Module Name: Introduction to MAX (optional)
ECTS weighting: 5 Credits
Contact Hours: 22 x 1-hour lectures
78 hours independent study
Module Coordinator: Mark Linnane
The module covers the Max/MSP/Jitter graphical programming environment and equips students with a knowledge of MIDI programming, audio effects processing, sound synthesis, programming for algorithmic/generative music composition and performance, image processing, interface design, programming for diverse hardware controllers and the creation of plugins and standalone software.
This module introduces the Max/MSP/Jitter graphical programming environment and equips students with a knowledge of MIDI programming, audio effects processing, sound synthesis, programming for algorithmic/generative music composition and performance, image processing and interface design. Students acquire a thorough familiarity with many canonical concepts and strategies in these use contexts and develop the ability to identify appropriate programming strategies, and to design and critique new solutions for particular projects in their own creative practice. The overall aim of the module is that students gain fluency in Max/MSP/Jitter and develop confidence and problem-solving skills that enable them to independently bring creative projects from concept to implementation. On successful completion of the module, students will be able to: analyse, specify, design, write and test basic Max/MSP/Jitter programs.
The course will introduce new concepts and practices such as audio and video file manipulation, processing of ‘live’ audio and video signals, hardware sensors and microcontrollers, networking etc. The approach adopted provides the student with a concrete set of tools for use, while also developing the ability to experiment and create new solutions for particular projects. Classes will have theoretical and practical components.
Topics addressed will include:
Music composition/performance in Max/MSP
MIDI control & Sequencing
Real-time effects processing
Synthesis & Synthesisers
Algorithmic and Generative programming
Real-time video processing in Jitter
Midi and audio control of video
Working with live video input
Video control of audio
OpenGL & 3D image processing
Interface and Installation
Principles of interface design
Creating standalone software
Recommended Reading List
Alessandro Cipriani and Maurizio Giri: Electronic Music and Sound Design; Todd Winkler: Composing Interactive Music: techniques and ideas using Max
Methods of Teaching and Student Learning
The teaching strategy is a mixture of lectures, audio software tutorials and critique classes on assignments. The lectures will include discussions of particular production techniques and the analysis of various works of electroacoustic music. Tutorials in Reaper and Adobe Audition will be held throughout the semester. During this time, students will review basic audio and MIDI editing and recording techniques, and apply new techniques in tutorial exercises. Students will present their compositions to the class and describe the process of creating the work and techniques used.
Methods of Assessment
Assessment of this module is by practical assignment work. Students are required to complete 2 assignments. These assignments attract a mark of 40% and 60%, respectively. The first assignment consists of a set of problem-solving exercises based on material covered in the first 4 weeks. Students will be required to build small modules and MAX/MSP patches, and to provide a written report detailing their conceptual understanding of their work. For this first assignment, marks are awarded as follows: Report – 10%; Programming 30%. The second assignment requires that students design and implement a large-scale Max/MSP program for real-time performance or installation with a specific use or kinds of use in mind. The student may, for example, wish to design a patch for use in a particular installation. Other students may prefer to author a more generalised patch for live performance. In any case, the context of use and the suitability of the student’s design to this use must be clear. The assignment is be expected to display the ability to innovate based on the material presented in class. A report detailing conceptual framework and details of design must be submitted. For this second assignment, marks are awarded as follows:
Report 10%; Programming 50%.