes from a classmate. Excessive absences or tardiness will compromise your grade. E-mail communications with teaching staff should be courteous and professional. Aim for brief, to-the-point messages, and plan ahead: allow a reasonable amount of time for responses.

There will be two "in-class" exams, each consisting of a one-hour written section and a two-hour computer-based section. If the course is offered remotely at the time of either of these exams, the exam will be conducted remotely as well. 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):  45%
Homework (8):  30%
Final Project (1):  20%
Participation/Attendance:  5%

The "participation/attendance" grade will be based on attendance at class sessions as well as attentiveness/participation in class discussions. Grading curves will be applied if deemed appropriate. Work submitted for evaluation as part of this course may be checked with text-matching software within myCourses. In the event of extraordinary circumstances beyond the University's control, the content and/or evaluation scheme in this course is subject to change.

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 in the development stages of the project. Short project progress discussions will occur in class during the 6th and 10th weeks of the semester. Final presentations will occur during the last class of the semester. A short web-based project report 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 (9 January): Signal Metrics, Envelopes, Spectra, Audio Processing in Matlab
Week 2 (16 January): Digital Filters and Delay Lines
Week 3 (23 January): Digital Effects and Reverberation
Week 4 (30 January): Wave Tables, Granular Synthesis
Week 5 (6 February): Additive Synthesis, Bandlimited Signal Generation
Week 6 (13 February): Frequency-Domain Analysis, Project Discussion #1
Week 7 (20 February): Exam #1
Week 8 (27 February): STK & ChucK Introduction
Study Break (5 March): No Class
Week 9 (12 March): Amplitude Modulation, FM Synthesis
Week 10 (19 March): Modal Synthesis, Physical Modeling, Project Discussion #2
Week 11 (26 March): Frequency-Domain Processing & Resynthesis
Week 12 (9 April): Exam #2
Week 13 (TBD): Final Project Presentations

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

Please read the Guidelines for teaching and learning and this course outline. You will be notified through a "pop-up" box in Zoom if part of a class is being recorded. By remaining in sessions that are recorded, you agree to the recording, and you understand that your image, voice, and name may be disclosed to classmates. You also understand that recordings will be made available in myCourses to students registered in the course.

© Instructor-generated course materials (e.g., handouts, notes, summaries, exam questions) are protected by law and may not be copied or distributed in any form or in any medium without explicit permission of the instructor. Note that copyright infringements can be subject to follow-up by the University under the Code of Student Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures.

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Maintained by Gary P. Scavone.