Music 270b. Musical Cognitive Science (redesigned to emphasize analysis of musical sound)
Winter quarter 2020. University of California, San Diego

Meetings: Mondays, 2:00-4:50, CPMC 367
Instructor: Professor Miller Puckette, CPMC 251,,

This is the second third of the 270abc core sequence designed for the computer music graduate program. Students in other programs are also welcome. Some DSP knowledge, such as provided in 270a, will be very helpful.

This course was originally taught by Jerry Balzano and focused on cognitive processes in music listening and understanding, but since 2016 it has evolved to focus on computational models, particularly analysis of musical sound.

Over the course of the quarter I'll throw out three sonic challenges, soundfiles for you to attempt to analyze and resynthesize using techniques of your choice. Here are patches, screen movies and blackboards.

Jan. 6. Short-time Fourier analysis. The Portnoff and "Convolution Brothers" frameworks; measuring phase, amplitude, and frequency of sinusoids; time/frequency resolution.
Jont Allen, "Short term spectral analysis, synthesis, and modification by discrete Fourier transform"
Puckette, Theory and Techniques of Electronic Music, Chapter 9

SONIC CHALLENGE 1, for presentation in class Jan. 27. Analyze and resynthesize this white bellbird call. (Here is some background - and my attempt).

Jan. 13. Short-time Fourier analysis (continued). Serra sinusoids-plus-noise model and its tweaks; multirate analysis; the constrained resynthesis problem.
Griffin and Lim, "Signal Estimation from Modified Short-Time Fourier Transform"
Xavier Serra, "Musical sound modeling with sinusoids plus noise"

Jan. 20 no class (Martin Luther King day)

Jan. 27. Measures of loudness and timbre. The bark scale; critical bands; timbre spaces; NMF partitioning of spectra
David Wessel, "Musical Timbre as a Musical Control Structure"
Hiroko Terasawa, Malcolm Slaney, and Jonathan Berger, "Perceptual Distance In Timbre Space"

SONIC CHALLENGE 2, for presentation in class Feb. 24. Resynthesize this ringing bell. (Here is my attempt).

Feb. 3. Least-squares estimation techniques. Linear prediction/estimation; principal component analysis; Kalman filters.
(Wikipedia entries on the above)

Feb. 10. Pitch and pitch estimation.
Alain de Cheveigne and Hideki Kawahara, "YIN, a fundamental frequency estimator for speech and music"
Puckette, M., Apel, T., and Zicarelli, D., 1998. "Real-time audio analysis tools for Pd and MSP".
(see also Terhardt's algorithm on

Feb. 17. no class (President's day)

Feb. 24. scales, key, and tonality. Helmholz theory of consonance and dissonance; prevalence of scale degrees; the mysterious minor key.
Lerdahl and Krumhansl, Modeling Tonal Tension
Parncutt, The Tonic as Triad: Key Profiles as Pitch Salience Profiles of Tonic Triads
Balzano, What are musical pitch and timbre? Music Perception. 1986

SONIC CHALLENGE 3, for presentation in class Mar. 16: the sound of pouring carbonated water. Here is my attempt.

Mar. 2. Segmentation, beat, and rhythm. Onset detection; tempo estimation; score following.
Roger Dannenberg, "An On-Line Algorithm for Real-Time Accompaniment"
Ning Hu and Roger Dannenberg, "Bootstrap Learning for accurate Onset Detection"
Michelle Daniels, "An Ensemble Framework for Real-Time Audio Beat Tracking" (PhD thesis)
Gilbert Nouno, "Suivi de Tempo Applique aux Musiques Improvisees" (PhD thesis)

Mar. 9. Sound and space. Sound propagation, microphones and speakers; impulse response estimation; spatial perception; sound projection models.

Mar. 16. (exam period; 3-6Pm but could be rescheduled to 2-5 if more convenient). Statistical inference and basics of experimental design.