Computer Science

Minor in Computer Science: Digital Music

Adviser: Judy Franklin.

This minor is designed to accommodate the increasing number of students who desire both grounding in music theory and composition and the technical expertise to express their music through digital media that requires mastery of the underlying principles of computer science. The minor consists of the equivalent of six courses equally balanced between Computer Science and Music.


Three Computer Science courses:

  1. CSC 111 (Computer Science I) includes a systematic introduction to computer science, and programming.
  2. CSC 212 (Programming w Data Structures) includes study of data structures, algorithms, recursion and object-oriented programming.
  3. One of CSC 220 or CSC 250:
    1. CSC 220 (Advanced Programming Techniques) focuses on several advanced programming environments, and includes graphical user interfaces (GUIs).
    2. CSC 250 (Foundations of Computer Science) concerns the mathematical theory of computing including languages and corresponding automata.

Three Music courses:

  1. MUS 110 Analysis and Repertory is an introduction to formal analysis and tonal harmony, and a study of familiar pieces in the standard musical repertory.
    MUS 210 may be substituted for students entering with the equivalent of 110.
  2. One of MUS 233 or MUS 312
    1. MUS 233 Composition covers basic techniques of composition, including melody, simple two-part writing, and instrumentation.
    2. MUS 312 20th Century Analysis is the study of major developments in 20th-century music. Writing and analytic work including non-tonal harmonic practice, serial composition, and other musical techniques.
      (Prerequisite: MUS 210 or permission of the instructor).
  3. One of MUS 345 or CSC354 (cross-listed in the music department)
    1. MUS 345 Electro-Acoustic Music is an introduction to musique concrète, analog synthesis, digital synthesis and sampling through practical work, assigned reading, and listening.
    2. CSC 354 Seminar on Digital Sound and Music Processing includes areas of sound/music manipulation such as digital manipulation of sound, formal models of machines and languages used to analyze and generate sound and music, and algorithms and techniques from artificial intelligence for music composition.

These requirements are summarized in the table below.

# Dept Number Title Credits Prerequisites
1 CSC 111 Computer Science I 4 none
2 CSC 212 Programming w Data Structures 4 CSC 111
3 CSC 220 Advanced Programming 4 CSC 212
CSC 250 Foundations of Computer Science 4 CSC 111, MATH 153
4 MUS 110 Analysis and Repertory 5 see course description
5 MUS 233 Composition 4 MUS 110
MUS 312 20th Century Analysis 4 MUS 210
6 MUS 345 Electro-Acoustic Music 4 MUS 110, MUS 233, Permi.
CSC 354 Seminar on Digital Sound and Music Processing 4 CSC 212, CSC 250 or 231, Permi.


On an ad hoc approval basis, substitution for one or more of the required courses would be permitted by various relevant Five-College courses, including those in the partial list below.

School Number Title
Amherst Mus 65 Electroacoustic Composition
Hampshire HACU-0290-1 Computer Music
Mt. Holyoke Music 102f Music and Technology
UMass Music585 Fundamentals of Electronic Music
UMass Music586 MIDI Studio Techniques