21M.359 Interactive Music Systems


AUS or department lab
Units: 3-0-9
Schedule: MW11-12:30, room 4-364
Instructor:  Eran Egozy
Interactive Music Systems is a hands on programming and design course that explores audio synthesis, musical structure, HCI (human computer interfaces), and visual presentation as the ingredients for the creation of engaging real-time interactive musical experiences.
Interactive musical experiences beckon users to dynamically connect to music in ways not generally available through passive listening. The most successful ones provide palpable control, musical insight, heightened sensation, and an emotional response for the user.
Some examples include:
• Games like Guitar Hero, Rock Band, and Fantasia: Music Evolved (pictured above)
• Performance rigs like V Motion.
Ocarina for the iPhone
The Axe, released in 1997 - Harmonix's first interactive music product.
Students will learn about the principles, design considerations, and aesthetic qualities of interactive music systems by exploring the following topics:
• Music perception and audio synthesis
• Dynamic multi-track audio mixing and looping
• Programmatic MIDI and event sequencing
• Generative composition systems including rhythmic, melodic, and chord-progression synthesis
• Exploration of non-standard control devices such as joysticks, spatial sensors (Kinect), and motion sensors (Playstation Move / WiiMote)
• Analysis and application of design elements in music games
• Building graphics for UI, music visualization, and aesthetic cohesion.
The course is taught using python (python proficiency is required). Weekly assignments consist of programming exercises and content creation that equally emphasize the development of technical skills and creativity. The class requires a final project where students propose, design, and build an original, dynamic, and engaging interactive music system.
About the Instructor:
Eran Egozy is Co-Founder and CTO of Harmonix Music Systems, most famously known for the games Guitar Hero, Rock Band, and Dance Central. Eran graduated from MIT with an M.Eng. in EECS and also plays clarinet.