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CMC Courses

The CMC’s classes are open to qualified undergraduate and graduate students in all departments of Columbia University. Most classes are held in the CMC’s facilities on the third floor of Prentis Hall (632 West 125th St.). Please refer to our FAQs for more information on CMC courses and policies.

Regularly Offered Courses

Students may register for CMC courses by logging on to SSOL. Some classes require permission of the instructor, so you won’t be able to register unless you bring a drop/add form to the first class meeting.

Please note that both the Intro to Digital Music and Recorded Sound classes have extensive waiting lists, and that registering for either class does _not_ guarantee you a spot. You must sign up on the waiting list _and_ come to the first day of class. We will then admit as many students present as we can.

If you have questions about registration please email or simply come to the first class meeting and all will be revealed.

Intro to Digital Music (Music MUSI V2205) (previously MIDI Music Production Techniques)

Spring 2017 (Macklay)
Tue/Thu 1:10-2:25pm

An introduction to contemporary sound synthesis and manipulation techniques.

This class has a wait-list; sign up for it via Courseworks. Music Majors get priority, but be sure to come to the first class for admission!

Recorded Sound (Music MUSI V3630/G6630)

Spring 2017 (Pender)
Mon 1-4pm

Tools and techniques in the contemporary project recording studio.

This class has a wait-list; sign up for it via Courseworks. Music Majors get priority, but be sure to come to the first class for admission!

Interactive Sound and Video (Music MUSI G6601) (previously Electronic Music I)

Fall 2016 (Pender)
Thu 3:10-5pm

This semester the class will focus on musical interactivity and improvisation. We will use MAX/MSP/Jitter, Ableton Live and MAX for Live to create improvisational structures, using MAX/MSP to program interactivity and Ableton Live as a sound source. Students will be expected to compose and perform solo and group compositions. The class will focus various types of data mapping and learn how it can be applied to computer-assisted compositions. An overview of key historical pieces and techniques from Musique concrète to the laptop orchestra will be presented along with strategies on how to use contemporary hardware controllers such as the wacom tablet or your iPad.

Programming and Electronics for Art and Music (Music MUSI G6602) (previously Electronic Music II)

Spring 2017 (Holtzman)
Thu 5:30-8pm

The working title of this course is “Sonic and Visual Representation of Data (using python).” Humans are currently producing enormous amounts of complex data representing complex phenomena (including but not limited to our own activities), but we lag behind in our ability to perceive and understand the patterns in the data. Our auditory and visual perception systems are optimized for different kinds of spatial and temporal patterns, that we process simultaneously to understand our surroundings. Assuming no background in python, we will start with importing and static representation of data. Then we will discuss (and implement) a wide range of ways of generating sound and visual animations of the same data, with which we will construct movies. Questions of how to design and tune these representations to bring out patterns in the data, based on the nature of human perception, will be kept in mind. These questions of pattern perception lie underneath (or are the same for) scientific and artistic intents. Students will select datasets they want to explore early in the course, and will develop and build these projects throughout.

Sound: Advanced Topics I (Music MUSI G6610) (previously Computer Music I )

Fall 2016 (Garton)
Tue 5:30-8pm

Topic: This semester we will be exploring various DSP techniques as applied to live sound. Along the way we will be covering various programming approaches, surveying the similarities and differences (and the effect they have on the music we produce).

Sound: Advanced Topics II (Music MUSI G6611) (previously Computer Music II)

Spring 2017 (Garton)
Tue 5:30-8pm

Topic: We have integrated the RTcmix music language into the Unity Game Engine. This semester we will be showing how this works and exploring the compositional and artistic possibilities resulting from this embedding.

Sound: Physics and Perception (Visual Arts VIAR Q4000)

Fall 2016 (Sulzer)
Thu 5:30-8:00pm

This course is a detailed and hands-on (ears-on) exploration of the fundamental physical, physiological, and psychological aspects of sound. Topics covered include sound waves and their physical nature, the propagation and speed of sound in different mediums, geological and other non-living sound sources, animal and insect sound generating strategies, sound perception mechanisms and abilities in different species, the physiology of human hearing and the structure of the human ear, psycho-acoustics and human sound perception, sonic illusions and tricks of the ear. Coursework will include student-led experiments and research.

Sculpture III (Visual Arts VIAR Q3302)

Spring (future) (Kessler)

Multi-media and kinetic sculpture

Course Archives

Interactive Sound and Video (aka EM I (aka BE I)) (g6601)

EM II (aka BE II) (g6602)

Sound: Advanced Topics I (aka CMI) (g6610)

CMII (g6611)

Musical Interactivity (g4601)

  • Fall, 2009 (Lewis)
  • Fall, 2010 (Puckette)
  • Fall 2011 (Barriere)

Special Courses

Advanced Mixed Music Composition (Music G6631)

  • Fall, 2012 (Adamcyk)

Concepts of Musical Instrument in Electronic and Computer Music 3 (Music W4626y)

  • Spring, 2013 (Oliver)

History of Electronic and Computer Music (Music W2340)

  • Fall, 2004
  • Spring, 2005


Introduction to OpenMusic

Interactive Composition

Movement-Sound Interaction

Module: Sensors and Microcontrollers for Music Types

Module: WebAudio

Interactivity Outside the Box