CITA/CSCI 180 – Computers, Music and Art – Spring 2020


MWF 12:30 pm – 1:20 pm / Harbor Walk East 301


A course introducing the creative side of computing in the context of music, sounds, images, and other digital artifacts. Emphasis will be given to computer programming for music making, live performance, and interaction. Students will develop several digital artifacts and elementary musical compositions. Course is open to all majors. No previous programming experience required.

Prerequisites by Topic

  1. Basic computer experience, including file organization and software installation.
  2. Interest in developing intelligent-listening and sound-structuring skills.

Additional Course Requirements

  1. Bring your laptop to class.
  2. Bring headphones to class.



Test Dates

  • Test 1: TBA
  • Test 2: TBA
  • Final:  4-7pm, Wednesday, April 29


  1. Video of CSCI 180 final project (Dec. 2010) – a laptop orchestra!
  2. Seikilos Epitaph – the oldest surviving complete musical composition notation, from anywhere in the world.
  3. TED Talk: How to read music – sheet music may look complicated, but once you’ve gotten the hang of a few simple elements like notes, bars and clefs, you’re ready to rock. Tim Hansen hits the basics you need to read music.


  • JythonMusic provides software for music-making and creative computing. It is a collection of Jython libraries for music, images, graphical user interfaces (GUIs), and connecting to external MIDI devices, smartphones, and tablets, among others.
  • Audacity is free, open source software for recording and editing sounds. It is available for Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems.

Course syllabus

Course syllabus (PDF).  Also, see the following syllabus references:

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