Spring 2011»CSCI 180 Homework 4

CSCI 180 Homework 4

Assigned Date: Monday, Apr. 18, 2011
Due Date: Monday, May 2, 2011
Due Time: 7:55am

NOTE: No late days can be used for this assignment.

Last modified on May 10, 2011, at 08:40 AM (see updates)

This is a pair-programming assignment (i.e., you may work with one partner). You may discuss the assignment only with your partner or the instructor.


This assignment focuses on:

  • composing a contemporary piece of music
  • creating music with computers,
  • exploring audio recording/manipulation software,
  • exploring different filters and audio effects, and
  • exporting a mix-down (final audio file).


Listen to the following pieces:


Create a contemporary piece of music using jython + jMusic.

You have two choices - the piece can be either a musique concrète piece, or a soundscape piece.

NOTE: The piece should contain, at least, two found sounds (i.e., sounds that exist in the environment). It should also contain, at least, one synthesized sound (i.e., a sound generated using a jMusic synthesized instrument).


Your composition should be approximately 57 seconds long. It should be original.

Compose your piece on paper first. Draw a diagram, a soundscape. Be creative, be original.

In addition to your music, you should include a short report describing your piece. Your report should include the name of your piece, the experience you try to create, a description of the sounds used, and a visual diagram of the composition's structure.

Use found sounds in the same format (e.g., 44100 sample rate, 2 channels (stereo), 16 bit-width).

Use audioUtilities.py which provides useful audio functions. Save it in the folder as your program. Then, import it into your program, as follows, before you use its functions:

import audioUtilities

Feel free to add more useful audio functions to it.

Royalty-Free Sounds

You can find great recorded sounds here:

You may also use Audacity or some other audio recorder/editor to do basic recording or editing of sounds.


Start with a paper (soundscape) design of your piece, prior to writing the code (see Homework #3).

Following the design on paper, write a program to create the piece. This program should do the significant work of mixing sounds together, normalizing, synthesizing sounds, etc.

Start simple and build up. Feel free to borrow ideas from the examples presented in class, but your work should be original.

It is OK to have more than one programs to generate different parts of the piece. (If so, one of the programs should assemble all the piece's components.)


You will submit your assignment on paper and CD (or USB stick) to the instructor at the beginning of class on the due date.

Be prepared to demo your music to the rest of the class.

Your submission consists of the following:

  1. A short report file (MS Word or PDF only) with:
    • Names: The class, homework assignment no., date, name of your composition, and your full names at the top.
    • Experience: a description of the experience you try to create.
    • Diagram: your soundscape design.
    • Sounds: Names and descriptions of sounds used. Also, where you got them (include URLs, if possible).
  2. Your composition in stored in a WAV, AIFF, MP3 or OGG audio file.
  3. The program(s) used to generate your piece. Give it/them meaningful name(s). You will need to submit all your programs for full credit.


Your assignment will be graded based on:

  • How interesting your music is.
  • How well your report (design document) is written.
  • Variety of ideas you tried in your composition.
  • How well you followed the above instructions.


For your in-class demo, you should:

  • Play your music.
  • Discuss your composition design.
  • Illustrate your design by discussing different components.
  • Go over the code that generated the music



Your grade will be based on how well you followed the above instructions, and the depth/quality of your work.