What is Electronic Musical Instrument Design ?

Electronic Musical Instrument Design, often called "EMID," is a course designed to bring together students from many departments at Tufts to design and build unique devices for musical performance. It is equal parts lecture and lab, and it is limited to 12 students.

Students in Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Music, Mechanical Engineering, Engineering Psychology/Human Factors, Cognitive Brain Science, and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, and anyone else with an interest in applying electronic technology to music are welcome in the course. Students will work in teams, so that their skills complement each other.

What you need to succeed in the course:
You should have a background in at least one of the following areas:
  • Music involving computers and/or synthesizers
  • Computer programming and object-oriented languages
  • Electrical engineering, especially simple circuit design and prototyping
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Design and construction of things in wood, plastic, and metal

What we'll do in this course:

  • Using MIDI and software synthesis, we will create "gesture controllers" to make new ways of creating music
  • Study existing instruments, and see them demonstrated by expert players or their inventors
  • Learn MIDI, what the commands mean, how they can be used to control music
  • Learn the software synthesizer Reason and how to set its parameters
  • Translate electronic gestures into MIDI using Arduinos and similar platforms
  • Process real-time data with an object-oriented computer language called MAX
  • Build new controllers and systems
  • Do a public demonstration, and perhaps a concert
  • Work very hard, and have a lot of fun

Should I sign up for Music 141 or for ES 95me?
It's entirely up to you. The courses are exactly the same. The only difference is how it looks on your transcript.

More info about the course:
  • What kinds of projects have students done in past years?
       Here's an article about the course in the Tufts Alumni Magazine
  • Who is the instructor?
      Here's an article about him and the course in Tufts Journal
      Here's an interview with him from Gearwire.com
      Here's a very old article in the Tufts Daily
      Here's his home page
  • What are the academic and reading requirements?
  • Contact the instructor