Last summer the Graduate School at Hood College introduced a course centered on Musical Computing. Offered by the Computer Science and Information Technology department, the course was developed in line with the graduate school’s commitment to offer the best in science and technology while maintaining Hood’s reputation in the Humanities. It affords students with the chance to expand and improve their programming skills, and to open new career possibilities, both academic and commercial (games, film etc.).
The course was taught by Professor Rick Roth who holds master’s degrees in both musical composition and computer science from Johns Hopkins University and currently works as a cybersecurity professional while doubling as a choral director, pianist, organist, and composer.
Professor Roth said of the new course “Students who complete this course will gain an understanding of the historical context behind Musical Computing, and learn about current trends in the field. In addition, they will learn how to use the structural components of a computer program as structural components for musical composition. For example, basic building blocks of programming like arrays and loops can be used to create the rhythmic and harmonic elements of a composition. Function calls, threads, decisions, and other elements that control the flow of program, can also be used to control the flow of a musical composition. The course is also a valuable step toward more advanced study, or work in the fields of music programming and sound design.”
All students who completed the course last summer participated in a final concert and lecture that allowed them to demonstrate their newly-developed expertise to the college community (a video presentation is available is available here).
The department plans to offer the course again this summer in addition to a follow-up course titled “Sound and Music for Embedded Systems”. This new course will focus on combining principles of human-computer interaction (HCI), artificial intelligence (AI), mechatronics and robotics with principles of music theory and music performance.