Com Sci 295
Department of Computer Science
Digital Sound Modelling
The University of Chicago
Here is a picture showing the structure of the sound domain.
This is why sound is not so simple to model. If you understand the
picture thoroughly, please explain it to me. If you don't understand
it, enroll for the course.
... it is a tale
Act V, Scene V.
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
William Shakespeare mentioned
sound in many other plays and sonnets.
- Next scheduled for Spring 1999.
Michael J. O'Donnell
- Office: Ryerson 165B (normal) or 165A (for sound work)
- Office hours: by appointment. Contact me by email
(firstname.lastname@example.org), phone at the office
(773-702-1269), or phone at home (847-835-1837 between 9:30 and 5:30
on days that I work at home). You may drop in to the office any time,
but you may find me out or busy if you haven't confirmed an
appointment. Check my
before proposing an appointment.
Course evaluations from previous quarters.
Last modified: Wed Mar 6 10:54:01 1996
In this course we learn how the basic structure of sound perception
affects the useful ways of processing sound through digital
computations. The focus is on basic synthesis techniques, rather than
on signal analysis, or on special applications of synthesis such as
music or speech. The text title is misleading---it is not as closely
oriented to music as it seems.
Introductory computer programming (ComSci 105/106
or 110/111 or 115/116), basic knowledge of elementary trigonometry and
There is no really appropriate textbook for this course, but there are
some books that cover some of the material rather well, and which you
should add to your personal library.
- Curtis Roads. The Computer Music Tutorial. MIT Press,
Cambridge MA, 1996. This book costs $50, but it's huge and has a
lot of interesting material. Much of it is about music
performance, but there is a lot of general material on sound,
too. The bookstore has this one. If you're serious about the
topic, you need this in your library.
- John Strawn, editor. Digital Audio Signal
Processing: an anthology. William Kaufmann, Los Altos CA,
1985. A-R Editions, Madison WI. This is a nice
cheap book (about $25), covering several elementary topics in the
basic mathematics of sound very well, and with a
particularly accessible treatment of digital filter theory. It
also has some wacky chapters. Unfortunately, it is being
reprinted, and probably won't be available during the semester.
- Ronald N. Bracewell. The Fourier Transform and Its
Applications. McGraw-Hill, New York, 2nd edition 1986.
This is a dense reference for engineers. It has a very nice
pictorial dictionary of Fourier Transforms in the back. It cost
me $58. Most people don't need this, but anyone who
intends to really use the Fourier Transform will bite the bullet
and shell out the price, even though it's rather high for a small and
- A. J. M. Houtsma, T. D. Rossing, W. M. Wagenaars. Auditory
Demonstrations (an audio CD). Philips 1126-061
(1987). This CD provides the most efficient way that I know to get
a firm intuitive grasp of auditory perception. Everyone in the
class needs to listen to the demonstrations on her own during the
semester. I have a number of copies that I will lend. The CD is
available from the
Acoustical Society of America for
about $25. I bought my copies at the members' discount of $20. If
you would like to keep your own copy, I'll pass one on for
$20. Think about joining the ASA.
Stereo headphones with small jack plug and a long connecting wire
(probably a separate extension cord). They can be cheap. Headphones
from portable music machines suffice. The long wire or extension cord
is essential, since the headphone jack is on the back of the SGI
Resources for the Course
Students in the class
Summary of human sound perception
Instructor's pointers to
external sound info
Perception, an online text with sound samples.
Direct access to the instructor's files
If you like Com Sci 295, you'll love the
University of Chicago Computer Music Studio.
Maintained by Michael J. O'Donnell, email:
Last modified: Sun May 31 19:44:55 CDT