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Page 33 ï~~COMPUTER MUSIC AT THE UNIVERSITY OF BRADFORD Anna. Katrami Dr. Peter J. Comerford Dr. Barry M. Eaglestone E.I.M.C. Unit Computing Department Computing Department University of Bradford University of Bradford University of Bradford Richmond Road Richmond Road Richmond Road Bradford, BD71DP. U.K. Bradford. BD7-1DP. U.K. Bradford. BD7-IDP, U.K. Tel. +44-1274-385467 Tel. +44-1274-383936 Tel. +44-1274-383908 Fax. +44-1274-383727 Fax. +44-1274-383920 Fax. +44-1274-383920 email: A.Katrami@bradford.ac.uk email: P.J.Comerford@bradford.ac.uk email: B.Eaglestonegbradford.ac.uk ABSTRACT: Computer Music at the University of Bradford is represented by three groups which work collaboratively but in different areas. In the E.I.M.C. Unit (Electronic Imaging and Media Communications Unit). music is an important component of both education and research in media production and multimedia activities. Research and design in the M.M.RU. (Microcomputer Music Research Unit) concentrate upon sound creation. and in S.I.T.R1G. (Sound Information Technology Research Group), research centres on compositional environments. 1. Introduction The University of Bradford received its Royal Charter in 1966, but its origins lie deep in the last century. Bradford Technical College grew out of Schools of Weaving, Design, and Building, which reflected the textile industry's needs of the 1860s. Concentrating on professional qualifications, especially in the technological field, it became a College of Advanced Technology in 1957[lJ. The present University has more than doubled in size and range of courses since gaining University status. The field of Computer Music is a relatively new one and is represented in three different ways in the University. E.I.M.C. Unit was first established in 1991, while M.M.RU. started in 1974, and S.I.T.RG. was formed around 1991. The three groups integrate both in education and on research. 2. Electronic Imaging and Media Communications Unit (E.LM.C. Unit) The E.I.M.C. Unit, part of the Electrical Engineering Department, together with the Bradford and Ilkley Community College, and the National Museum of Photography, Film. and Television (NMPFT), created a multidisciplinary B.Sc. course which gives both the technical background and practical and creative understanding of the use of 'images' (television, film. music, or advertising) in society[21. Both three year B.Sc. courses offered (one in Electronic Imaging and Media Communications. and the other in Media Technology and Production) give an innovative combination of arts and sciences which demonstrate clearly the involvement of modem technology in the creativity and artistic works needed in journalism, television. radio, music. photography, production & post-production, animation. and multimedia. Electronic Music is an important component in EIMC Unit as an interaction with visual imagery in film and video productions or multimedia applications. The EIMC Unit, together with the NMPFT have a set of three studios for sound creation, recording, manipulation, mixing, and editing. All the facilities are used by both undergraduate and postgraduate students for diverse activities such as: composition. studio recordings, video production, film and television, and music controlled animation. The main audio teaching modules (sometimes combined with similar image or video techniques) include: " Image, sound, and text (early cinema, silent era. first talking movies, world cinema) " Audio-Visual systems (overview of all the different audio and video equipment on the market) " Soundscapes (the development of sound recording, early electronic instruments, sound and the moving image) " Sound and Visual Media (the interaction of visual imagery and sound) " Computers and Music (digital editing, sound synthesis, MIDI, hard-disk recording, algorithmic composition) " Sound Processing (audio production and post-production. audio compression techniques) 1 This module is also available to final year undergraduates from the Computing Department. IC M C P R O C E E D I N G S 1995 33
Page 34 ï~~Final year students are expected to undertake a project of their choice which on the music side might be a composition produced on a CD together with a promotional video and leaflets to advertise it. or a CD-ROM on sound processing techniques, or review of software and hardware systems most commonly used including demos and examples. or even a music magazine. Current research is focused on combining properties from different disciplines like signal processing, electronic music, multimedia, and animation, on computer platforms like 486 PCs, Mac Quadras, and Silicon Graphics systems. 3. Microcomputer Music Research Unit (M.M.RU.) The emphasis in the M.M.RU.. based in the Computing Department. is on sound creation, both in research activities and in design and development work Three members of University staff are attached to the Unit. The M.M.RU. was responsible for the design of the Bradford Musical Instrument Simulator (BMIS)[31, which has been commercially successful in the classical organ field. The M.M-RU. works on a consultancy basis with industrial partners on the on-site tonal finishing of some of the instruments based on the simulator. In this way, the Unit has been responsible for the voicing of organs at 6 British Cathedrals and Abbeys, as well as at churches, schools, and other venues. Each building presents individual acoustic challenges for the organ voicer, and it is the unique flexibility of the Bradford simulator which allows these varied conditions and requirements to be taken into account. By means of such consultancy work. the M.M.RU. has built up practical as well as theoretical knowledge of the use of their invention, and has accrued research funds to the University. A new generation of the Simulator has been developed in association with industry. This development was assisted by a large governmental grant for promoting industrial training for young graduates, which allowed additional members of staff to be taken on. Many new features are incorporated, and there is a sophisticated Windows-based graphical interface for the definition of musical instrument simulations. M.M.R.U. research includes work on new architectures and algorithms for additive synthesis; resource allocation in musical sound generating systems; musical sound perception. including the perceived degree of ensemble in organ tone: musical instrument sound synthesis; and musical sound transient analysis/synthesis. 4. Sound Information Technology Research Group (S.LT.R.G.) S.I.T.RG. is also centred at the Computing Department and is researching in collaboration with specialists in composition and DSP in other institutions. Primarily, this collaboration has involved Tamas Ungvary and Peter Ludden (Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm). Bernhard Feiten (Technical University, Berlin), and Reel Vertegaal (Twente University). The work at Bradford has focused on support environments for music composition. The group has defined an architecture to support and integrate composition tools, and is researching associated issues, including bit-wise reduction of audio signals, a design database for composition. tools integration strategies, and timbre-space interfaces for direct manipulation of sounds. These ideas are currently being evaluated through prototype implementations in which CSound and also Peter Ludden's SoundModels system are being integrated with the support system. S.I.T.RG.'s research is biased towards computer science, with computer music being chosen as a demonstrator application due to the group's interest in the field. The facilities reflect this bias - prototyping work has been in a Unix environment on Sun Sparkstations; audio I/0 facilities are currently through DatLink equipment 5. Conclusion The three groups together promote an all round approach to Computer Music at the University of Bradford. References 1. University of Bradford, Undergraduate Prospectus for entry in September 1996. 2. H. Kennedy., 'An Educational Case Study of the use of New Technologies in Electronic Imaging', Proceeding of CADE 95, University of Brighton, pp258-260. 3. P.J. Comerford. 'Simulating an organ with additive synthesis', Computer Music Journal, vol. 17(2), Summer 1993. pp55-61. 4. B.M. Eaglestone, 'An artistic design system'. Conference on SOESEM (Software Seminar), Invited talks, Milovy Czech Republic. Comp.Sc. Society. & ACM Chapters of the Czech and Slovec Republics. ppl5-38, 1994. 34 IC M C PROCEEDINGS 1995