Fall 2014»CITA 180 Course Syllabus

CITA 180 Course Syllabus

College of CharlestonAug 19, 2014

CSCI/CITA 180 Computer Music

Course Syllabus


Dr. Bill Manaris


Room: 223 J.C. Long Building
Phone: (95)3-8159
E-mail: manarisb@cofc.edu
Web: http://www.cs.cofc.edu/~manaris/

Office Hours:

Tuesday, 9-10:30am
Thursday 9-11:30am
Other hours available by appointment.

Course Description:

A course introducing the creative side of computing in the context of music, sounds, images, and other digital artifacts. Emphasis will be given to computing and computational thinking related to music making. Students will develop several digital artifacts and elementary musical compositions.

This course will introduce computer programming and music through the study, transcription, and creation of musical works. Music topics include notation, scales, key signatures, intervals, chord construction, sight-singing, ear training, and readings in music history and aesthetics. Computing topics include data types, variables, assignment, selection, iteration, lists, functions, classes, events, and graphical user interfaces. Students will experience the computer as a musical instrument and a creative environment to develop fluency with musical practices, such as algorithmic composition, developing simple computer instruments, electroacoustic music, and minimalism.

Prerequisites/ Requirements:

  • Must bring your laptop and headphones.
  • Basic computer experience (e.g., file organization and software installation).
  • Interest in music and developing skills in musical practice.
  • Course is open to all majors. No previous programming experience required.

Tentative Outline:

Algorithm, setting up Python and the music library, data types, variables, assignment, arithmetic operators, input / output, MIDI language and protocol, selection (if statements), relational operators, iteration (loops), lists, functions, audio representations (WAVE, MP3), modularization (functions), classes (object-oriented design), events, and graphical user interfaces (GUIs).

The above outline is tentative; some topics may be added, others subtracted, as interest suggests and time permits.



Additional reading materials will provided via handouts and the class website.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Understand the fundamentals of music theory.
  • Analyze music and create musical studies modeled on pre-existing works.
  • Perform rhythmic patterns and sing melodies.
  • Understand important developments in musical styles in the twentieth century and the present.
  • Apply numeric and string data types to represent information.
  • Use variables in program development.
  • Understand arithmetic operators and use them to design expressions.
  • Understand for-loops and use them to design processes involving repetition.
  • Understand if statements and use them to design processes involving selection.
  • Understand functions and use them to design processes involving modularization.
  • Use predefined classes in program development (object-based programming).
  • Understand events and graphical user interfaces and use them to develop simple computer-based instruments for electroacoustic music.
  • Learn basic principles for group collaboration.

First-Year Experience Learning Outcomes:

  • Familiarity with appropriate data, information and knowledge-gathering techniques and research skills in the discipline.
    • Students will be exposed to computer data modeling, algorithmic techniques, and research related to computing in the arts.
  • Use of academic resources and student support services at College of Charleston, including the library, information technology, the Center for Student Learning, the Academic Advising and Planning Center, the office of Career Services, and other appropriate academic resources, student support services, and cultural resources.
    • Students will attend campus events related to music and art (see below).
  • Using appropriate critical thinking skills and problem-solving techniques in a variety of contexts.
  • Understanding the goals of liberal arts and sciences education and the core values of College of Charleston.
    • Readings will explore the intersection between computing and the liberal arts and sciences.
  • Using effective skills and strategies for working collaboratively.
    • Student will participate in various collaborative activities, such as collaborative written exercises, team programming in-class activities, and group projects.


To receive a passing grade for the course, you must average a passing grade on each of the following: assignments, tests, and final exam.

Scale: A: 90-100; B: 80-89; C: 70-79; D: 60-69; F: <60. The grades of B+/, C+/, and D+/ may be given at the professor's discretion.

Final Grade Computation: Assignments (4-6) 30%, Tests (2) 40%, Comprehensive Final Exam or Final Project 20%, and Class Participation 10%.

Honor Code:

  • You must do your assignments alone (or with your teammates, for group assignments).
  • You are not allowed to discuss assignments and possible solutions with any person other than the instructor (or with your teammates, for group assignments). Any violation of these rules is an honor offense.
  • On assignments you will be asked to identify the person(s) you received help from, if any.
  • Also see the College of Charleston Student Handbook, especially sections on The Honor Code (p. 11), and Student Code of Conduct (p. 12). There is other useful information there.

Test Policies:

  • Attendance at tests is mandatory. You must complete tests with no discussion or sharing of information with other students.
  • Calculators, computers, cell phones, etc. may not be used during a test, unless otherwise directed.

Classroom Policies:

  • You are expected to attend all classes, and be in class on-time. If you accumulate 4 or more absences, you may be given a 'WA' grade.
    • If you miss class, you must fill out Absence Memo Request Form from the Absence Memo Office.
    • If you miss class, you are responsible for announcements made in class, assignment due dates, etc.
  • You are expected to take good notes during lecture.
  • You are expected to participate in class with questions and invited discussion.
  • You are expected to do your own work during class activities, exercises, and assignments.
  • You should turn off all electronic devices (e.g., cell phones, pagers, etc.).
  • Since we are in a lab, you must use the computers only as directed (e.g., no checking email, or playing games) during class.
  • Any student who feels he or she may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact me individually to discuss your specific needs. Also, please contact the Center for Disability Services for additional help.
  • In summary, you should contribute positively to the classroom learning experience, and respect your classmates right to learn (see College of Charleston Student Handbook, section on Classroom Code of Conduct (p. 58)).

Assignment Policies:

  • Assignment grades will be based on creative inspiration, design, style, and correctness of result.
  • Assignments may NOT be submitted via email.
  • Submission instructions will be provided for each assignment.

Late Policy:

  • You have four "late" days for the whole semester. You may use these days as you wish for assignment submission. If you use them up, no late assignments will be accepted.
  • If you submit everything on time (i.e., use no late days), you will earn an additional 2.5 bonus points on your course grade.