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The following half-day workshops and tutorials are offered on Saturday, August 26 and Sunday, August 27.

You may also be interested in the more extensive Project Workshops taking place from Thursday, August 24 to Saturday, August 27.

Computer Music: For Whom Is This Music Intended?

Leigh Landy, UK

Computer music studies, aesthetics and intercultural issues

This workshop focuses on a number of contemporary topics within the area of computer music studies, in particular that of new aesthetics and accessibility issues. Questions presented, which will be subjects for debate, include:

  • Why is a good deal of computer music marginalised (ane what are the causes)?
  • Are there new aesthetic approaches to computer music?
  • Similarly, are there 'schools' of computer music, and, if so, what holds them together?
  • How does computer music reflect today's multi-cultural world?
  • How might bridges be built to a broader electroacoustic community?

More specifically, the areas of computer music studies will be delineated. Recent discoveries of importance and new paradigms will be introduced. Delicate problem areas, such as the schism between computer music studies and that of traditional forms of music will be discussed. Similarly, the separation between computer 'art music' and 'popular music' studies will be criticised.

Following a general introduction, several subjects will be introduced, including relevant demonstrations, and a number of debates will take place. The session will be issue and method based.

The goal of the workshop is not only to increase understanding of new music, but also to increase awareness of the issues this electroacoustic music raises in a very dynamic society.

Cognition and Perception Issues in Computer Music

Ian Whalley, NZ

This workshop will give an introduction to current research issues and methods about music cognition and perception and their application on the composition of Computer Music, as well as their implications in developing new music theory. A main area of focus will be the use of systems dynamics modelling to map narratives as a way of approaching composition, including demonstrations of this principle with computer software that allows users to develop their own models. Furthermore, a basic introduction to connectionist (Neural Network) models for auditory perception as well as to auditory scene analysis will be given.

Notation and Music Information Retrieval in the Computer Age

Carola Böhm, UK

The interrelated issues of description, representation and retrieval of time-based data are subjects of rapidly accelerating interest to the ever wider community of users of digital resources. One area with its own technical, cognitive, perceptual, and aesthetic problems is that of music. The very word 'music' embraces an enormous range of cultural activities and meanings. Technical aspects, as for instance "Representation", "Standards", "Storage and Retrieval" and "User Interfaces" need to be reconsidered in a music relevant context. Any or all of these may have importance in the design of systems intended to handle 'music' in the context of digital service provision.

The workshop addresses the need to redefine certain traditional Computing Science methodologies within the context of music and asks the question if traditional methodologies are still valid or need to be changed or expanded to fit the special needs of music and music relevant use contexts. While doing that, the addressed methodologies will be briefly explained. These will draw on the results of Music Information Retrieval Workshops in the UK at the DRH99 and the SIGIR99 in the US, while exploring current fundamental problems of Music Information Retrieval. Whenever systems are planned or standards are proposed, funding bodies and the scientific world in general, expects the music technologists to build and base their development upon existing, standardised, conventional or proven methodologies coming out of the Computing Sciences in general, specifically from the fields of Information Retrieval, Human omputer Interaction, Signal processing, Object orientation, Language design, and similar. The question seldom asked or answered is: do these methodologies still work within the context of music? More specifically, kinds of issues addressed are:

  • User interfaces

    • Human-Computer-Interaction (HCI): What is a user-friendly interface in a musical context?
    • HCI: Are traditional Evaluation Models like Nielson, Nivergelt, Conceptual models, Golden rules of HCI enough to evaluate interaction in a musical context? And if not, with what do they have to be expanded?
  • Information-Retreival (IR)

    • How can a large number of relevant musical search 'hits' be represented clearly and how can this relevance be measured?
  • Music representation

    • Data Structures: Music Encoding Syntaxes vs/and/or (?) Music Programming Environments
    • Language Design: What makes a good Music Language?
  • Standardization Processes

    • MPEG-7 and SMDL, a promising future, never to be fulfilled?
    • The need for interchange file formats
  • Storage and retrieval

    • Signal Processing: and Metadata: Data compression vs Data description explosion?
    • IR: Can traditional IR evaluation methodologies be used for music information retrieval?
    • HCI: The specification of what the user wants to find in a (content based) musical search?

In this context the workshop will contribute to the experiences shared by

  1. academic users pursuing music research or education
  2. people involved with music management and retrieval systems
  3. music industry
Specifically the area of Music Information Retrieval will benefit for example:
  1. Digital Libraries using information retrieval technologies for time-based Media
  2. Applications using synchronisation technologies for creation processes of multiple and different types of time-based media
  3. Educational applications with usage of dynamic and changing music representation over wide area networks

Computer Music Programming for the Web with JSyn and JMSL

Phil Burk and Nick Didkovsky, USA

The web can be your concert hall. Using JSyn you can develop complex interactive computer music pieces that run in a web browser. JSyn is a Java API that provides real-time synthesis for Java applications and Applets. It is based on a unit generator model and is designed for real-time interaction. JMSL, the Java Music Specification Language, is a composition toolkit written in Java that can control JSyn or JavaSound. JMSL provides hierarchical scheduling tools, distribution functions and sequence generators based on the tools in its predecessor HMSL.

The tutorial will cover:

  • creating, connecting and controlling unit generators,
  • loading and queuing sample data,
  • creating and queuing envelope data,
  • creating complex patches,
  • building hierarchies of composition objects using JMSL,
  • using various algorithmic tools of JMSL,
  • using the Java network API to make interactive multi-user pieces,
  • practical issues involving plugins and browser compatibility,
  • how to put an interactive algorithmic computer music piece in a web page.

This workshop will explain how to write computer music programs in Java that can be placed in a web page. We will use the JSyn API to synthesize audio in real-time using a library of unit generators. We will then use the JMSL API to create high level compositions that can include hierarchical scheduling. Because JSyn and JMSL are Java based, composers can combine any of the Java APIs including networking, 3D graphics, GUI tools, etc. with these two powerful music packages.

JSyn can be downloaded for free at:

Details on the workshop leaders can be found under: and

Networked Real-Time Sound and Graphics Synthesis with SuperCollider

James McCartney, USA

This is a hands-on tutorial on creating interactive musical applications with SuperCollider. SuperCollider is an extremely versatile object oriented programming environment with a large number of generators for real-time sound and graphics synthesis. It supports both MIDI and the Open Sound Control communication protocol.

For more info on SuperCollider see the WWW Site:

Collaborative Composition for String Instruments and Live Electronics

Hugh Livingston, USA

Advancing techniques of instrumental performance while advancing sophistication and imagination in the interface are appropriate goals of interactive music. Up-close and hands-on access to a cellist with a wide range of extended techniques--including nearly a hundred pizzicato sounds--establishes a framework for incorporating new techniques into composition with live electronics. The process of "extending the extended techniques," suggested by composer Bruce Bennett, is examined. The objective is to build a library of techniques, both instrumental and technological, which are available as a shared resource for musicmaking. Performances and discussion of existing collaborative efforts are offered.

Diverse directions in instrumental technology are considered, with demonstrations of commercial electric instruments contrasted with the impact of materials technology on the natural instrument. Is there a palpable difference in cellos with titanium endpins, tungsten strings, carbon fiber bows, wooden tailpieces, bridges with pickups? The range of expression of each instrument is demonstrated in order to draw up a blueprint for the future of instrumental technology. Much of the seminar will be devoted to exploration of extended string techniques, their application and versatility, with potential interface designs. Participants will receive a CD-ROM with audio examples of many techniques which can be used to test a new generation of DSP tools. Participants are encouraged to bring sample sketches and patches (by prior arrangement) for workshop consideration. Arrangements will be made for subsequent testing of new patches, with the hope that new compositions will result from the collaboration.

The workshop is designed to be interactive and to offer considerable opportunities for audience participation. I wish to bring into close contact the ideas put forward by performers, composers and engineers, setting up a framework for continued interaction at future conferences. The instrument will serve as the essential focus. Exposure to a new idea about cello sound is guaranteed.

Spatialization Techniques with Multichannel Audio

Olivier Warusfel, F

This workshop will explain principles of sound spatialization based on sound spatialization software developed at IRCAM, using the real-time synthesis environments jMax and MAX/MSP, and ambisonics techniques. It will show how composers and sound designers can use these tools to simulate the movement of discrete sound sources in virtual sound spaces, using multichannel audio.

Sensors for Interactive Music Performance

Yoichi Nagashima, JP

This workshop focuses on sensor technology for interactive music performance. Several different types of sensors as interfaces between human and computer systems will be demonstrated, and discussed both from a technical and from an artistic viewpoint, giving examples from multi-media works. An introduction on the design of sensing system will be provided, explaining how to create such without expert knowledge of electronics. The handling sensor information to create interactive art will be shown based on the MAX graphical programming environment. Starting with a number of given sample "patches" or simple programs, we shall give a hands-on introduction to the treatment of sensors, the programming of new algorithms and the composition of sample works. Finally, we will discuss the overall implications of "new human interfaces" and interactivity in multi-media technology.

Links to material on this workshop:

Composing with Algorithmic Processes

Rick Taube, USA

A hands-on introduction to computer-based music composition techniques, focusing primarily on random and iterative processes. Topics include, but are not limited to, the use of noise, discrete and continuous random selection, weighted randomness, markov chains, looping, phasing, state machines, rewrite systems, dynamical systems. The workshop presents the thoretical content in a non-technical manner together with interactive, graphical demos that the participants can use to explore the concepts presented.

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