Workshops

Workshops will be run at Goldsmiths College on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th April.

Each morning session (9:30am–1pm) and afternoon session (2pm–5pm) has two parallel workshops, so choose one each from:

 

Saturday morning

Electric Light Orchestra

Level: Beginner
Leader: Simon Katan

This tried and tested workshop is designed to be a hands-on and light-hearted introduction to patching in SuperCollider. Participants learn to build synths in SCLang and then trigger and control them in a fun way using a webcam, various kinds of torches and a simple pre-made torch tracking app in Processing which sends OSC to SuperCollider. This approach allows them to experiment and develop musical ideas without having to deal with the complexities of sequencing or GUI.

The course will begin by exploring some easy to use oscillators and then move through basic techniques such as voltage control, frequency and amplitude modulation, envelopes and triggers, additive and subtractive synthesis. At all times the aim is to use the minimum amount of new syntax to obtain a solid conceptual understanding of both synthesis and coding techniques.

Over the course of the workshop, participants build up their own collection of patches which are then used in a final performance which is collaboratively composed by the students. For this, one machine runs SuperCollider whilst the others send OSC from their processing apps over a wireless network. Whilst the participants won’t deal with Computer Vision or OSC directly, the final performance provides a practical demonstration of the potential of both areas and inspires students to explore them in the future.

Each participant will need:

1. a computer with SuperCollider and Processing installed.
2. an external or built-in webcam (we can provide 2 or 3)
3. torch, head torch or penlight (we will provide for those who don’t have them).

Improvisation with live instruments using SuperCollider

Level: Beginner/Intermediate
Leader: Federico Reuben

The workshop will focus on improvisation (in the widest possible sense) with live instruments using SuperCollider. I will provide with a small group of improvisers (2 or 3 instrumentalists from London’s free improvising scene) that will join us for the duration of the workshop. The workshop participants are welcome to use SuperCollider in any imaginable way, however, I will concentrate on a ‘command-line style’ environment for improvisation that I am currently developing. At the beginning of the workshop we will focus on how the environment works and can be extended. The students will code their own SynthDefs (sounds, effects, etc) and fabricate their own material (samples, patterns, etc) in preparation for the performance. We will also examine different strategies for real-time interaction with live instruments (machine listening, recording into buffers, etc). The emphasis of the workshop however will be practical. Therefore, we will focus primarily on playing together in different formations with the guest performers. During the workshop, we will improvise together on several occasions, giving the opportunity for each participant to experiment and try out their SC abilities in a real life performance situation. After each improvisation we will come together to comment and evaluate on the musical and technological aspects that can be improved. At the end of the workshop, we will present the outcome of the rehearsal process in a casual demonstration concert open to the public.

Saturday afternoon

Ixi lang

Level: Beginner/ Intermediate
Leader: Thor Magnusson

ixi lang is a system written in SuperCollider, simplifying greatly the procedures required to make musical patterns, particularly in a live coding context. It is a small and contstraint system that has proven enjoyable to people around the world, used in teaching from high-school to university education. ixi lang has recently gained new set of functionality, where, for example agents are able to morph between individual sounds in the score.

In this workshop, Thor Magnusson will explain the ideas and implementations behind the system and get people up and running with it. The workshop will explore how ixi lang can be used for SuperCollider development, and furthermore how to customise the ixi lang to the user’s ideas.

Practical introduction to supernova

Level: Intermediate
Leader: Tim Blechmann

supernova is an alternative to scsynth, which is capable of using multiple
processors for audio synthesis. this workshop gives a practical introduction
on how to use parallel groups to structure the audio synthesis.

contents:
for intermediate users
- parallel groups
- resource handling in parallel applications
- best practices, limitations
- using parallel groups with patterns
- (if some osx user wants to help: setting up jack/supernova on osx)

for advanced users
- porting unit generators to supernova

requirements:
attendants should have supercollider 3.5 installed. a working
osx/jack/supernova setup will not be required, as the language extensions are
backwards compatible.

Sunday morning

SuperColliderAU

Level: Intermediate
Leader: Gerard Roma

SuperColliderAU allows people interested in interfacing SuperCollider with other musical programs that can host AudioUnit plugins, such as Apple Logic or Ableton Live running on MacOSX. This helps integrating SuperCollider with existing production or performance environments.

The workshop will introduce participants to using the two modes of SuperColliderAU: interacting with a synth embedded as an AudioUnit plugin, and creating standalone plugins. It will also introduce some new features for creating “instrument” plugins (e.g. musical synthesizers, as opposed to effect plugins) that respond to note events.

Modality

Level: Intermediate/Advanced
Leader: Marije Baalman, Miguel Negrão, Till Bovermann

Modality is a toolkit simplifying the creation of your own very personal instruments with SuperCollider, using hardware controllers of any kind. It provides a high level electro-instrumental model that can be assembled in a wide variety of ways. Users develop instruments based on the generalized internal model either by using the Modality GUIs, by directly writing configuration files, and/or via direct access to objects via the SuperCollider environment and 3rd party extensions and plugins.

For the workshop participants should bring their HID and MIDI controllers in addition to their laptops. Modality has been tested on Linux and OSX; It should work in principle on Windows with MIDI devices.

Sunday afternoon

Tangible musical interfaces with SuperCollider

Level: Beginner/Intermediate
Leader: Anna Xambó, Gerard Roma, Till Bovermann

This workshop will allow participants to discover how to build low-cost real-time tangible musical interfaces (TMI) using SuperCollider along with the open source computer vision engine reacTIVision. We will draw upon the ideas of the d-touch project for assembling a low-cost DIY individual portable musical environment based on interactions with physical objects.

During the workshop, participants will build up to four TMIs. The first TMI will explore basic synth definitions by interacting with physical objects (e.g., additive synthesis). The second TMI will focus on sequencing of tangible sound objects in space. The third TMI will consist in exploring basic features and algorithms of the tracking system underlying the reacTIVision software itself, playing with the basic features and transforming the tracked patterns on the fly. A wrap-up exercise will consist in exploring the social aspect of embodied interaction by passing around objects (e.g. beach balls) with markers attached, that will produce different sounds in each participant machine.

Each participant will need:

+ a computer running SuperCollider
+ a webcam (we can provide 2 or 3)
+ small items (chocolates, coffee capsules, game tokens, walnuts)
+ a black feltmarker (widely known as edding…)

Working with SC and Live Instruments

Level: Intermediate/Advanced
Leader: Xenia Pestova, Scott Wilson

This workshop will offer participants the opportunity to become familiar with the issues and techniques involved in creating works or performance setups in SuperCollider for use with live instruments. The workshop leaders will be virtuoso pianist Xenia Pestova (http://www.xeniapestova.com/), whose recent work includes an award winning recording of Stockhausen’s Mantra on the Naxos label, and composer and sound artist Scott Wilson (http://www.scottwilson.ca), who was co-editor of The SuperCollider Book. Topics discussed will include machine listening techniques, interface design, designing hardware setups, code organisation, performer issues, etc. Participants will be encouraged to bring examples of their own work for discussion and development.