Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

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Unit Overview


This unit introduces concepts and techniques of generative algorithms for electronic music composition through the graphical dataflow programming environment MaxMSP. Topics include software plug-in design, stochastic models for music, computer agency, artificial musical intelligence and world building. Applications of generative algorithms are explored through creative work, problem solving tasks and programming exercises. The unit concludes with a final project-the design and programming of one or more automated generative musical processes or systems.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 core unit in the Music: Electronic Music and Sound Design; Music major sequences
  • Level 2 elective

Students are able to (1) fluently perform programming tasks within the graphical data-flow programming environment MaxMSP; (2) demonstrate efficient use of digital music data types and protocols such as MIDI and OSC; (3) design basic software plugins in Max for Live; (4) program basic software plugins in Max for Live; (5) demonstrate control of data with algorithms toward generative musical processes; (6) combine together sound synthesis, sampling and programming for creative purposes; and (7) communicate creative/technical ideas and goals coherently and logically in both written and verbal formats.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) programming exercises and (2) final project. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr. Christopher Tonkin
Unit rules
MUSC1055 Electronic Music: Methods and Means
or CITS1001 Software Engineering with Java
or CITX1001 Software Engineering with Java
MUSC2275 Electronic Music: Interactive Systems
Contact hours
up to 3 hours per week: tutorials & online video content
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.