Music 171 final project
Final presentations are due Tuesday, March 20, 3-6 PM. Because of the large
class size, we'll split up into two groups, one in the classroom, the other in
another room to be announced. Every student will get a chance to demonstrate his
or her project to the class, which should take the form pf a Pd patch, possibly
with supporting files. You'll each be asked introduce and demo your patch (your
presentation should only last three to five minutes). We'll also ask you to turn
in your files in the usual way.
PROPOSAL DUE FEB. 16: On Feb 16, in addition to the usual
assignment, you'll be asked to upload a paragraph or two proposing your
project. It would be a good idea to have already tested your ideas out
informally in a patch to make sure they're workable. The proposal will count as
5 points out of the 20 point project grade.
Here are some possible project ideas:
- Make a patch that simulates a person on a telephone - each time there's
silence on the 'other end' (the microphone) spit out a recorded sentence
randomly out of a collection (perhaps an actor's lines in a movie). Then see if
you can make two copies of the patch have a "conversation" between them. (Or
figure out how to interface to real telephones, and have it answer your phone at
home when telemarketers call).
- Make a sample loop (the Amen Break, for example), and synchronize a
sequencer to it to make proto-house music. You can add additional percussive
sounds (noise into filters, for example), and/or synthesizers playing loops,
and/or apply filtering, distortion, enveloping, or other processing to the
- Make a classical electronic music 'tape piece' using pd-synthesized sounds
- that is, a patch that, when you hit 'start', unleashes a sequence of notes or
other sounds, perhaps lasting a minute, that can be listened to musically. Use
the text or qlist object as a sequencer and type in the changes you want to
- Make an interactive playable "laptop instrument" (using keys to set things
off, and perhaps the mouse as a controller.) For example, you could have some
repeating sample loops, a couple of layers of drum beats, and a solo voice
playing from a 'menu' of notes triggered from the computer keyboard.
- Make a patch that plays a Bach 2-part invention (again using "qlist" or
"text" as a sequencer). There should be a 2-voice synthesizer in the patch to
play the sequence, preferably with two distinct sounds. You can find the
sequences on the web, although you might have to do some conversion to get
it into a qlist sequence.
- Make a pitch corrector that you talk into (or play sampled speech through)
and that corrects the pitch to fall on a fixed musical scale (like the
commercial Melodyne software). Play a politician through it.
- Interface a game controller or a joystick to Pd and make a computer
music instrument where continuous controllers change parameters of some
synthesis algorithm; or, alternatively, get Pd to send network or MIDI
messages to another application so that the loudness of the mic signal makes
a graphical display move or change.
- Experiment with random processes: make a random note generator that
gives you some kind of interesting control (changeable pitch collections,
or make choices depend on past choices, or change the relative probability
of various outcomes with time). Make this drive a polyphonic note playing
patch to make random melodies, chords, or an entire musical composition.
- (For computer hackers only): write your own external Pd object that does
something you couldn't find in Pd vanilla, such as a zero crossing detector.
- Learn Gem (the Graphics Environment for Multimedia, an extension of Pd) and
make a 3-d animated scene under live control, perhaps responding to microphone
- Make a light-sensitive synthesizer. Buy a cheap audio
interface (don't use your computer's audio input, just in case you make a wiring
mistake and destroy something), and wire in a Cadmium Sulfide photoresistor.
Put an envelope follower on the audio input and operate under fluorescent light.
If you have stereo mic inputs, you can make this two channel. Wave your hands
above the photocells to make a wirelessly controllable synthesizer like a
You can use office hours to discuss these or other project ideas with
the professor or TAs.