NYU Students Develop Interactive Computer Music Pieces using JSyn and JMSL

New York, NY, May 5, 2001

Java Music Systems is a course taught by Nick Didkovsky at NYU.  Core
technologies are JSyn (realtime audio synthesis API) and JMSL
(algorithmic music framework).  Below is a summary of final projects
created by Nick's students in the Spring 2001 semester.

Kyogu Lee designed a JMSL/JSyn application that maps incoming Midi to
Java Graphics calls, and renders various shapes as the live performer
plays.  He also has an automatic mode where the live performer is
simulated through stochastic processes.  All sound is created by JSyn
circuits, which include male and female formant-simulated voices.  He
will be posting an applet version of the automatic performer soon.

Kellie Alexander created an application that maps typing keystrokes to
the frequency of a variety of JSyn circuits.  As the user types,
melodies are generated.  The user can capture keystrokes and see the
melodies scored by JMSL’s JScore notation package.  One of the driving
principles behind the application is to provide sonic feedback to the
typist, who is not watching the computer screen (as typists are trained
not to do).  Words might become familiar melodies, and Kellie
conjectures that misspellings would be caught by the typist when a
word-melody sounds incorrect.

Adam Neril designed a pitch-tracking patch in Wire, which he drives with
his guitar.  The sound is a looping sitar sample, whose rate is
transposed according to the detected pitch.  An interesting twist to the
circuit is that Adam takes the confidence output of the pitch follower
and connects it to the amplitude port of the sample player, resulting in
dramatically different, often noisy behavior differentiating high,
clearly tracked notes, and low notes which are harder to track.

Won Lee sampled Korean percussion and played two drum samples using JSyn
sample playing circuits and JMSL MusicShapes.  He generates variations
of one drum pattern by adding a repeatPlayable object to the MusicShape,
which occasionally calls scramble() on the MusicShape’s Duration

David Monterosso (private composition) built a beat box applet which
loads four sound samples, and plays them back with JMSL Music Shapes.
The user can add and remove the four voices from the collection that
plays the shapes, using a simple GUI.  The applet also has a
MusicShapeEditor so that the user can change the data driving the
grooves.  The MusicShapes provide control over the duration, playback
sampling rate, and amplitude of the varios samples.  Visit

Rob Falotico composed a fixed piece using a variety of sources.  He
designed eight JSyn circuits, most of which were driven by either voice
or guitar.  He laid down tracks of various performances, and assembled,
edited them in multitrack digital editing software.

Christina Ho composed a fixed piece based on a reading of an ancient
Chinese poem, “Seven Steps.”  The poem was a challenge from a jealous
brother to his sibling, who succeeded in composing it in the time it
took him to walk seven steps.  The poem is rich with sorrow,
helplessness, pain, and anger.  Christina used envelope-driven sample
player JSyn circuits to transform the wav files of her reading of the
poem.  Vivid invocations of the poem’s imagery are heard in the music.

Joel Mellin (private composition)  is engaged in an extensive project
using genetic algorithms to generate JSyn circuits.  He evolves two
kinds of populations: individuals made up of unconnected JSyn units, and
individuals made up of connection maps.  The latter connect the ports of
the units contained in the former.  Joel intends to model the
co-evolution of populations, whose fitness is a complex result of their
interaction.  Currently he tracks evolution of populations by writing a
circuit to disk in XML format, which can be loaded and inspected in

JSyn home http://www.softsynth.com
JMSL home http://www.algomusic.com

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