Electronic Musical Instrument Design

Spring, 2019 • Assignments

Assignments are due on specified date

April 23

Read Wiimote article in course pack

March 12

Midterm exam is due 6 pm Monday, March 11. Upload your document through Canvas.

Read: project report on Sonic Pyramid
Watch: Sonic Pyramid video

March 7

Read: in Reason manual, chapter on NN19, pp. 985-1005
Read in course pack: "The griDJ MIDI grid system" and Watch video

March 5


Feb 28

Read: Mark Goldstein on mallet controllers

Feb 26

Lab: Do Max Tutorials:
Data: List Processing (long!)
Basics: Encapsulation, Remote Messaging, Timing, Controlling Data Flow

continue to work on Max patch (or start over), make it better and bulletproof

Feb 19

Lab: Create an original Max patch using the MPD or keyboard, linked to Reason. Remap notes and controllers as you like in Max.

Read: Roberto Aimi’s PowerPoint presentation, sensors4music2008.ppt.htm
Read: article on variable resistors
Read: Electronics Club article on switches: http://electronicsclub.info/switches.htm
Read: Article on Sharp IR sensors: http://www.acroname.com/robotics/info/articles/sharp/sharp.html
Read: Analog Devices paper on capacitive sensing on site
Read: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/8607 (no longer available there, but available elsewhere)
:https://www.sparkfun.com/products/8678 (no longer available there, but available elsewhere)
: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/13027
: sensorsandcircuits.pdf, through page 10, EEs read to page 24

Do: Go through Gesture/sensor/parameter list posted on site (and in EMID Resources on lab computers): think of sensors for each movement. Fill in the list and e-mail it to the instructor before 6 pm, Monday.

Feb 14

Read: in course pack, “Sample Solutions” (the pages are in the wrong order--the first page is last!)

Read: in Reason Operation Manual, chapter 42, starts p. 985.

Lab Do Max Tutorials.
Open Max, go to Help>reference>Home icon>Max Tutorials (lower left or middle of screen)
• Max Basics Tutorial 1-8 (through keyboard and mouse input)
• Max MIDI Tutorial 1-3
Be careful not to save over Tutorial patches!! (use Save As... if you want to save them)

If you would like your own copy of Max, there's a 30-day free trial at
This is Max 7, which is the version we're using. Max 8 is too recent for us to have tested it adequately.


Feb 12

Read: in course pack, Leon Gruenbaum's paper on the Samchillian

Feb 7

Lab: do something with MPD and editor and one or (preferably) more Reason modules.
Read: in course pack, "Synth School"
Read: Reason manual, chapter 42, p. 985

Feb 5

Lab: Make a Subtractor patch, starting from default patch, that uses the keyboard controls (mod wheel, knobs, etc.) in an interesting way.
Read on computers: Reason 5 Getting Started, chapter 3/p.28 (ignore the parts about the sequencer)
Read on computers: Reason Operation manual, chapter 34/p.815.

Jan 31

Visit and watch videos: https://www.newmusicusa.org/profile/smomid/
Nick Dempoulos will be playing Wednesday night at The Outpost in Inman Square, starting at around 9:00.

Jan 29

Read in course pack or online Lehrman: SoundOnSound / Report on NIME 2005
Read in course pack, Lehrman: Performing Musician / NIME 2009
Visit these sites:


Due Jan 28, 6 pm through Canvas
Make a table of physical gestures. Include at least three gestures for each of these parts of the body:
Head Mouth Neck & Shoulders Arms Hands & Fingers Torso & Hips Legs FeetColumns on the table are:
physical gesture
musical gesture in common use (can be more than one)
musical gesture you can imagine (can be more than one)
Blank table is on Canvas. Submit your answers to Canvas by Monday 6 pm!

Jan 24

Read in course pack: Profile: Michel Waisvisz
Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1L-mVGqug4 (through 6:30)
Download and Read: What Is MIDI, read pp 1-12 (through The Command Set, or keep going!)

Jan 22

Read in course pack:
• Wilkinson chapters 1 ("Musical Physics" pp 2-5) and 2 ("Synthesis" pp 9-15, up to "Physical Modeling"). Even if you have read this for another class, it's good to review it anyway!(also on line here)
• "Bikes Harps & Yo-Yos " (also on line here)
• “Laserharp" (also online here)

online: http://mentalfloss.com/article/59118/10-obscure-electronic-musical-instruments

Watch this video interview with Prof. Lehrman: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4Ms3y3aZ4M