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Page 146 ï~~La Trobe University Music Department: Studio Report David Hirst Music Department, Latrobe University, Bundoora, Victoria 3083, Australia MUSDJGH@lure.latrobe.edu.au 1. History: The La Trobe University Music Department was established in 1974 by Professor Keith Humble, and its first classes were offered in 1975. Electro-acoustic music was a part of the curriculum from the outset, with all first year students creating musique concrete pieces in a tape lab installed by Ted Grove. Warren Burt arrived in late 1975 armed with a large number of Serge Tcherepnin analogue synthesiser modules, which formed the heart of the analogue synthesis equipment into the 1980s. Jim Sosnin introduced basic acoustics, electronics and other audio theory into the curriculum in 1976, and established the first recording studio the following year. The Department then combined with the School of Physical Sciences to develop courses in physics for music students. Several unique instruments were acquired in the 1970s. The first of these was an electronic keyboard that had programmable microtuning - the Scalatron. The second was the EMS Spectron video synthesiser. In 1979 the Department took its first steps into the digital world when it installed a Digital Equipment Corporation PDP 11/10. Graeme Hair returned from the United States with a copy of MUSIC4BF, which was adapted for the University's DEC 10, and later ported to the VAX 11/780, by Kim Horsell and Graeme Gerrard. Software synthesis was carried out on the VAX and digital to analogue conversion was performed on the Music Department's PDP 11 using software written in-house. Graeme Hair and Jim Sosnin introduced the course in computer music programming in 1980. In the 1980s the microprocessor exerted its influence and the Department purchased a Charles River Universe 68000 computer for software synthesis. Keith Winter became interested in the new desktop technology and a number of Apple II and BBC computers were acquired for use in teaching. The introduction of MIDI and the release of the Yamaha DX7 enlivened Jeff Pressing's interest in music synthesis and he developed a MIDI-based synthesis subject. The Department's strength in music and technology was finally cemented in 1989 when Jeff Pressing, Jim Sosnin, and David Hirst introduced the Graduate Diploma in Contemporary Music Technology. The facilities for undergraduate teaching at this time consisted of three Macintosh-based composition laboratories and a recording studio suite - purpose built in 1988. Research was carried out in the Synthesis Research Lab on Macintosh and NeXT hardware. Although most composition was studio-based, live performance was explored through Pressing's Ozdimo synthesiser ensemble and Hirst's Bell and Whistle Company interactive performance collective. In 1994 Jeff Pressing moved to the Psychology Department of Melbourne University and in the same year the La Trobe Music Department became a department of the School of Arts and Media along with the departments of Drama, Cinema Studies, and Media Studies. In this expanded context David Hirst formed the Digital Media Research Group, and the Synthesis Lab became the Digital Media Lab with the addition of PowerMac-based multi-media authoring equipment. In 1995 Princeton graduate, Alistair Riddell, was appointed to the staff as a postdoctoral research fellow. Larry Polansky will be resident as a visiting Fullbright Fellow in the second half of 1996. 2. Education: Since the Department's foundation students have majored in Music within a three year Bachelor of Arts. Students can specialise in any one of five streams in music; Composition, Performance, Musicology, Audio Recording and Computer Music. A Bachelor of Music will be introduced in 1996 to allow students to specialise in any two of the above five streams. Honours is offered as an extra year of study in both the BMus and BA. The Graduate Diploma in Contemporary Music Technology is a postgraduate year of study made up of coursework and a major project. Coursework consists of computer music programming, MIDI systems and audio recording. Further postgraduate study is by research alone through the Master of Arts and PhD programs. Course details can be obtained from the Department's World Wide Web page (see below) 3. Research: In the recent past research areas have been a reflection of staff research interests. Thus Jeff Pressing's interests in improvisation and technology led him into the cognitive science field. Jim Sosninl has been interested in signal processing and gestural control devices. David Hirst has carried out work in computerassisted composition and analysis of electroacoustic music. Cross-fertilisation has also occurred, for example, in the work done on realtime DSP on the Macintosh by Jim Sosnin, David Hirst and Graeme Gerrard (while he was at Melbourne University). 148 IC M C P R O C EE D I N G S 1995
Page 147 ï~~The following listing of current staff and postgraduate student research projects may provide a useful orientation to the work at La Trobe: Adam, S. Gestural and textural relationships in electroacoustic music. Alsop, R. Using linguistic techniques in computer composition through reference to specific Australian poems. Bell, R. PITCH: The Percussion Instruments' Timbral Classification Hierarchy. Hirst, D. Musical analysis using MQ plots. Joyce, S. A study of the emotional affective qualities of sound within film and the role of expectation and attention. Favilla, S. Live electronic music using a custom light harp. McDermott, T. Interactive music-dance structures. Magill, J. A cognitive model for the production of polyrhythm in a master drummer from West Africa. Riddell, A and D. Hirst. Engagement between the representations of sound and artistic intention in electroacoustic music. Rodger, D. The use and efficacy of non-tactile controllers in real-time music performance. Scallan, C. Physical modelling of sound under NeXTstep. Sosnin, J. Chaos graphics and sound, using correlated real-time generation on interlinked Amiga, Macintosh and Motorola DSP56000 processors. Sosnin, J. Nontactile controllers, using ultrasonic and RF ranging, for multi-dimensional control of synthesis parameters in performance. Sosnin, J. Sixteen-channel audio mixer, midi controlled with UHF radio link. Stainsby, T. The identification and isolation of melodic lines as independent audio signals in polyphonic sources. Speer, S. Analysis of women's electroacoustic music. Speakman, L. Music and non-narrative animation. 4. Concerts and Compositions: La Trobe generally hosts two computer music concerts a year, and collaborates with other Melbourne producers to present computer music to a wider audience. The most notable recent example was a collaboration with the Astra Music Society at Melbourne's newly-opened Science Museum. La Trobe also has a close relationship with the Australian Computer Music Association. Both studiocomposed computer music and live electroacoustic works are created at La Trobe, as is shown in the following list of recent works: Adam, S. Pyrotechnica. Fast Window. Chromophony. Storm in a teacup - all for computergenerated tape. Alsop, R. Sea Vision - for piano and delay, based on a poem by Alex Skouron. Bell, R. Momentum. Theme and Variations for Synthesizer - both for Ensoniq Synthesizer and Vision. Hirst, D. and G. Gerrard. Resonance - controlled feedback and real-time signal processing. Hirst, D. and G. Leak. Interactions - for percussion and real-time signal processing. Hirst, D. Colonies - computer-generated tape. Joyce, S. Musical Score & Sound Design for the following films - 'Seething Night'. 'Loop'. 'Fishing'. 'Lonely Planet'. 'Crimestoppers'. 'Thangarth's Bedroom'. McDermott, T. On the Plains - Computer music to accompany a solo dance. Pressing, J. His Master's Voice - for live voice, two MIDI keyboards, sampler, and real-time DSP software developed by Gerrard, Sosnin, & Hirst. 5. Facilities and Technical Support: In the last few years the Department has established: the oz-computer-music listserv mailing list for Australian computer music; an ftp site ftp.latrobe.edu.au for its original Macintosh software (see/pub/music); a World Wide Web page http://farben.latrobe.edu.au/MusicDocs/MusDeptHomePge.html. The Computer Music Studios at La Trobe University consist of: a Digital Media Laboratory, 3 Composition Laboratories, and a Recording Studio Suite. They have the following configurations: Digital Media Laboratory: 2 x NeXTcubes (one with ISPW), Proport A/D box, DAT backup, CD-ROM, Macintosh llVx, ProTools, DAT recorder, Korg wavestation,IRCAM Max, NeXT public domain music software, Opcode Max, Sound Designer II, Csound, AnnaLies (Analysis software developed at La Trobe), a Power Macintosh 8100, 2 x 7100s, Kodak CD-ROM writer and software, DAT backup, Digitising tablet, Colour scanner, Director, Photoshop, Illustrator, Premier, Painter, InfiniD. Composition Labs A & B are both MIDI-oriented, with the similar equipment: Macintosh Ici (Lab B), Power Mac 6100AV (Lab A), Opcode Studio 5, Alesis Quadreverb, HR 16 Drum Machine, Yamaha DX7-ll, TX816, Roland U220, Akai S1100, Kurzweil K2000, CD Player, Cassette player, Tascam 4 track recorder, 24 x 4 Tascam Mixer, Max, Vision, Galaxy with Editors, Encore. Composition Lab C is a digitzed audio laboratory with 2 workstations: 2 x Power Macs, Roland U20 keyboard, Code Warrior C/C++, Deck II v 2.2, Csound, AnnaLies, & other in-housedeveloped software for the Macintosh. Recording Studio Suite consists of 1 control room with 2 studios: 16 Track Alesis ADAT digital recorder, 24x8 Mackie mixing desk, Lexicon PCM 70 digital effects, 2 x Tascam DAT recorders, Sony PCM / beta digital recorder, Digital delay, flanger, graphic eq, parametric eq, dbx, MCI 2 track recorder, Otari 2 track recorder, 16 assorted microphones, Tannoy studio monitors. It is important to acknowledge the fine technical support the Department has experienced from firstly Julian Driscoll and then Tony Falla and Chris Lai. Much of the hardware and some of the software in recent projects has been designed and built by Chris and Tony. ICMC PROCEEDINGS 199514 149