Interactive Music Systems (21M.385 / 6.4550 - formerly 6.185)

Read the Course Description, see recent Syllabus, or check out Final Projects from previous years.

Interactive Music Systems is always over-subscribed and has a limited number of slots (36).

Priority will be given to students who pre-register for the class. Pre-registered students will receive a questionnaire two weeks before Reg Day. Enrollment is determined based on answers to the questionnaire and a lottery of the qualified students. You will be notified as to your enrollment status a few days before reg day.

IMS is next offered:

  • Spring 2023. MW11-12:30
  • 4-270
  • Instruction: Eran Egozy
  • TA: Tiffany Huang

Course Description

Interactive Music Systems is a hands on programming and design course that explores audio synthesis, musical structure, HCI (human computer interaction), and visual presentation as the ingredients for the creation of engaging real-time interactive musical experiences.

These experiences allow users to connect with music more deeply than through passive listening. The most successful ones give users intuitive control, greater musical insight, and a deeper emotional response to the musical experience.

Some examples include:

Students will learn about the principles, design considerations, and aesthetic qualities of interactive music systems by exploring the following topics:

  • Music perception and audio synthesis
  • Dynamic multi-track audio mixing and looping
  • MIDI/audio synchronization
  • Generative composition systems including rhythmic and melodic synthesis
  • Exploration of non-standard control devices such as game controllers, motion sensors (Kinect, Leap Motion), and pad controllers.
  • Analysis and application of design elements in music games.
  • Building graphics for UI, music visualization, and aesthetic cohesion.

The course is taught using the python programming language and therefore fluency in python is a prerequisite. Weekly assignments consist of programming exercises and content creation that equally emphasize the development of technical skills and creativity. The class requires a final project where student teams propose, design, and build an original, dynamic, and engaging interactive music system.

Final Projects from Previous Terms

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