Tuesday, 4:00 - 10:00
BC206, Brown Center
Web site: http://www.zakros.com/
On-line course information: http://www.zakros.com/mica
When we consider
art from an historical perspective there are always new concepts to communicate
and new paradigms to define. Artists move across the boundaries of discipline
without shifting their identities. While artistic genres continue to evolve,
nothing is lost; conceptual approaches are reapplied and new ones introduced.
In this course, we will explore sound art as a complex multidimensional
medium situated in both physical and virtual space. The main objective
is to develop the appreciation and application of the many ways that musical
composers, sound artists, and visual artists have conceived of and developed
sound as a unique and powerful artistic medium.
Sound Art exposes
students to the evolution of sound art and avant-garde musical technique,
from the early 20th Century to the present. The course introduces artistic
strategies, narrative structures and compositional methodologies for the
creation of interactive sound installation, sound sculpture, networked
media, and live performance projects. The emphasis of the course is on
real-time systems of creating and generating sound, using the MAX/MSP
object oriented programming environment for the creation of interactive
The course will cover
key genres of sound art and musical composition that include: noise art,
musique concrete, sound poetry, serialism, minimalism, biofeedback, etc.
There will also be an extensive survey of contemporary composers and sound
artists, as well as those artists whose work demonstrates a recent trend
among visual and performance artists to embrace the artistic medium of
Required reading and listening
Selection of key
essays and works by pioneering composers and sound artists, as well as
contemporary media artists.
in class; end of the semester performances and installations; documentation
of sound projects on the Web.
Max / MSP
Max/MSP is a set
of graphical programming tools that has a broad range of artistic application
from electronic music to media installations. Originally developed at
IRCAM (the computer music institute
at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris) in the late 1980s, Max / MSP
has since formed the basis for a surging interest in interactive computer
music, and more recently has been used by sound and visual artists interested
in its capacity for real-time live performance and interactive installation
environments. The software is sold and developed by Cycling
Week 1 :
1/20 - Overture
– Review of course objectives, concepts, readings,
listening/viewing assignments, and projects.
An overview of
sound as art; interactive, real-time computer music; my own sound projects
for installation, live performance, and the Web: Arches,
- Overview of the Lab facility, including: the Macintosh Sound Control
Panel; audio input/output; headphones; recording and storage devices,
Overview of the
Max authoring environment; basic objects, and an introduction to real-time
signal processing. Max / MSP Tutorials: Max: 1 - 5 (messages, printing,
bang, numbers, metronome).
Assignments for Week 2
of Noises" by Futurist Luigi Russolo
di una Citta" by Luigi Russolo
how the artist uses noise as a means of artistic expression. What does
the piece evoke? How is it shaped? How would you describe it texturally?
What is the dramatic effect? Is it imitating nature, technology, etc?
- Review Max. Tutorials: Max : 1 -5
Week 2 : 2/3 - The Art of
– Noise as material for sound composition. Discussion
of Luigi Russolo,
his manifesto "The
Art of Noises," and his invention of Futurist noise instruments.
Overview of basic
principles in sound acoustics. Glossary
- Max / MSP Tutorials: Max : 7 - 10 (computation, data flow, controllers);
MSP: 1, (oscillators, frequency, amplifier); 9a, 10a, 11 (synthesis:
amplitude and frequency modulation)
Assignments for Week 3
Liberation of Sound" by Edgard Varèse
Selections from Playlist: Edgard Varèse:
a brief summary on Poéme Électronique.
- Review tutorials.
Week 3 : 2/10 - Zones of Intensities
– Methodologies, approaches, and technique in
the organization of sound. Discussion of the ideas and work of Edgard
Varèse. Graphical representation of sound in musical composition.
- Overview of MIDI
and Quicktime Music: History and use of MIDI; Quicktime Music &
General MIDI; OMS; MIDI commands: note, velocity, channels, program,
controllers, pitch bend; Max objects: keyboard, makenote, sliders, dials.
We will work with
Pete Yandell's SimpleSynth.
Download and burn on your CD so you can bring to class. Launch the application,
set the MIDI source to "from Max / MSP 1" and run in the background
while you are using Max. This will give you a synthesizer to use with
the qtmusic object.
for assignment: random
Levin, Dialtones: a Telesymphony
Assignments for Week 4
from Playlist: John Cage:
a brief summary on Cartridge Music.
- Assignment 1: Create an algorithmic composition in Max / MSP using
simplesynth which incorporates real-time control of pitch (note), amplitude
(loudness) spatialization (pan) and timbre (instrument). Use techniques
of indeterminacy: metro, random, slider range, together with user interaction.
The goal of the assignment is to combine algorithmic processes with
interactivity to achieve unpredictable, indeterminate musical events.
Week 4 : 2/17 - Indeterminacy
of the music of John Cage,
prepared piano, chance composition, and indeterminate structures in
the composition of sound and silence.1.
- Max / MSP tutorials: Max - using the Mac keyboard (20); send and receive
(24); and mousestate 39a.
Assignments for Week 5
- Complete algorithmic composition project
of Experimental Music" by John Cage
Listening: Selections from Playlist: Karlheinz Stockhausen,
Week 5 : 2/24 - Space-time
– Complete discussion of John Cage: indeterminacy,
chance and sound.
of the electronic music of German composer Karlheinz
Stockhausen, his use of formal techniques including serialism, pointillism,
etc. in the organization of musical time and timbre. Of particular interest
is the relationship between musical time and space, as demonstrated
in the composers works that employ spatial dimension as an integral
component of the work. We will also look at how the composer represents
sound in time in electronic music through the graphical score. Stockhausen
home page for more information on the composer.
– Algorithmic composition projects.
Guest," a graphic realization of Stockhausen "Studie II"
created in Max / MSP, located in the examples folder of the Max / MSP
- Groove object:
Assignments for Week 6
with David Tudor by Teddy Hultberg
Optional Reading: Interview
with Karlheinz Stockhausen (introduction) by Teddy Hultberg
Listening: Selections from Playlist: David Tudor
a brief summary of Rainforest
- Generate a graphic score (look at the Varèse
and Stockhausen for reference),
that suggests duration, amplitude, frequency, timbre, stereo positioning,
etc., and the change over time of these elements. Scan the graphic score
and save as a pict file. Follow your projected graphic score to generate
a real-time performance in Max / MSP. You may indicate time-points,
such as in the Stockhausen score, or, you may create a performance that
is scalable in time, in which a mark can last as long as you want, so
long as you follow its attributes, and durations are scaled consistently.
Indicate any special instructions you wish. Your Max / MSP patch needs
to be designed so that you can control all the parameters mentioned
above. You may construct your patch using the objects we have discussed
so far: synthesis, quicktime music, etc.
Week 6 : 3/2 - Real-time Interaction
– Discussion of the work of Karlheinz Stockhausen
and David Tudor and his investigation
of real-time performance interaction, installation environments and
by Karlheinz Stockhausen
V, by John Cage, performed by David Tudor
– Delay & feedback (tutorial 28). Work
on graphical score / real-time performance projects.
Assignments for Week 7
– Complete graphical score / real-time performance projects.
Week 7: 3/23 - Real-time Interaction
Assignments for Week 8
Remix project -
For our purposes, remixing is a process of appropriation, reuse, and
transformation. In the case of sound, audio is taken from its original
context (recordings, television, environment, etc.) and placed into
a new context where it is transformed according to the artist's specifications.
For this project, choose sound material from any source you like, bring
the sounds into max, fragment them for real-time manipulation, and generate
a new "sonic context," as articulated through a live performance.
You may choose spoken text, that is re-oriented to change its meaning;
you may take recorded music, and "remix" it beyond recognition;
you may take sounds from the environment, remixing to create an "imaginary
landscape," or anything else you can imagine. We will use exclusively
the Groove~ object in Max / MSP that allows for changes in speed, direction,
amplitude, start/stop point, looping, etc.
American Dream" an essay on a remix by DJ Spooky
Listening: Peter Trieb, Bits
& Pieces; Yeagh,
Remix of Howard Dean; other Howard
Dean remixes; Pharmakon.t, Amerika
Phones Home (Trace Reddell / DJRabbi),
Writing: Write a brief summary of reading.
Week 8 : 3/30 - Remixing
– Influenced by DJ and Hip-hop culture, as well
as the hypermediated technologies of the Web, sound artists such as
DJ Spooky, Peter Trieb, and others are sampling and remixing found material.
- Max / MSP Tutorials: Max - 32, 39 (tables and mouse control) MSP -
chorus and flange (effects processing)
Assignments for Week 9
- Complete remix projects.
Week 9 : 4/5 - Remixing
– Remix projects.
- Max / MSP tutorials: Max - 24, 26, 27 (distributing max messages);
MSP - delay (effects processing)
Final Project Assignment
Final Project -
It is up to each student to determine a final project to be created
in Max / MSP. Using methodologies and tools as introduced in the course,
your project should fall into one of two general areas:
(1) Live performance
- this involves creating a real-time composition, without or without
score, that will be performed live. The key is determining an overall
shape and general duration, in addition to building a user interface
that allows you to effectively perform the work according to sound structures,
processes, etc., that are programmed into the composition.
- you may also create an installation piece that does not necessarily
have a set "shape" or duration, but rather operates continuously
in relation to the physical space and the orientation of the viewer.
Given resources, we will setup one space with a stereo sound system
and a Macintosh computer and rotate all the installation projects. If
the piece is interactive, you will be responsible for designing and
finding resources. The goal would be to find interesting ways to engage
the viewer in the provided space, through the location of sound, construction
of narrative, transformation of the space, etc.
Develop final project
Week 10 : 4/12 - Spatial Transformation
– Artists are using sound to bring about the transformation of
our experience of space and architecture. Installations and performance
works by Pauline
Kuivala and Christina
Kubisch have been inserted into public and museum spaces to alter
our perception of those spaces, evoking memory, dream, and emotion.
Discuss final project
- Recording aiff files in MSP with sfrecord~.
Assignments for Week 11
Selection from Playlist: [User] Silophone
Write a brief summary of Silophone
Week 11 : 4/19 - Networked
– Discussion of music that transcends boundaries
of space and time, bridging real and virtual space. Projects will be
discussed including Telemusic
by Randall Packer, Global
String by Atau Tanaka, and Ping
by Chris Chafe and Greg Niemeyer.
- Streaming media: Realmedia, Quicktime streaming, encoding, live broadcasting,
Work on final project.
Assignments for Week 12
and the Internet" by Josephine Bosma from the Web journal "Crossfade."
Selections from Playlist: Atau Tanaka / Sensor Band, Global String
Write a brief summary of Global String
- Work on final project.
Week 12 : 4/26 - Topic tba
Assignments for Week 13
- Complete final project.
Week 13 : 5/3 - On-line Presentation
Assignments and Grading
Class Discussion and Presentation
time) is mandatory and will be incorporated into the grade. Each student
is required to participate in class discussion focusing on readings
and listening assignments.
Weekly assignments (30%)
Projects are assigned
each week, in which students experiment with new concepts and techniques
introduced in class, as well as write short summaries on reading and
listening assignments. These projects are not intended to be finished
work, but rather research-oriented exploration and aesthetic/technical
practice in sound composition.
Midterm and Final Projects
Midterm and final
projects will consist of finished pieces, exploring in depth an area
of investigation in sound art introduced in the course. The mid-term
project can consist of a short interactive performance piece created
in Max/MSP and presented in class. The final project will be up to you,
but also created in Max/MSP. The project can be for live performance,
CD, Web, or physical installation,. The main criteria is to explore
the conjunction of sound and media, the interplay between audio and
visual or spatial elements. Optionally, the final project can explore
a form of interaction with the listener/viewer. More information on
both projects will be discussed later in the semester.
Work must be stored
on a zip cartridge, firewire drive or CD. All files left on lab computers
will be erased. Headphones are required.
Everyone is required
to have an e-mail account. All written assignments will be handed in
electronically via email.
- Luigi Russolo;
The Art of Noise (1913); Futurist Manifestos, 1970
- Edgard Varèse,
The Liberation of Sound, 1936
- John Cage; History
of Experimental Music ; Silence, 1961
- Karlheinz Stockhuasen;
Interview from Seconds
- David Tudor; Interview
by Teddy Hultberg
- Bill Fontana;
Sound as Virtual Image
- Achim Wollscheid;
Does the Song Remain the Same?; Site of Sound: of Architecture
& the Ear, 1999
- Paul Miller aka
DJ Spooky; Warhol's American Dream
- Josephine Bosma,
Music and the Internet; Crossfade
- Todd Winkler,
Composing Interactive Music, MIT Press
- Brandon LaBelle
& Steve Roden; Site of Sound: of Architecture & the Ear,
Smart Art Press, 1998
- William Duckworth;
Talking Music: Conversations with John Cage, Philip Glass, Laurie Anderson,
and 5 Generations of American Experimental Composers, Da Capo Press,
- Douglas Kahn;
Noise, Water, Meat: A History of Sound in the Arts; MIT Press,
- Joel Chadabe;
Electric Sound: The Past and Promise of Electronic Music; Prentice
- Michael Nyman;
Experimental Music: Cage and Beyond, Cambridge University Press,
- John Cage; Silence;
Mit Press, 1961
- Neil Strauss;
Radiotext(e), Semiotext(e), 1993
- Alvin Lucier,
I'm Sitting in a Room, Lovely Music, 1970
- Bob Ostertag,
Burns Like Fire, Recdec Music, 1991
- Ikue Mori, The
Peony Lantern, Bitstreams, Whitney Museum of American Art, 2001
- DJ Spooky, ftp:>snd>,
Bitstreams, Whitney Museum of American Art, 2001
- Randall Packer,
Invisible Cities, Chronic Art
- Pamela Z, Geekspeek,
Bitstreams, Whitney Museum of American Art, 2001
- Pauline Oliveros,
Suiren, Deep Listening, New Albion Records, 1988
- Luigi Russolo,
di una Citta, "Futurism and Dada Reviewed," sub rosa
- Edgard Varèse;
Électronique, "Music of Edgard Varèse,"
- Karlheinz Stockhausen;
II, "Stockhausen (3): Elektronique Music,"
Stockhausen Verlag; Kontakte
- John Cage; Cartridge
Music, "John Cage: Music for Merce Cunningham" Mode
- Karlheinz Stockhausen;
Kontakte, "Stockhausen (3): Elektronique Music,"
- David Tudor; Rainforest,
"David Tudor" Mode Records
- Bill Fontana;
- [The User]; Silophone,
live networked sound installation
- Scanner; stopstarting,
remixed scanned sounds
- Atau Tanaka and
Sensorband; Global String, networked performance piece