Computer Music Composition

Music 151/215, Winter 2010

University of California, Irvine

Tuesday and Thursday, 12:30-1:50
Music and Media 216

Professor Christopher Dobrian
Music and Media 211
Office hours by appointment


Course Description

Composition and production of recorded music using personal computers for digital signal processing and control of synthesizers. Practical application of digital audio production software and MIDI, and investigation of new ideas in computer-aided composition.

Course Requirements

Course Topics

Special Events

The Gassmann Electronic Music Series is a full season of concerts and lectures at UCI focusing on new music, including experimental instrumental music, electronic music, and computer music. The events during this quarter will be of value to the students in this class, and you should plan to attend them if possible. If you are unable to attend any of these events, arrange for one of your classmates to report to you about the content of the event; the content of these events may be the subject of questions on the final exam.

The MFA Thesis Colloquium is also a good opportunity to learn about current work by composers using computers in their work. You are welcome to audit the class, which meets Thursdays 2:00-3:20 in MMB 216.


The Gassmann Electronic Music Studio is a state-of-the-art Macintosh-based studio for digital recording, production, and computer music composition. It is located on the first floor of the Mesa Office Building in the Claire Trevor School of the Arts.

The Arts Media Center has six computer music workstations, each including Mac Pro computer, Mbox audio interface, MIDI synthesizer keyboard, and audio mixer. Music software includes Pro Tools, Digital Performer, Reason, Sibelius, Max/MSP, Audacity, GarageBand, and iTunes.

Some listenings for this class are available online as streamed audio files, and others will be placed on reserve at the Arts Media Center. Unlicensed duplication of digital audio files for personal use is illegal.


For additional consultation with the professor, you can make an appointment for office hours by speaking with the professor before or after class. You can also contact the professor by email.

For announcements or questions to/from your classmates, it is suggested that you use (and check regularly) the class MessageBoard.

There is a class email address, which addresses all registered students and the professor. This email is moderated by (i.e., must be approved and forwarded by) the professor, and thus should generally be used only for information that will definitely be of interest to all in the class, and that you want to be sure they receive. The MessageBoard is generally a less obtrusive way to provide information to colleagues in the class, but of course there's no way to know exactly when and by whom a MessageBoard post will be read.

Assignments are posted online for the next class session.

Final Exam

The originally scheduled final exam time is Friday, March 19, 10:30am-12:30pm. The written final exam will be held on the last day of class in 10th week, Thursday March 11. The (obligatory) final listening and critique session will be held during the scheduled final exam time, but extended by a half hour on either end, thus from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm on Friday March 19.

Regarding Academic Integrity:

Collaboration between students in this course is strongly encouraged. Students are urged to exchange ideas, opinions, and information constantly, and to help each other with the composition of their technical/creative projects. However, plagiarism of any kind is in direct violation of University policy on Academic Honesty, and penalties for plagiarism can be severe. In this class you will be expected to attribute due credit to the originator of any ideas, words, or music that you incorporate into your own work.

March 11, 2010
Christopher Dobrian