Center for Computer Music

CCM's Center for Computer Music, commonly referred to as "(ccm)2," contains the electronic and computer music studios, a center of activity in composition, performance and research. The technical and aesthetical aspects of computer music composition can be studied in courses at (ccm)2, along with music programming, analysis and performing technologies.

Students explore interactive configurations with signal processing techniques and sensors in an excellent listening environment. With a long tradition of performance excellence and state-of-the-art facilities, CCM's electronic music studios are a unique place where sonic innovations and research meet electroacoustic music composition and performance.

Innovative research activity in granular synthesis, visual/aural connections, live performance interfaces and high bandwidth Internet 2 sound exchange have been highlights of studio activities. In addition, collaborative work has been done with artists at DAAP, students from Computer Science and other departments in multimedia and interdisciplinary studies.

(ccm)2 is part of a the college's CCM Village complex of theaters, classrooms and studios. In 1996, the electronic music studio moved to the South Annex of CCM's Memorial Hall, which holds performance faculty studios and practice rooms. CCM has venues that are particularly conducive for the realization of interactive and electroacoustic music. The Sonic Explorations electronic music series presents several concerts each year of faculty and student works. Excerpts of pieces created at the CCM Center for Computer Music are available online.

The CCM Visiting Composers Series has welcomed distinguished computer music composers, researchers and performers including:

  • Curtis Bahn
  • Benjamin Boretz
  • Shiau-uen Ding
  • Charles Dodge
  • Josef Fung
  • Brad Garton
  • Tomie Hahn
  • Paul Koonce
  • Esther Lamneck
  • Paul Lansky
  • Andrew May
  • Miller Puckette
  • Elainie Lillios
  • Pauline Oliveros
  • Judith Shatin
  • Diane Thome 
  • Dan Trueman
Headshot of Mara M. Helmuth

Mara M. Helmuth

Professor of Composition

513-556-0807

Students

  • Michael Lukaszuk*
  • Marissa DiPronio*
  • Zhixin Xu**
  • Jacob Duber**
  • Ivan Moscotta
  • Gregory Evans
  • Michael Lanci
  • Arturo Fernandez
  • Nicolas Bizub 

* Teaching Assistant

** Studio Assistant

Introduction to Electronic Music

  • Course code: COMP 5171, 6071
  • 3 graduate or undergraduate credit hours
  • Offered every fall

Overview of electronic music. A look at the historic events, people and technologies that have shaped the current state of electronic music. Introduction to acoustics, MIDI sequencing with digital audio, sound editing, mixing and basic signal processing techniques. Students create individual assignments and projects.

Electronic Music Techniques

  • Course code: COMP 5172, 6072 
  • 3 graduate or undergraduate credit hours
  • Offered every spring. 

Digital signal processing techniques. Introduction to algorithmic and interactive music composition with MaxMSP and other applications. Discussion and investigation of electroacoustic music works. Sonic Explorations concerts present works created in the course.

Computer Music Composition

  • Course code: COMP 5175, 6075
  • 3 graduate or undergraduate credit hours
  • Offered every other year

Computer music composition on current computer music platforms with recorded acoustic sound and synthesis techniques. Digital signal processing and micro to macro-level algorithms. Introduction to music programming and interfaces. Aesthetics and performance contexts of tape and live electronic music. Includes mixing techniques, music programming environments, algorithmic composition, and listening strategies for new music. Sonic Explorations Concerts present works created in the course at least twice a year.

Interactive Music

  • Course code: COMP 5176, 6076
  • 3 graduate or undergraduate credits
  • Offered every other year

Explorations of interactive music composition with digital signal processing techniques make up this course. Building performance software interfaces for performance, use of hardware controllers, incorporating acoustic vocal and instrumental sound with electronic music, performance contexts and installations will be discussed. Sessions will contain demonstrations, listening, improvisation and discussion. Sonic Explorations Concerts present works created in the course.

Timbre Studies

  • Course code: COMP 5184,6084
  • 3 graduate or undergraduate credit hours
  • Offered every other year

Study of music, electroacoustic and acoustic, in which timbre is a primary parameter. Theories of timbre discussed in relation to writings and music by recent composers. The final course project may be a composition or analysis.

Live Electronic Music

  • Course code: COMP 5181,6081
  • 2 graduate or undergraduate credit hours
  • Offered occasionally

This course explores performance and composition with live electronic music. Experimenting with new expanded instrumental possibilities, the collaborative process between composer and performer, and laptop performance.

Computer Music Projects

  • Course code: COMP 5177,6177
  • 2-6 graduate or undergraduate credit hours
  • Offered occasionally

Creating software instruments and algorithms in current computer music platforms. Applications for real time performance and for composition will be discussed. Student projects such as compositional and improvisational interfaces may combine graphics and music or incorporate sensors, controllers or other hardware.

Music Programming Projects

  • Course code: COMP 5182,6082
  • 3-6 graduate or undergraduate credit hours
  • Offered occasionally

Advanced work in computer music programming on current platforms. Music programming will be explored to create new instruments, interactive systems or analysis or composition tools. Object-oriented programming. Assignments will cover basic programming concepts and object- oriented programming topics, interface design and audio programming. Software applications for audio, internet performance and wireless devices will be discussed. A final research music programming project will be designed and implemented by the student.

Laptop Performance

  • COMP 5183,6083
  • 2 graduate or undergraduate credit hours
  • Offered occasionally

Study of of laptop orchestra performance through performance and listening. Participation in the Cincinnati Composers Laptop Orchestra Project. Includes several performances inside and outside CCM.

Sound, Music and Science

  • Course code: COMP 5071
  • 3 undergraduate credit hours
  • Offered occasionally

Interdisciplinary projects involving sound, the sciences and technology are the focus of this course. This seminar will explore sonification, musical installations involving scientific data, musical uses of animal sounds, soundscapes. A research project in collaboration with a student in a different area will be the final project.

2019-20

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 14, 2020 (Cancelled due to COVID-19)
Sonic Explorations
Mara Helmuth, coordinator
Featuring an evening of electroacoustic and computer music by CCM students, faculty and guests.
Location: Cohen Family Studio Theater
Admission: FREE

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019
Sonic Explorations
Mara Helmuth, coordinator
Featuring an evening of electroacoustic and computer music by CCM students, faculty and guests.
Location: Cohen Family Studio Theater
Admission: FREE

2018-19

8 p.m. Tuesday, April 9, 2019
Sonic Explorations
Mara Helmuth, music director
Featuring an evening of electroacoustic and computer music by CCM students, faculty and guests.
Location: Cohen Family Studio Theater
Admission: FREE

8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018
Sonic Explorations
Mara Helmuth, music director
Featuring an evening of electroacoustic and computer music by CCM students, faculty and guests.
Location: Cohen Family Studio Theater
Admission: FREE

2017-18

8 p.m. Wednesday, April 4, 2018
Sonic Explorations
Mara Helmuth, music director
Featuring an evening of electroacoustic and computer music by CCM students, faculty and guests.
Location: Cohen Family Studio Theater
Admission: FREE

8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017
Sonic Explorations
Mara Helmuth, music director
Featuring an evening of electroacoustic and computer music by CCM students, faculty and guests.
Location: Cohen Family Studio Theater
Admission: FREE

2016-17

8 p.m. Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Sonic Explorations with Visiting Composer John Gibson
Featuring an evening of electroacoustic and computer music by John Gibson from the University of Indiana (Red Plumes, for cello and electronics), Mara Helmuth (from Australia), and new pieces by Michael Lukaszuk, Marissa DiPronio, Zhixin Xu, Nicolas Bizub, Hyejung Yoon, and Jacob Duber. Performances by CiCLOP, the Cincinnati Composers Laptop Orchestra Project, Daniel Toner, cello and Noel Garcia, bassoon.
Location: Cohen Family Studio Theater 
Admission: FREE

8 p.m. Nov. 15, 2016 
Sonic Explorations 
Music by CCM guests, faculty and students including Prof. Mara Helmuth, Marissa DiPronio, Jacob Duber, Michael Lukaszuk, Jeffrey Sabol, Zhixin Xu and guest composer Dariusz Mazurowski.
Location: Cohen Family Studio Theater
Admission: FREE

8 p.m. Sept. 21, 2016
Faculty Recital
Music for instruments and computer by Mara Helmuth, with CiCLOP (Cincinnati Composers Laptop Orchestra Project); Gregory Rowland Evans, cello; Kristofer Rucinski, piano, and visiting guest pianist Shiau-uen Ding.
Location: Robert J. Werner Recital Hall 
Admission: FREE

2015-16

8 p.m. March 29, 2016 
Sonic Explorations 
Electroacoustic and computer music by CCM Faculty, students and guests, including Prof. Mara Helmuth, Prof. Douglas Knehans, guest Scott Smallwood, Marissa DiPronio, Gregory Rowland Evans, Ivan Moscotta, Rachel Walker, and Zhixin Xu, with a performance by CiCLOP, the Cincinnati Composers Laptop Orchestra Project. 
Location: Cohen Family Studio Theater 
Admission: FREE

8 p.m. Nov. 17, 2015 
Sonic Explorations 
Electroacoustic and computer music by CCM Faculty, students and guests, including Marissa Dipronio, Jacob Duber, Michael Lukaszuk, Kristofer Rucinski, Jeffrey Sabol, Haerim Seok, Evan Williams, and Zhixin Xu. 
Location: Cohen Family Studio Theater 
Admission: FREE

8 p.m. Oct. 6, 2015
The Electroacoustic Flute - Guest artist Lindsay Goodman, flute
Contemporary electroacoustic works for flute by Roger Dannenberg, Mara Helmuth, and others. 
Location: Patricia Corbett Theater.

8 p.m. Oct. 3, 2015
Guest Artists Larchmere Quartet with Visiting Composer Zack Browning
Preceding lecture at 7 p.m. by Zack Browning, and two of his works performed by the Larchmere Quartet, along with classics of the string quartet genre. 
Location: Watson Hall

Recent projects have included the Wireless Sensor Networks Project, in collaboration with Peter Jun and other students of Prof. Dharma Agrawal in Computer Science department at UC. These projects resulted in a collaborations with the dance department for the Spring 2009 production, articles in various proceedings and performances and demonstrations at the International Computer Music Conference, the Society of Electroacoustic Music in the US, and other venues.

Past projects by students have included Joel Matthy's pd version of rtcmix~ and RTcmix tuning functions, Jennifer Bernard Merkowitz's Amber granular synthesis software, Ico Bukvic's RTmix performance coordination application and SPDSG, a stochastic phrase and density generator, Shiral Devmal's Raxenakis Cmix instrument and Shyam Vaidhyanathan's C.A.T., a cellular-automata-based audio processing tool that ran on the Silicon Graphics platform.

SoundMesh

By Mara Helmuth

Linux implementation by Ivica Ico Bukvic

New release planned for 2016 is under contruction, by Mara Helmuth and Zhixin Xu. 

SoundMesh is an application that focuses on live performance and improvization over the fast Internet 2 connection, with CD-audio quality. It is based on the RTcmix music programming language, configured with the netplay option. It has been used in a number of improvisatory performances or demonstrations at CCM, at the 2002 Internet 2 Conference, the 2002 Society of Electroacoustic Music in the U.S. Conference, the 2010 International Computer Music Conference at SUNY Stony Brook, and in collaboration with musicians at Columbia University, Yale University, University of Montana and others. 

StochGran

By Mara Helmuth

New release planned for 2016-17 is under contruction, by Mara Helmuth and Ivan Moscotta. 

Stochgran is an interface to a set of unique RTcmix instruments for stochastic granular synthesis. It allows the musician to create gestural sounds algorithmically or by setting the many parameters of change throughout the event. 

Patchmix

By Mara Helmuth

Patchmix was a graphical front end to Cmix for instrument building. The user creates a flow-chart of signal processing unit generators, from which the program would write out Cmix instrument code, compile it, and run a simple test score. It was originally programmed on a Sun 3/280 on X-Windows around 1989-90, and then ported to Silicon Graphics and OSX on the NeXT computer. A current version for RTcmix is being contemplated.