Applications for Game Design (Spring 2019)

With pre-enroll around the corner, I have now opened up applications for the game design courses next semester (CS/INFO 3152, CS/INFO 4152).  This post is not an attempt to promote more interest in these courses.  I will get twice as many applications as I can accept into the course; applications are extremely competitive.  But there are some new opportunities available for composers this year, and I wanted to bring them to your attention.

The courses are not designed to support composers that only work on music.  I do not have the training for this and large parts of the course would need to be rethought.  We only allow composers into the course when they can do one of the other three traditional tracks: programming, character art, UX design/testing.  We make the bar lower for good composers (so a programmer/composer is competitive with CS 2110 and does not need CS 3110), but we still require some expertise outside of music.

However, some groups in the past have asked if they can contract music out to their friends.  Not only have we allowed this, but these students were invited to our showcase.  In addition, if the game is accepted to a national game festival (like Boston FIG), I include these “contractors” when I offer to pay for the transportation costs.

This year, we have decided to make this a little more formal.  We have added an external member option to the application.  You can apply to join a team as a pure composer.  While we cannot enroll you in the full course, we can give you INFO 4900 (Independent Study) credit for joining the team.  The commitment is up to you.  We award 1 credit hour for each 2.5 hours of work a week.

If this interests you, I am accepting applications at the link above until December 15th.



Class materials, 10/11

In C materials

9/20 Lab materials

Please download the following zip files for use in today’s lab:


Lies_arrangement Project

Original materials downloaded from CCMixter, an online sharing site for mixes and materials, specifically this page:

by Trifonic

2008 – Licensed under Creative Commons

Attribution Noncommercial (3.0)

Materials for Sept 13th

Sound samples for lab, 9/13.

Sounds and music from today

Pierre Schaefer’s Étude aux chemins de fer (musique concrete):

Pierre Henry’s Symphony for a man alone:

Karlheinz Stockhausen, Study I (elektronische musik):

Steve Reich, Come out (rejecting concrete):

Pauline Oliveros, Deep listening band (sounds and spaces, sound and acoustics, sound and the mind):


Music of Stranger Things

Since winning an Emmy last year for their soundtrack to Stranger Things, Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein having been giving interviews about their development process. As a synthwave fan myself, I was originally planning to post these when we talked about synthesizers. However, many of the ideas that we talked about in Tuesday’s class come out in these interviews.  In particular, they show how thinking about sounds this way is relevant to commercial music and is not just an experimental art form.

There are two interviews of note, both which took place this past June.  The first is the Vanity Fair interview where they specifically talk about Stranger Things.

Vanity Fair Interview

Here are two things to look for in this interview.  First, they point out how they use atonal and microtonal sounds to create feelings of horror or action.  One of the sounds used was recorded on a field recorder that they carried around with them.  Related to the larger question of “what is music?”, they also explain why they prefer analog synths over modern computers; they feel that the irreproducibility of the experience is important to music as an art form.

The Spitfire Audio interview is a slightly longer interview where they discuss their history with the band SURVIVE.

Spitfire Audio Interview

In this interview they talk about how they got into computer music.  In the beginning, they would capture sounds with a field recorder and learn how to compose with these sounds.  This experience taught them to use analog synthesizers not just as tools, but as musical instruments.

Jordan Wolkon – Assignment 0

Hi everybody, I’m Jordan Wolkon. I have been playing classical piano for about 14 years and recently started playing some jazz. I also just started playing guitar but am still very much at the beginner level. I purchased Ableton Live a few months ago but have not learned much on how to use it past some audio and MIDI recording. I would like to deepen my knowledge of music production and use it to record and produce my own music, as well as to collaborate with others. I am mostly just taking this class for fun, but would also like to get as much learning experience as I can out of it. Looking forward to working with you all!

MUSIC 1421 Assignment 0 – Alan Polyak

My name is Alan, a senior majoring in Statistics and Information Science. I am originally from Brooklyn, NY, which I think is one of the modern hearts of electronic music. I can’t play any instruments, but I’ve dabbled around with GarageBand and Audacity, and would say I’m an amateur; thus, I want to take this class to get better. Music has been a staple in my life, particularly electronic music, so I’d like to become a part of the community to give back what I’ve been given. I am also interested in the applications of statistics to music and waves, so having a fundamental knowledge on the subject is necessary for such analyses.

Assignment 0 – Ervin Flores

In terms of musical background, I’ve only played about 2 years of piano and not much else. Most of my interest and motivation in taking this course is to learn about the technical aspect of mixing music. I want to test my creativity and see what I am capable of. I am also interested in meeting people who can help me or teach me what they know to help me create more complex music. My main interest is in Hip-Hop production. I want to mix elements of jazz, electronic, and rock into hip-hop music. In terms of an agenda, I hope to produce music people can sing or rhyme over.

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