Creating Music With Laptop Orchestra

Creating Music With Laptop Orchestra




















Faculty Instructor: Professor Ge Wang, Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA), Department of Music (also Computer Science, by Courtesy)

Arrival Date in Beijing, China: June 14, 2014
Departure Date from Beijing, China: July 5, 2014


Seminar Overview

Throughout our history, art and technology has progressed hand-in-hand. New tools, methods, technical advancements enable and inspire the way art is made. Meanwhile, the desire to make art enriches how we think and use new technology, reminding us that while technology may be central to our lives, it is what we do with technology that truly matters.

In this seminar, we explore a unique intersection of advanced technology (the computer) and music-making. "Creating Music With Laptop Orchestra" is an intensive, hands-on exploration of music technology, using the Stanford Laptop Orchestra (SLOrk) as vehicle and model. This Beijing-based seminar is limited to 6 Stanford students with an emphasis on graduate students. Via instructor-led and guest lectures, hands-on workshops, and performances, participants will engage in the full spectrum of the Laptop Orchestra medium and integrate the following components:

1. New musical instrument design: students will learn the theory and practice of creating new musical interaction design with computers, and will design and build (via computer programming) new instruments for computer-mediated performance. For example, instruments might include those crafted from joysticks, wiimote, mice, and keyboards and other commodity input devices and controllers.

2. Programming for sound synthesis: the seminar will explore the fundamentals of computer-generated sound.We will use the ChucK music programming language as our primary tool.

3. Crafting new musical works: using our new instruments and sounds, we will create computer-mediated musical compositions, tailored for the "electronic chamber music" format of the Laptop Orchestra.

4. Live performance: this final component integrates all the aspects of the seminar into rehearsals and a final public live performance at SCPKU (and also possibly at a black box theater elsewhere in Beijing).

Application Process, Prerequisites and Expectations

Participants will be selected based on their proposal (emailed to the seminar instructor by April 18, 2014) that outlines their interests in music and technology, and any prior experiences in music and/or computer programming. An online application must also be completed by this date. Stanford students from all schools with basic programming proficiency (completed 2 or more programming courses) and a healthy interest to make music and to explore new ways to do so (no musical training is required) are encouraged to apply. Priority will be given to Stanford graduate students. Participants are expected to be actively involved in all discussions, workshops and performances.


Grading Basis

This seminar is non unit-bearing and grades will not be assigned. Students who would like to enroll for credit may consult with the seminar instructor and/or their individual departments to explore "directed research" opportunities.


Faculty Bio

Ge Wang is an Assistant Professor at Stanford University’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA). He researches programming languages and interactive software systems for computer music, mobile and social music, laptop orchestras, human-computer interaction, and education at the intersection of computer science and music. Dr. Wang is the author of the ChucK audio programming language, the founding director of the Stanford Laptop Orchestra (SLOrk) and the Stanford Mobile Phone Orchestra (MoPhO). He is also the designer of the iPhone’s Ocarina and Magic Piano apps and co-founder of Smule, a company specializing in the development of social music-making mobile applications, reaching over 100 million users.



SCPKU is Stanford’s headquarters for faculty and students engaged in research, teaching, training and outreach activities in China. The Center is located on the PKU campus in the Haidian District of Beijing, which is known for its rich intellectual community, including top universities, research academies and government agencies. The 3400-square-meter center is designed as a resource for the entire Stanford community, providing collaborative spaces and offices as well as support services to facilitate the work of scholars and programs. SCPKU is a focal point for building academic and educational networks throughout East Asia, bringing together established researchers and a new generation of young scholars to create a vibrant and dynamic hub of intellectual exchange and collaboration.


For More Information

Contact Connie Chao for more information about SCPKU's Graduate Seminar Program and other programs and events at the center.