Laptops and Performance (LaP-band)
Graduate Seminar, Fall 2008
Dan Trueman, Perry Cook, Scott Smallwood, with Rebecca Fiebrink
In this seminar, we will consider the musical, technical and aesthetic issues surrounding the use of laptops in performance, from the laptop soloist, to the laptop/instrument hybrid, to laptop ensembles from duos on up. While we will take in a few readings over the course of the semester, this will mostly be a hands-on course, dealing with both software and hardware issues. Topics will include: interfacing (sensors and conventional interface devices); mapping (controls and audio input to sound parameters); machine learning (a relatively new and particularly compelling approach to the problem of mapping); speakers; networking; software design (in whatever environments people are using, including ChucK, Max/MSP, and SuperCollider). While the focus is on laptops in performance, most of the topics will be directly relevant to installation uses of laptops as well, and we will of course venture off in directions inspired by seminar members.
We are hoping that this seminar will result in material and projects that can make there way into several upcoming performances, including collaborations with Matmos and So Percussion (at the Kitchen, April 10-11), with Laurie Anderson (who is doing an Atelier at Princeton in the Spring semester and would like to work with PLOrk or PLOrk subsets), with PLOrk (Richardson, May 15-16; this show will also have Matmos and So Percussion), and in an open informal performance that we have scheduled for January 17 in Taplin.
- primary meeting time: Th 1:30-4:20, Studio B, sometimes 102. Other than days when there are colloquia, we will follow seminar with CCCP (Communal Coding Commune Princeton) until 6:30 or so
- January 17; performance in Taplin
books and other readings
- PLOrk Reader; lots and lots of reading relevant to PLOrk and this seminar in general. please add as you see fit, and ask me for the password for protected papers if you can't guess it.
- Dan O'Sullivan's book on Physical Computing
- check out the proceedings from past NIME conferences (New Interfaces for Musical Expression) for ideas and general wackiness
some online places with laptop music (seminar members: please add to this!)
- if you haven't visited Perry's soundlab do so!
- Perry's Human-Computer Interfacing course is also relevant.
- there is a machine shop class offered in the Engineering Quad; useful primarily for metal-working, though wood and plastic is also possible. contact Larry McIntyre about taking this 5-week course to get access to the shop and learn your way around.
microcontroller and sensor stuff
- the CUI sensor interface, which we'll use a lot
- phidget sensors, which work directly with the CUI
- sparkfun accelerometer, which should work directly with CUI
- other sensors from sparkfun
- both this and the nano look promising
places to get stuff
- don't forget Radio Shack
- All Electronics is great!
- Goldmine Electronics
- great resource for speaker components (thanks seth!)
- DarwiinRemote_OSC Andreas Schlegel's OSC version of the Wii-sensing DarwiinRemote software (OSX). Comes with a really annoying ChucK code example, which i've modified to a MAUI version which posts incoming data to sliders.
- intro to UNIX
- Version of textwrangler hacked for ChucK. in the Preferences, do this: 1. select "languages"; 2. under "Suffix Mappings," hit the "Add" button; 3. set the suffix to ".ck" and under "language" choose C++. Basically, i hacked it to that it uses ChucK keywords instead of C++ keywords, so it'll be confusing if you actually try to hack C++ with this app. but you can always have two copies of Textwrangler and rename one of them. ChuckWranger?
Tentative Schedule and post-Seminar Notes
Week 1: 9/18
- discussion of readings
- Weidenbaum, M. 2006. Serial Port: A Brief History of Laptop Music. NewMusicBox, fun survey.
- Cascone, K. 2003. Grain, Sequence, System: Three Levels of Reception in the Performance of Laptop Music. Contemporary Music Review 22(4): 101–104.
- Ostertag, B. 2002. Human Bodies, Computer Music. Leonardo Music Journal 12: 11–14.
- Jaeger, T. 2003. The (Anti)-Laptop Aesthetic. Contemporary Music Review 22(4): 53–57.
- Trueman, D. 2007. Why a Laptop Orchestra? Organised Sound, 12:2.
- and an article just out in the New Yorker (thanks Cameron!).
- just the laptop....
Week 2: 9/25
- check out the NIME proceedings:
- Cook, P. Principles for Designing Computer Music Controllers. ACM CHI Workshop in New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME), Seattle, April 2001
- Jordà, S. 2004. Instruments and Players: Some Thoughts on Digital Lutherie. Journal of New Music Research 33(3):321-341.
Week 3: 10/02
- ChucK intensive
- don't forget the laptop!
- Fiebrink, R., G. Wang., and P. Cook. 2007. Don't Forget the Laptop: Using Native Input Capabilities for Expressive Musical Control. Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression. New York.
- perhaps some Max and/or Processing, with OSC
- maybe some introductory CUI stuff.
Week 4: 10/09
- dan will be gone this week; perry/rebecca/skot will lead
- prc does audio stuff in ChucK
- skot does some about his laptop performance work, textural layering, algorithmic stuff
- rebecca talks about easy input devices
- HID for trackpad, motion sensor, keyboard, and joystick
- Take a look at some 314 final projects from last spring
- But what can you DO with these inputs?
- simple mappings: events, thresholds (basic SMELT code)
- signal processing (e.g., SMELT trackpad conditioning, from crystalis/wind-o-lin)
- machine learning (e.g., SmirK)
Week 5: 10/16
- CUI and sensor stuff
- chuck hid example code
- chuck hid code i showed with the pendaphonics joystick pull thingy
- phidget sensors; plug and play, for the most part
- sparkfun accelerometer, though we also have a bunch of Teabox accelerometers (like i showed today) that can be used, if they are a little fat.
- USB sensors; these don't plug into the CUI, but directly into USB. good and bad: you need to download their drivers and use MAX to get the data in, but otherwise they are easy, and some interesting configurations.
- here is the game controller that Overholt hacked to use in pendaphonics; we have couple ready to try....
- here is the great hack to turn them into standard HiD devices
- here are some cables that can be used easily with the CUI; need to hack off one end and solder them to the sensors.
- a bluetooth speaker?
- adam finkelstein and katrin lang visit, with some thoughts about processing
- Max and ChucK talking to each other with OSC
- Processing and ChucK talking to each other with OSC
- I couldn't get the Processing code to work as is, so I changed it as follows [Mike]: Springs processing file revised
Week 6: 10/23
- brad garton (please check out his Book of Dreams, and perhaps his Music Book ) and curtis bahn (please check out some of the media on his website).
Week 7: 11/6
- Networking stuff
- also, freesound came up
Week 8: 11/13
- project brainstorming
- please come with as much as you can; something to try or show, if possible, and otherwise as much specific as you can
Week 9: 11/20
- machine learning and feature extraction stuff (rebecca)
- Handout: http://www.cs.princeton.edu/~fiebrink/misc/Classification_handout.pdf
- See http://smirk.cs.princeton.edu (classification infrastructure)
- See http://chuck.cs.princeton.edu/doc/program/uana.html (how to extract features using UAnae)
Week 10: 12/4
- More machine learning stuff with Rebecca
- Talk about project ideas, smirk, do some hacking
Week 11: 12/11
- go ahead, put stuff here that might be useful/interesting/hilarious/just stupid
- wiki page from last year's TechBand seminar
- an example of Wii'ing with Max
- Parallel code examples in SuperCollider and ChucK
- For Jascha's SC user folks: get Cottle book Good explanation of mul and add pp.85-88