21M.385 | Fall 2016 | Undergraduate

Interactive Music Systems


Exploration Presentation and Problem Set Demo Information

Exploration Presentation

Students will cooperate in teams of 2 people to (1) write a blog post on the project their team researched and (2) jointly present the project to the class.

Don’t kill yourself on this, just put in a solid handful of hours as a team on a project presentation that excites you!

Blog post: Due the morning of your presentation. Describe the project and include the relevant link(s) and potentially video(s). What did you like about it, and what are your thoughts on its technical execution (For example: How was it done? Were there technical bugs or errors in execution? What might you change if you were to build something similar? What do you think about the interface?) Be sure to include a nice pretty picture at the top, as well.

Presentation: Duration: Around 10 minutes. Use your blog post as a basis for the content of the presentation, and feel free to show a bit of video.

Pset Demo

After completing a given pset, three students will individually present their solutions to that pset to the class during the Wednesday after the week that pset was due. No need to make a powerpoint or anything - the idea is to explain and demonstrate the cool thing you did to the class! (No presentations for the Fantasia pset.)

Each week there will be one extra slot each week if anyone wants to volunteer because they like how their pset turned out, or to move people around if someone doesn’t want to present on their assigned week.

Duration: 5 min + Q&A

Problem Sets

Final Projects

Choose a Topic

Your choice for the Final Project is quite open-ended. The only requirements are that your project

  • Produces music
  • Has graphical elements (user interface, artistic, or both)
  • Is interactive – the user controls what happens in real-time

One strategy for choosing a topic is to pick a particular area that we covered in class and explore it more deeply. As a reminder, we have covered:

  • Audio synthesis
  • Audio file playback and manipulation
  • Graphics
  • Sequencing / scheduling / MIDI playback
  • Leap Motion or other input devices
  • Music games

Your topic can focus on one of these modes of interaction:

  • Games: directed goals. Winning / losing. Earn points.
  • Education: teach how some aspect of music works – harmony, counterpoint, melodic shaping, music styles – rock, classical, non-Western (Gamelan, Indian, African).
  • Performance – A piece that you compose/perform that has a beginning, middle, end, and real-time improvisational elements.
  • Sandbox – DJ tools, music creation tools, looping, modifying, building musical components from building blocks
  • Art Pieces / “Synesthesia” – Highlighting connections between Music and Graphics (Color, Shape, Texture, Animation).

The musical output of your system can be:

  • Your own audio synthesis
  • Fluidsynth instruments
  • Existing songs
  • Recordings you create (pre-recorded or live recorded)
  • Any combination of the above

The control device for your system can be:

  • A game controller
  • Leap Motion
  • Other motion sensing devices (Kinect, Playstation Move, Myo armband)
  • Other control surfaces (MIDI controllers like Launchpad, Keyboards, etc…)
  • Custom hardware you build

Choose a team

I highly encourage you to work on this project with one or two other people. A two- person or three-person team is the ideal.

As you work with another student, you will bounce ideas off each other, help each other get unstuck, and gain experience working together and resolving differences. Your project can be bigger in scope or be more refined and polished. You can divide the work based on your relative strengths and will gain experience breaking down your project into modular pieces that can be worked on by more than one person at a time.

The Project Proposal

Each team is required to submit a written project proposal (see Project Proposal Template) and also present their proposal in class.

Project Proposal Template (DOC) (PDF)

Schedule and Deliverables

You are required to demonstrate weekly progress on your final project. Progress is evaluated based on the Project Proposal, two interim presentations, and the final presentation. The final presentation will be video taped in class for archival purposes. Working code must be submitted as part of the final project deliverable.

Student Examples: Final Project Presentations

Video presentations by MIT students in the class have been archived on the Music Technology at MIT website.

Browse the final project demo videos by type:

Course Info

Learning Resource Types
Lecture Notes
Problem Sets
Presentation Assignments
Projects with Examples