Kevin Ernste, Associate Professor
Email: kevinernste AT
Office: B27 and 337 Lincoln Hall — Office Hours: R 10am – 12pm

Teaching Assistant:
Josh Biggs — jmb834 AT — Office Hours:

Course website:
– please visit the website and register a username

Music 2421 is an exploration of strategies and techniques for live performance with technology. In developing our awareness of tools for live music we will explore several stylistic and technical approaches to performance: DJ, interactivity, multimedia, installation, and several others. We will engage with an array of software and hardware combinations with a focus on their creative uses, often looking beyond their intended utility to our own, re-imagined / subversive purposes.

In addition to commercially available software, students will be introduced to a number of excellent free software tools, many with unique designs and functionality. All tools are available for download on the course website (see “free tools”). I encourage students to use this course to begin imagining an individualized performance toolkit and free software is a great place to begin.

Course requirements include three short composition projects, one for each of the three parts of the semester (see the semester schedule below). The first two projects will be presented and critiqued in class and the final will be presented at the Sound Art Forum concert at the semester’s end. In addition, there will be weekly or bi-weekly assignments to be carried out on the student’s own time. Studios are available for this purpose. Students may sign up for individual times online. Visit the course website and follow the link to “studios”.

Grading for the semester is broken down as follows:

15% Class participation (make yourself heard in class and online)
25% Weekly/bi-weekly assignments
30% Two mid-semester performance projects (15% each)
30% Final project and performance

All work must be turned in on time. Late work will be graded one letter grade lower and work turned in more than one full week late will not be accepted. Class performance dates are mandatory and non-participation will result in automatic failure for that project.

Facilities: The Cornell Electroacoustic Music Center‘s studios B25B, C, and D will be our primary studios.

You are highly encouraged, of course, to use your own home or mobile systems where appropriate and available. In addition, students may wish to to purchase a hardware controller with bundled software.

Suggested devices, aiming for low cost and high quality while bundling the needed Ableton Live Lite include:

  1. Novation Launchpad Mini or Launchpad X
  2. Akai APC mini
  3. APC Key 25 (of interest to student with desire for a traditional keyboard)

Students are free to choose another device, but it must include Ableton Live Lite. Cornell discounts may be available for Cornell students through B & H Photo.

For Linux users: The Nektar LX25+ is another excellent controller and comes with Bitwig, an excellent DAW with Linux support that models much of the behavior of Live plus a few extra tricks.

Note to students with disabilities: Your access in this course is important to me. Please request an accommodation letter early in the semester so that we have adequate time to arrange accommodations.

All assignments and project are to be handed in online through Cornell Box. A link for upload will be proved within each assignment or project description.

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