Music 171: Computer Music I
Winter quarter 2018, University of California, San Diego, section IDs 921813, 921814
Textbook: online at
Meetings: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:30-4:50
CPMC (Conrad Prebys Music Center) room 136
Instructor: Professor Miller Puckette, CPMC 251,, .
Office hour Thursdays, 2:30-3:30, in the classroom
TAs: Kevin Haywood (khaywood at ucsd)
Elliot Patros (epatros at ucsd)
TAs are available during lab hours (5PM Tu/Th) or by appointment.

This is an introduction to audio synthesis, both in theory and in practice, using Pd (Pure Data) as a platform. Pd is free and you can run it on Windows, Linux, or Mac OSX. You can get it at .

There are eight weekly assignments, due Fridays.

The exam (3-6PM, Tuesday, March 20) is a final project presentation. Assignments are worth 10 points apiece and the final is worth 20.

Patches from class will gather on
Videos (at least until the UCSD pod/screencasts start working) are here:
Videos of lectures from an earlier year are avalable on

List of topics (about one per week):

Jan. 9-11. Making sinusoids and controlling their amplitudes and frequencies. Read chapter 1 of the book, particularly looking at the examples at the back of the chapter. Homework assignment 1 is due Friday, Jan. 19.

Jan. 16-18. Wavetables (Chapter 2). Homework assignment 2 is due Friday, Jan. 26.

Jan. 23-25. Control and signal paths (chapter 3). Homework assignment 3 is due Friday, Feb. 2.

Jan. 30 - Feb 1. Polyphony and control strategies (chapter 4). Homework assignment 4 is due Friday, Feb. 9.
final project proposals due Feb. 16.

Feb. 6-8. Waveshaping, FM, and ring modulation (chapter 5 and a bit of chapter 6)). Homework assignment 5 is due Friday, Feb. 16.

Feb. 13-15. Delays and delay effects: echos, comb filters, flangers, pitch shifters (chapter 7). Homework assignment 6 is due Friday, Feb. 23.

Feb. 20-22. Filters and filter design (Chapter 8).

Feb. 27 - Mar. 1. Patch design strategies: parameter controls, presets, mixing.

Mar. 6-8. classical waveforms (chapter 10).

Mar. 13-15. Miscellaneous: Fourier analysis and resynthesis (chapter 9), Gem and 3D graphics; audio analysis tools; networking; spooling sounds to/from disk.