Peabody Conservatory

Computer Music Department

EC 350.463 Introduction to Computer Music


Fall, 2013

Instructor: McGregor Boyle

Introduction to Computer Music is designed to acquaint the student with the musical applications of personal computers. The class will focus primarily on the use of MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) hardware and software, digital recording, sequencing, and editing, and the Apple Macintosh computer. No prior computer experience is necessary.

The first semester of this two-semester course will emphasize learning to use the studio and all of its components. Topics to be covered will include basic acoustics, analog and digital representations of sound, digital sequencers, digital audio, mixing, signal processing, MIDI data processing using the Max environment, and basic recording.

There will be a series of studio assignments which will enable the students to demonstrate their mastery of concepts covered in the class. There will also be a final project due at the end of the semester, consisting of a recording of a short composition using the skills learned over the course of the semester.


Most assignments will have to be completed in the studio. During the first weeks of the semester a series of lab sessions will be given to acquaint the students with proper use of the studio. This will be followed by a practical exam in which students will demonstrate their understanding of correct studio procedures. Upon passing the exam each student will granted access to the studio, and assigned regular hours for work each week. Additional time may be signed for as the schedule will allow. A list of assignments given will be posted on the instructor's web page at


There is no single textbook for the course. Readings will be assigned from a variety of sources, including manuals and periodicals. These will be placed on reserve in the music library, made available in the studio, or handed out in class. On-line references will also be used, with links to them posted on the instructor's web page.

Class Times

Introduction to Computer Music will meet Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 1:30 to 2:20pm in room 314 (the Teaching Studio).


Grades will be determined by the quality of the studio assignments (20%), the final project (25%), and exams. There will be two exams, a midterm (25%) and a final (25%). The remaining 5% of the grade will be determined by attendance and class participation.