Computer Music Composition


This page contains hyperlinks to online documents and information relevant to the class
Music 151: Computer Music Composition - Winter 2014
University of California, Irvine


Digital Audio (1997) by Christopher Dobrian, from MSP: The Documentation published by Cycling '74 and l'IRCAM

Guide to Sound Objects by Michel Chion, a scholarly summary of Pierre Schaeffer's groundbreaking work and writings on musique concrète.

The Soundcraft Guide to Mixing (PDF document, 2 MB)

Microphone Techniques: Live Sound Reinforcement (PDF document, 1.4 MB), a Shure Educational Publication.

Russolo, Luigi. "The Art of Noises", 1913.

Cage, John. "The Future of Music: Credo", 1937.

Cage, John. "Experimental Music: Doctrine", 1955.

Varèse, Edgard. "The Liberation of Sound", 1936-1962.

MP3 Learning Object, a tutorial on MPEG I Layer 3 by Nathaniel Tull Phillips.

A thorough description of all music technology facilities in the Claire Trevor School of the Arts at UC Irvine.

Gassmann Studio Policies (.pdf)

Gassmann Studio Tutorial (.pdf)

Gassmann Studio calendar, available if you are a studio user

What the GRM brought to music: from musique concrète to acousmatic music (PDF), by Marc Battier

Technology and musique concrète: the technical developments of the Groupe de Recherche Musicale and their implication on musical composition (PDF), by Daniel Teruggi

The GRM: landmarks on a historic route (PDF), by Evelyne Gayou

Tutorial on MIDI and Music Synthesis by Jim Heckroth

Beyond the Pan Pot - A Plea for the Depth Dimension by Alex Case

Improving Your Stereo Mixing by Paul White, from Sound On Sound magazine, October 2000

Reason Reason 7 Operation Manual (.pdf, 82 MB)

Record U, "University of Recording", a set of tips for recording provided on the Propellerheads website.

The ReDrum in Reason 6.5 is a brief tutorial with downloadable Reason 6 example files, provided by Hydlide.

Propellerhead's information page on ReWire, which includes a link to the ReWire Help Pages, which in turn provides links to tutorials for using ReWire in various professional audio applications.

An article on "Advanced Reverberation", Part 1 and Part 2 by Paul White from Sound on Sound magazine, October and November 2001.

The Theory and Techniques of Electronic Music by Miller Puckette, with examples in the graphic programming environment Pd.

Programming Electronic Music in Pd, an online text by Johannes Kreidler.

Introduction to Digital Filters (with Audio Applications) by Julius O. Smith III is a complete online book on filters. It's dense, but thorough and useful.

Nigel Redmon posts a blog of well made and comprehensible tutorials on many topics of digital audio at the site EarLevel Engineering.

If you're interested to know the details of common audio file formats, you can read detailed explanations of the WAVE and AIFF file formats.

Here's a pretty good article explaining The Decibel as it's used to discuss sounds in the real world. (The same principles apply when talking about digital audio, except that the 0 dB reference amplitude in digital audio is usually the greatest amplitude the system can produce, rather than the softest sound we can hear.)

The Weber-Fechner law theorizes the relationship between empirical stimulus (measurable physical phenomena) and human perception of the stimulus.

How Hearing Works, an explanation of the human auditory system.

The Fletcher-Munson curves show the conclusions of some early cognitive experiments on the subjective perception of loudness as a function of frequency and amplitude.

The Robinson-Dadson curves show the results of some later experiments on the subjective perception of loudness as a function of frequency and amplitude, comparable but not identical to the results of the earlier Fletcher-Munson experiments.


Project 1 - Recording, Editing, and Mixing: Student Compositions.

Project 2 - Rhythm constructed in Reason: Student Compositions.

Anderson, Laurie and Gabriel, Peter. This Is the Picture (Excellent Birds), 1984/86.

Armor for Sleep. Basement Ghost Singing, 2005.

Barron, Louis and Bebe. Main theme from the soundtrack of Forbidden Planet, 1956.

Beatles, The. Revolution 9, 1968.

Cage, John. Williams Mix, 1952.

Chung, Huijae. MultiTempi 21, 2006.

Davis, Miles. Chocolate Chip, 1991.

Davis, Miles. Doo Bop Song, 1991.

Dobrian, Christopher. Alienated, 1999.

Dobrian, Christopher. Direct Current, 2000.

Dobrian, Christopher. Eve's Rapture, 2009.

Dobrian, Christopher. Overture from Microepiphanies, 2000.

Dobrian, Christopher. The Prince, 2001.

Hancock, Herbie. This Is Rob Swift, 2001.

Jackson, Michael. Wanna Be Startin' Somethin', 1982.

Kraftwerk. The Robots, 1978.

McFerrin, Bobby. Drive, 1988.

Moroder, Georgio. Chase (from Midnight Express), 1978.

Newton, James. African Cyborg, 1997.

Prince. Musicology, 2004.

Prince. Undisputed (with Chuck D), 1999.

Queens of the Stone Age. The Fun Machine ..., 2007.

Radiohead. Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box, 2001.

Reynolds, Roger. The Vanity of Words, 1986.

Schaeffer, Pierre. Etude aux chemins de fer, 1948.

Sonami, Laetitia. Story Road, 1992.

Stockhausen, Karlheinz. Studie II, 1954.

Summer, Donna. I Feel Love, 1977.

Tchaikovsky, Pyotr Ilyich. Valse sentimentale as performed on theremin by Clara Rockmore.

Varèse, Edgard. Ionisation, 1930. Available from UCI computers in the The Naxos Music Library.

Varèse, Edgard. Poème électronique, 1958.

Was Not Was. Bow Wow Wow Wow, 1983.

Who, The. Baba O'Riley, 1971.


Artikulation by Gyorgy Ligeti, with a visual listening score by Rainer Wehninger, synchronized as a music video.

Composer John Cage performs his Water Walk for a diverse collection of sound making objects in a 1960 episode of the television show I've Got a Secret.

Beyonce. Naughty Girl, 2004.

Lee, Jung Hyun. AriAri, 2002.

Linkin Park. Crawling, 2000.

Public Enemy. Fight the Power, 1989.

Some people have started a website of free tutorial videos for Pro Tools.

You can view a few free samples of Pro Tools tutorial videos at

There are some tutorial videos on Reason on the Propellerhead website.

There are additional tutorial videos on Reason on the Propellerhead software YouTube channel.

There are some instructional videos and text specifically about the Subtractor on the Propellerhead website.

Make Beats is a decent basic video tutorial on Reason's ReDrum drum sequencer (based on Reason 5, but still valid for Reason 6 or 7) by Dom Esposito.

Video lessons on SoundHack and Pd by Tome Erbe

This 15-second commercial for Pocky (twig-shaped cookies) on Japanese TV has an interesting formal structure based on its editing of sound and image. An analysis of its form can be found on the class MessageBoard.


Relevant computer music examples will be posted soon.


For announcements or questions to your classmates, and for open online discussion with classmates, you can use the class MessageBoard.

There is a class email address, which addresses all registered students and the professor and TA.

FreeSound, a site for free sound files (requires registration to download files)

Soundminer, a library of sound effects (login and password required)

The Gassmann Electronic Music Series at UCI presents concerts and lecture/demonstrations focusing on computers and music

Sound Design Resources, an extensive page of links compiled by Vincent Olivieri

The website for Professor Kojiro Umezaki's Music 51 class contains links to a great deal of useful information on the history and techniques of computer music.

The website for Professor Christopher Dobrian's Music 51 class contains links to useful information on the history and techniques of computer music.

Introduction to Music Production is a free six-week online course available on Coursera beginning January 27, 2014 taught by Loudon Stearns of the Berklee College of Music.

Recording engineer Graham Cochrane maintains a website and video blog called The Recording Revolution that features articles and tutorial videos giving tips on recording and audio production. He also has a YouTube channel of numerous tutorial videos, and has written an e-book called The #1 Rule of Home Recording which you can obtain by subcribing to his mailing list.

Pro Tools Expert is a YouTube channel of video tips about using Pro Tools.

Audacity is free cross-platform audio recording/editing software.

MuLab is free cross-platform music composition/production (DAW) software.

Ohm Studio is free cross-platform cloud-based collaborative music composition/production (DAW) software.

Csound is a free cross-platform text-based computer music synthesis programming environment.

ChucK is a free cross-platform realtime computer audio programming language.

Pure Data (Pd) is a free cross-platform graphic programming environment for computer music.

Max is a graphic programming environment for computer music and interactive multimedia.

This page was last modified February 24, 2014.
Christopher Dobrian,