CITA/CSCI 180 – Computers, Music and Art – Spring 2019


MWF 9:30 am – 10:20 am / Harbor Walk East 302


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.


Homework 1, Homework 2, Homework 3, Homework 4Homework 5Homework 6, and Final Project.

Test Dates

  • Test 1: Monday, March 11.
  • Test 2: Monday, April 29 (during first 50 mins).
  • Final:  8-11am, Monday, April 29


  1. Video of CSCI 180 final project (Dec. 2010) – a laptop orchestra!
  2. John Cage’s 4′ 33” (performed by the BBC Orchestra), and also his piece “As Slow As Possible” (which, in one performance, is lasting 639 years!).
  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

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