PLOrk spring2013

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General Information

Welcome to COS/MUS 314 for Spring 2013. You will be assimilated into PLOrk, resistance is futile.

In addition to YOU, the following are involved in teaching these courses:

  • Daniel Iglesia, Visiting Lecturer/ Visiting Director of PLOrk
  • Jeffrey Snyder, Technical Director, Princeton Computer Music Studios, Associate Director of PLOrk
  • Konrad Kaczmarek, graduate student, Assistant Director of PLOrk

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

Laptop Configuration

In an astounding break from previous semesters, we will _not_ be doing the initial plork computer setup. We hope that all pieces will instead be double-clickable standalone applications. It is a big hope. We'll see how it goes, this may change!



Precepts WILL be held the first week of class!!

  • Precepts (actually the real lecture) on TUESDAYS from 7:30-9:20pm, Woolworth 106 (for 314) and Studio B (second floor, for 316)
  • WEDNESDAY rehearsal from 1:30-4:20pm, McAlpin and other rooms in Woolworth, when we break into smaller groups.

Important Dates

  • Class begins: February 5
  • Spring break: Week of March 18
  • April 24rd: dress rehearsal and performance in Taplin Auditorium
  • May 17: final project presentations (public event)


  • 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.
  • Be sure you're on the PLOrk314-316 mailing list.
  • See the extensive list of resources at the Fall 2007 Wiki for starters.

COS/MUS 314 Info

office hours

  • Dan I. (daniel.iglesia AT gmail )will be in Princeton on Tuesdays and WEdnesdays. Office hours will be before/after class by request/appointment.
  • Jeff: (josnyder AT princeton ) TBA
  • Konrad: (kkaczmar AT princeton) TBA

Tentative precept schedule

There is a lot of new stuff coming into PLOrk practice this year (pieces! LANdini! MobMuPlat! all-standalones!) and so this is very subject to change

  • 2/5: Becoming PLOrk-worthy, Intro to the ChucK Universe
    • Introductions, Syllabus, Schedule, email list, wiki, setting up PLOrk rep
    • Brief history of electronic music / tech / PLOrk
    • Brief intro to sound: waves, frequency, consonance & dissonance, paritials, noise (more in psychoacoustics lecture)
    • Brief intro to digital audio: sampling and analog/digital conversion
    • Intro to UNIX structure, commands, scripts
    • 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
    • Assignment 1 assigned, due 2/13/13
  • 2/12: Further ChucK and synthesis fundamentals
    • Review concepts from 2/2
    • Intro to historical sound synthesis techniques
    • Implementation/visualization in other softwares/hardware
    • making it dynamic with LFOs
    • Boolean logic
      • ==, >=, <=, <, >, &&, ||, !=, ! operators
    • if and else statements
    • while loops, a little more with time
  • 2/19 Objects and Events - real time control
    • object oriented programming, functions/variables/subclassing
    • events generated by devices: HID (mouse, keyboard, etc)
    • MIDI events
    • tying together in ChucK
    • Example Code:
  • 2/26 Polyphony, real-time audio input, time-based effects
    • build polyphonic synth, do the bookkeeping
    • microphone input
    • time-based delay effects
      • delay, with feedback (echo)
      • variable delay time (record scratch speed effect, flanger, chorus)
      • tiny delay time (comb filter)
    • pitch shifting, equal temperament function
    • example code:
  • 3/5 Lots of fun
    • panning
    • Signals feeding/controlling signals
    • AM/FM synthesis
    • Shred references
    • Live sampling & playback with LiSa
    • class code
  • 3/19: SPRING BREAK!
  • 3/26 object orientation and more
    • operations on Time and Duration, modding time to sync timing across shreds
    • gradual volume ramp over time with concurrent shred, user reference to shred to exit existing ramp
    • creating your own objects
      • instances, inheritance, static variables/methods, fake "constructor" code
      • using pointers to hold a reference to an objects
      • randomly choose an stk instrument with "StkInstrument superclass = subclasses can be referred to with a pointer from a superclass
      • reconnect object circuit in instance variable, with un-chuck and reference to new UGen to chuck to
    • create your own "fake" UGen by running a loop every sample and feeding a Step object
      • digital clipping distortion
      • quantization distortion (bringing down sampling rate and/or bit depth)
    • class code
  • 4/2 ANALYSIS
    • classical parameters: pitch, volume, duration, timbre
    • psychoacoustics and recording technology shows us that all of them are more complex than a simple one-dimensional measurement
    • psychoacoustics of virtual pitch, loudness curves, timbral envelope
    • time domain and frequency domain approaches to analyzing signals
    • time domain approach to volume (and by extension, duration) tracking with keeping average of last N samples
    • FFTs are fun with lots of math: N samples turns to N/2 pairs of cartesian coordinates describing a phasor rotating in a complex plane
    • UAna objects for analysis in Chuck: FFT, Centroid, SpectralRMS, etc.
    • upchuck(), UAnaBlob, blob.fval(i)
  • 4/9 Networking
    • MIDI, OSC
    • custom addressing and values
    • network routing, multicasting vs direct connect, ports
    • code
  • 4/16 SPECIAL GUEST VISIT from L2Ork
  • 4/23 User Interfaces and Video with Max
    • code
  • 4/30 ??
  • Friday 5/17, late afternoon/early evening: final project presentations.


Please submit Assignments in Blackboard unless the instructions say otherwise.

  • Assignment 1: due 2/13/13