Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Experimental Music and Digital Media

Document Type



This research presents a new approach to computer automation through the implementation of novel real-time music information retrieval algorithms developed for this project. It documents the development of the PnP.Maxtools package, a set of open source objects designed within the popular programming environment MaxMSP. The package is a set of pre/post processing filters, objective and subjective timbral descriptors, audio effects, and other objects that are designed to be used together to compose music or improvise without the use of external controllers or hardware. The PnP.Maxtools package objects are designed to be used quickly and easily using a `plug and play' style with as few initial arguments needed as possible. The PnP.Maxtools package is designed to take incoming audio from a microphone, analyze it, and use the analysis to control an audio effect on the incoming signal in real-time. In this way, the audio content has a real musical and analogous relationship with the resulting musical transformations while the control parameters become more multifaceted and better able to serve the needs of artists. The term Reflexive Automation is presented that describes this unsupervised relationship between the content of the sound being analyzed and the analogous and automatic control over a specific musical parameter. A set of compositions are also presented that demonstrate ideal usage of the object categories for creating reflexive systems and achieving fully autonomous control over musical parameters.



Committee Chair

Allison, Jesse