COS/MUS 314 spring2014

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General Information

Welcome to COS/MUS 314 for Spring 2014. Resistance is futile.

In addition to YOU, the following are involved in teaching this course:

  • Jeffrey Snyder, Technical Director, Princeton Computer Music Studios, Director of PLOrk, Associate Research Scholar
  • Katie Wolf, PhD Candidate, Computer Science
  • Dave Molk, PhD Candidate, Music Composition

Other Important People whose names will come up

  • Perry Cook and Dan Trueman, professors and PLOrk founders
  • Ge Wang, PLOrk founder, creator of ChucK, now leads rival Stanford LOrk
  • Rebecca Fiebrink, CS professor and PLOrk expert
  • Dan Iglesia, former visiting lecturer and computer music guru

Laptop Configuration

Download Chuck at [1] and purchase Max at [2]. Please purchase the 12-month authorization for $59.00. This cost is in lieu of a textbook, although we recommend purchasing the textbook in the resources section below.



  • Lectures on Mondays and Wednesday from 3:00-4:20pm, Woolworth 106

Important Dates

  • Class begins: February 3
  • Spring break: Week of March 17
  • TBD: final project presentations (public event)


  • Be sure you're on the piazza list.
  • We recommend purchasing the eBook: Programming for Musicians and Digital Artists by Ajay Kapur, Perry Cook, Spencer Salazar, and Ge Wang which can be found here.
  • PLOrk Reader; lots and lots of reading relevant to PLOrk and this seminar in general. please add as you see fit, and ask us for the password for protected papers if you can't guess it.
  • See the extensive list of resources at the Fall 2007 Wiki for starters.

COS/MUS 314 Info

office hours

  • Jeff: (josnyder AT princeton ) by appointment
  • Katie: (kewolf AT princeton) by appointment
  • Dave: (dmolk AT princeton) by appointment

Tentative lecture schedule

  • 2/3: Intro to the ChucK Universe
    • Brief intro to digital audio: sampling and analog/digital conversion
    • Brief intro to miniAudicle & ChucK!
    • Coding in ChucK 101
      • See Rebecca's handout on ChucK basics
      • patches, unit generators, and the dac
      • primitive types (int, float) and numerical constants
      • calling functions of UGens
      • the Std.mtof special function
      • controlling time in ChucK
      • sporking
    • code:
    • Listening Assignment 1 assigned, due 2/5/14 by class time
    • Programming Assignment 1 assigned, due 2/9/14 at 11:59PM
  • 2/5: Electronic Music History Part 1 and synthesis
    • Listening Assignment 2 assigned, due 2/12/14 by class time
  • 2/10: Further ChucK and synthesis
  • 2/12: Further ChucK
    • discussion of listening assignment 2
    • while loops, control structures in ChucK
    • Programming Assignment 2 extended to 2/18/14 11:59PM
  • 2/17: Further Max
    • discussion of programming assignments
    • counter, metro, random, Max controls
    • Listening Assignment 3 assigned, due 2/19/14 by class time
    • Programming Assignment 3 assigned, due 2/24/14 by class time
  • 2/19: Extra Max
    • More demos and discussion of programming assignment 2
    • More MAX!


There will be no exams in this course. Your grade will be based on these components:

  • Class Participation: 10%
  • Listening Assignments: 20%
  • Programming Assignments: 30%
  • Midterm Project: 15%
  • Final Project: 25%

Listening Assignments

  • Listening Assignment 2: due 2/12/14 (bring in a paper copy to class)
  • Listening Assignment 3: due 2/19/14 (bring in a paper copy to class)
    • Two options for listening assignment #3:
      • 1. Come to the concert on 2/18 at 8pm, in Taplin Auditorium in Fine Hall. It's a concert of new music for string quartet and electric guitar quartet by composers here at Princeton. Nothing is particularly electronic, but it will be useful simply to think about musical properties -- attend the concert and choose one piece to write a paragraph about. Write about which of those parameters listed in Assignment #2 that you think the composer of the piece was focusing on. What do you think the composer was aiming for with the piece? How was that effect achieved?
      • 2. If you can't make it to the concert (very short notice!) then the other option is: Listen to John Cage's "Cartridge Music" in two versions: [3] and [4] Which of those parameters listed in Assignment #2 do you think the composer of the piece was focusing on? Think of a few objects that you would choose to put contact microphones on if you were making your own version of the piece, and try to describe what you imagine they would sound like.

Programming Assignments

  • Assignment 1: due 2/10/14
    • Full assignment is posted on the course's Blackboard Assignments page
  • Assignment 2: due 2/16/14 11:59pm - extended to 2/18/14 11:59pm
    • Full assignment is posted on the course's Blackboard Assignments page