CCOG for MUC 271 Spring 2024

Course Number:
MUC 271
Course Title:
Audio Programming II: Intermediate Max/MSP
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Provides intermediate experience with the visual programming language Max/MSP and the practice of creative coding for music and sound design. Prerequisites: MUC 270.

Addendum to Course Description

As of Fall 2015, the Professional Music Department endorses Electronic Music and Sound Design: Theory and Practice with Max and MSP, vol. II as a textbook.

Ultimately, the instructor of record is entrusted with textbook selection, but is expected to consult with the Department Chair to ensure curricular alignment and program coherence.The approved text is difficult, and it is essential the instructor cover the information in an accessible manner.

This course introduces students to sophisticated and abstract content. The course is intended for students who have successfully completed Audio Programming I. Students are, therefore, expected to gain an intermediate facility with the language. Nonetheless, this course is designed for creatives--students realizing creative visions with coding as one of their materials--and not a computer science course. Assignments and standards should be established accordingly.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students will be able to:

  • Define and use basic and intermediate functions of Max/MSP to generate and create and sculpt new sounds and to design custom audio tools.
  • Design flexible, powerful, and navigable user interfaces (UIs) for custom tools, including custom hardware interfaces.
  • Articulate and employ principles of sound spatialization - multichannel panning, ambisonics and binaural techniques.
  • Employ programmatic/procedural non-linear sound design for immersive world design.
  • Demonstrate advanced theoretical knowledge of sound, acoustics, psychoacoustics, analysis, and a wide variety synthesis techniques (including physical modeling, additive, granular, wavetable, FFT based resynthesis and spectral processing).
  • Implement data sonification, utilizing rich data-sources to control sound and light experiences.
  • Demonstrate working knowledge of OSC, MIDI, Serial, HTTP protocols.

Aspirational Goals

  • Students gain levels of comfort that allow them to play freely with confidence with Max/MSP. The language of visual programming begins to feel more native.
  • Students begin to imagine more sophisticated sounds and tools and to realize their visions with Max/MSP
  • Students have a deep understanding of advanced sound design concepts and creative tools.

Course Activities and Design

  • Lectures
  • Implementation of lessons with Max/MSP
  • Completion of regular, basic coding assignments
  • Development of individual coding projects (projects the students come up with) and implementation under the guidance of the instructor
  • Sharing of individual projects with peers and peer discussion
  • Capstone project (audio tool, instrument or composition)

Outcome Assessment Strategies

  • Instructor and peer evaluation of completed projects
  • Iterative project design / feedback

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  • Digital sound, intermediate physics of sound

  • Psychoacoustics and perception

  • Spatialization, 2 channel panning

  • Multi-channel spatialization, ambisonic and linear multi-channel panners, binaural audio

  • FFT analysis/resynthesis and spectral processing / convolution

  • Additive synthesis

  • Physical Modelling

  • Wavetable synthesis

  • Granular synthesis

  • Procedural/non-linear sound design

  • Data sonification