Electronic Musical Instrument Design

Spring, 2015 • Assignments

Assignment is due on specified date

April 7 (Tuesday, 6 pm)

Written reports and team evaluation
Each student does an individual report.
Refer to reports in course pack for what they should include: design goals, parts used, circuit modifications, and functionality of the Max patch and Reason rack. What you would have done differently, and what you would do in the future if you were to continue on the same project.
Also include (this will be kept confidential) a summary of which team members did which tasks, and how well they fulfilled their roles. Also include whether you think there were skills underrepresented in your group, and whether you would have any problems working with any of your team members again.

April 1

Read in course pack: "Banging out the Beats"

March 23

Read: NIME articles

March 8 (Sunday) Email the instructor your first project preliminary proposal before 11 pm.

March 9
Read: in course pack
: "The griDJ MIDI grid system"
Read: in course pack: “The Laser Harp”
Read: in course pack: Wiimote article
Read online:
View these videos:

March 10 (Tuesday) Midterm exam due either by email or in Prof. Lehrman's mailbox in the music department main office.

March 3 (Tuesday), due before 6 pm:
Download this Gesture/sensor list. Think of sensors for each movement. Fill in the list and e-mail it to the instructor.

March 4:
Lab: do a more complex Max patch using a keyboard or MPD for input.

Mar 2

Read: in course pack, "The Wind Cries MIDI"

Lab: Do Max Tutorial>Data>List Processing (it's long)
Lab: Do Max Tutorials>Basics>
        Encapsulation, Remote Messaging, Timing, Controlling Data Flow.

Feb 25

Read: article on variable resistors, on site
Read: Electronics Club article on switches: http://electronicsclub.info/switches.htm
Read: Article on Sharp IR sensors: http://www.acroname.com/robotics/info/articles/sharp/sharp.html
Read: Analog Devices paper on capacitive sensing, on site
Read on the Sparkfun site:

Feb 23

Lab: Create an original Max patch using the MPD or Novation keyboard (setup 15), linked to Reason. Remap notes and controllers as you like in Max.
Read: sensorsandcircuits.pdf, through page 10, EEs read to page 24
Read: Roberto Aimi’s PowerPoint presentation), sensors4music2008.ppt.htm, online

Feb 19

Read in course pack: Samchillian paper
Read: Lehrman, Report on NIME 2005 for SoundOnSound (long version) online
Read in course pack: Lehrman, Performing Musician, NIME 2009

Feb 18

Read: Reason 6.5 Operation manual, chapter 32 (p.633)
Lab: do something with one of the MPD26 controllers and one or more Reason modules.
Lab: Do Max Tutorials. In Max 6.1, go to Help>Welcome to Max> Documentation>Tutorials (upper right)>Max Tutorials>
Basic tutorials 1-8
MIDI tutorials 1-3
Do not Save over Tutorial patches!! (use Save As... if you want to save them)

If you want to install Max on your own computer (30-day demo), download it here.
Here are the demo patches shown in class.

Feb 9

Lab (due Feb 11): Make a Subtractor patch, starting from scratch or from another patch, that uses the Impulse controls in an interesting way.
Read on computers/site/Google drive: Reason 5 Getting Started , chapter 3 (p.28), and Reason 6.5 Operation manual chapter 29 (p.541).
Read online: Lehrman, Report on NIME for SoundOnSound
Read in course pack: Lehrman, Performing Musician, NIME 2009
Read in course pack: Electronic Musician, "Banging Out the Beats"

Jan 28

Read: What Is MIDI part 3
Read in course pack: Synth School
Read online: Tanaka 2011 pdf

Jan 26

Read in course pack:
• Profile: Michel Waisvisz
• article from Electronic Musician "The Outer Limits"—it's long!
• booklet: "What Is MIDI?", parts 1 and 2 (if you haven't taken Music 64 or 65)

Create a table of physical gestures. Include at least three gestures for each of these parts of the body:
Head       Mouth       Neck & Shoulders       Arms
Hands & Fingers       Torso & Hips       Legs       Feet

Columns on the table are:
      • physical gesture
      • musical gesture in common use (can be more than one)
      • musical gesture you can imagine (can be more than one)
Template (feel free to use it) is here.
Submit your assignment as a Word document e-mailed to the instructor before Sunday 9 pm.

Jan 21

Read in course pack:
• Wilkinson chapters 1 ("Musical Physics" pp 2-5) and 2 "Synthesis" (pp 9-15, up to "Physical Modeling"). Even if you have read this for another class, it's good to review it anyway!
• "Bikes Harps & Yo-Yos " (also on line here [pdf])
• “The Fanciest Washboard…” (also online here)