Courses 2023-24

Spatial Audio

Shawn Greenlee (Fall 2023), Mondays 1:10-6:10pm

Spatial Audio focuses on the creation of immersive 3-D sound experiences. In this course, students analyze and explore how the sensation of space is activated in the listener by making works using spatial audio techniques. These methods include high order ambisonics, vector-based amplitude panning, multichannel surround, and binaural audio, among others. Throughout the semester, a series of exercises addressing technical and theoretical issues provide students with the necessary experience to produce midterm and final projects. Coursework involves computational approaches to sound design and composition with instruction in the audio programming language Max and digital audio workstation Reaper. Students have recurring access to a 25-channel loudspeaker array for the development of works. Readings from psychology, philosophy, the arts, and sound studies support class discussions and critiques.

Sonic Practices

Alex Chechile (Fall 2023), Wednesdays 11:20am-4:20pm
Michael Demps (Spring 2024), Wednesdays 11:20am-4:20pm

Sonic Practices is a graduate-level research group focused on acoustic, electronic, and/or computer-based means of sound production and reception. Participants explore audio culture and technology while developing experimental approaches to composition, performance, recording, and/or listening. Areas of investigation include, but are not limited to: audio programming languages, embedded/mobile computing for sound and music, spatial audio, sound synthesis, audio electronics, sonification and auditory display, electroacoustic music composition and improvisation, field recording and soundscape studies, sound installation and performance, and sonic interaction design.

Each semester, course content changes in response to a new unifying theme upon which students base individual and team-based research projects. Meetings consist of discussions, workshops, critiques, and collaborations that support students' individual inquiries, the exchange of ideas, and the exploration of research methodologies.

Modular Synthesis Studio

Alex Chechile (Spring 2024), Mondays 1:10-6:10pm

Modular synthesizers offer a tactile approach to sound production that is consistently inventive by design.  Emerging from the 1960s counterculture, they are a product of expansive thinking that challenged conventions in both instrument design and creative practice.  Six decades later, the limits of possibility only increased.  In Modular Synthesis Studio, we will learn and apply concepts of voltage controlled synthesizers to creative coding and embedded computing platforms.  Imbued with the spirit of community, together we will design and build a one-of-a-kind RISD modular synthesizer by semester end, while also creating new sound-based works with the system.  

Programming Sound: Performance Systems

Shawn Greenlee (Spring 2024), Fridays 1:10 -6:10pm

Programming Sound: Performance Systems focuses on programming and designing computer-based systems for sound art and music performance. Centered on the dataflow programming language Max , the course will be of substantial benefit to students who desire a rigorous and fast-moving foundation in algorithmic approaches to sound design. The course simultaneously facilitates explorations in sound synthesis, audio signal processing, electronics, gesture-based human computer interaction, and instrument building with microcontrollers and sensors. Coursework involves weekly homework in the form of online lectures and exercises with class sessions reserved for demonstrations, workshops, and project assistance. The course emphasizes modularity and reuse of code. Students will present their work in a public concert during the last week of the semester.