Do you want to create sound and music with your computer? Do you want to build new kinds of musical instruments? Do you want to be a part of a laptop band? This is the course for you!

This course is an introduction to the fundamental concepts of music computing, including digital synthesis, algorithmic composition, and musical interface design. You will develop your knowledge by creating computer musical instruments in music programming languages and developing new computer music works to present in concert with an ensemble of other students.

Modern music technology exists at the forefront of computing practice and involves new live programming paradigms, human interface design, digital signal processing, networking, and machine learning. You will gain experience in these concepts and learn how to conceptualise and realise new computer music instruments, compositions, and performances.

This is the course formerly known as Laptop Ensemble! You’re joining at a great time because we’re expanding to cater for more students (equals more fun) and adding more content for 2023!

How to enrol

Two course codes are available: COMP4350 and COMP8350.

SMC is open to students from computing, as well as those who meet the prerequisites from creative arts and other areas of the ANU.

If you have any issues with enrolment, please follow the instructions on this page to ask for a permission code.

If you’ve got questions about enrolling in the course, get in touch with Charles Martin.

What happens in SMC?

Each week you will attend an interactive lecture and try out SMC concepts with Charles, and a collaborative workshop where you will create musical performances with your small ensemble of 4-5 new computer musicians. You will create a sound/music piece every week and perform as the “ANU Laptop Ensemble” in the end-of-semester concert series.

The best way to see what we do is to watch previous student’s performances in the on our YouTube channel.

Getting Started

If you have enrolled in SMC, or are thinking about it, and want to get started, here’s what to do:

  1. Enrol in the course on ISIS and sign up for a workshop on MyTimetable.
  2. Make sure you have a laptop and commit to attending all lectures and workshops.
  3. Read through the tools page and install things on your laptop that you might need. Test them out and see if you can make a sound.
  4. Have a look at the references page and browse through some of the readings to get a head start on learning about sound and music computing.

Then show up in week 1 ready to make some computer music!

Who is this for?

In this course you’ll learn fundamental skills of sound and music computing, including digital synthesis, algorithmic composition, and musical interface design. You’ll put these skills to use creating a computer musical instrument, composition, or interactive sound artwork to perform—at a live gig—at the end of the course.

This course is open to students in computer science, music, art, and elsewhere at ANU. You should have a strong interest in making sound and music using computers, a willingness to learn new approaches to music and computer programming, and be must be able to attend the weekly workshop session perform at the end-of-semester performance.

If you’ve got any questions (including how to enrol), the course FAQ might answer them for you.

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