Media Arts and Technology
MAT 240 Series - Digital Audio Programming
University of California Santa Barbara
Instructor: Andrés Cabrera
This course is an introduction to audio programming, and it is the
first part of the six quarter MAT 240 series. Audio programming can
take many shapes, and requires different tools and practices for
artistic projects, scientific research or industrial applications. This
course will present an overview of these different aspects of audio
programming while introducing and exploring key concepts that permeate
most audio programming projects.
This course surveys established techniques for audio synthesis and
digital signal processing applied to sound. Additive, Subtractive, FM
and Granular synthesis will be explored and implemented. Additionally,
processing techniques like filtering will be covered. It is a practical
course focused on software implementations of the various techniques,
and will be permeated by discussions about performance and sound
Theoretical aspects related to the various techniques are discussed,
and particular emphasis will be placed on their implementation in
computer algorithms. Artistic and practical use of the techniques will
also be discussed and tested with the implementations. Different
existing implementations will be compared and studied, in particular
those found in widespread systems like Csound, Supercollider, Gamma and
An indispensable aspect of audio programming in interactive systems
is providing real-time control. This entails being able to receive and
interpret data coming from physical interfaces and applying it to audio
parameters. There are various widespread technologies like MIDI and OSC
that enable this, as well as many challenges related to performance,
timing and concurrency.
This course will present a low level approach to these technologies to
understand what's needed to integrate them in practical software, as
well as a look into the natural extensions of interactive control, like
network performance and distributed processing.
Hearing is inherently spatial in nature, and spatial properties of sound can convey meaning and sensations in ways that no other senses can. Sounds that are close and
coming from the back can elicit fear and sounds from all directions can be perceived simultaneously, without the need to turn the head. Producing spatial cues and
exploiting the properties of multichannel systems presents interesting technical challenges, and can provide new avenues for artistic and practical exploration. Many
techniques to work with spatial audio have been developed for different applications and this course will present a practical introduction to them through their
application in software.
Music is a complex and multi-layered conveyor of information and emotion. Music Information Retrieval seeks to extract meaning and elements from music to enable better
classification, query, matching, recommendation and transformation of musical material and sets. This course hopes to serve as a hands on introduction into the practice
of Music Information Retrieval and Music Data Mining.
Data sonification in auditory displays can provide information to
complement, augment or replace visual displays. This course will
present the established techniques for auralization, parameter driven
sonification and model based sonification.