Techniques and Tools for the Critique of Digital Music

I delivered this course at Columbia University in Fall 2018.

Course description

This course introduces students to topics in the digital production and reception of music since the introduction of digital computers, including: the history of digital speech synthesis, the importance of format to the study of digital media, file-sharing and music copyright, collaboration in twentieth-century music performance, the role of online communities and commercial algorithms in the emergence of new musical genres, the use of music in video games (“ludomusicology”), the challenges of designing improvising musical “agents” that use artificial intelligence, and the virtues and pitfalls of techno-optimism about music in the twenty-first century. Each weekly regular class meeting is paired with a practicum, in which students will learn how to use a number of research software packages to: visualize and compare audio recordings, analyze social networks of musicians and music consumers, extract meaning from text corpora originating in online music communities, emulate old and obsolete hardware using a modern desktop computer, and access useful—but not always easy-to-access—online data sources using server-side web APIs.

Course Blog

Lab notebook