8.Nov.13 Guest Lecture: Miller Puckette

By | November 15, 2013

Graduate Composition Colloquium No. 3

– Miller Puckette

Why we need a good graphical score language, and why we don’t have one

WHEN: Friday, November 8th,10:30AMPd
WHERE: NYU Music Department
24 Waverly Place, Room 220, NY 10003


Since the 1970s (if not earlier) computer music researchers have been developing graphics-based languages for describing musical data structures that a computer could render into sound. Although the idea sounds natural enough, no solution has yet gained wide acceptance (not counting the common practice music notation packages, which describe notes rather than sounds themselves). My own attempts haven’t fared batter than anyone else’s. This talk won’t so much make a new proposal as consider carefully what it is that makes the problem hard.


Miller Puckette obtained a B.S. in Mathematics from MIT (1980) and Ph. D. in Mathematics from Harvard (1986). He was a member of MIT’s Media Lab from its inception until 1987, and then a researcher at IRCAM (l’Institut de Recherche et de Coordination Musique/Acoustique), founded by composer and conductor Pierre Boulez. At IRCAM he wrote Max, a widely used computer music software environment, released commercially by Opcode Systems in 1990 and now available from Cycling74.com.

Puckette joined the Music department of the University of California, San Diego in 1994, where he is now professor. From 2000 to 2011 he was Associate Director of Center for Research in Computing and the Arts (CRCA) at UCSD.

He is currently working on Pure Data (“Pd”), a leading open-source real-time multimedia arts programming environment, with software contributions by many others worldwide. Puckette has collaborated with many artists and musicians, including Philipe Manoury (whose Sonus ex Machina cycle was the first major work to use Max), and Rand Steiger, and Vibeke Sorensen (as part of the Global Visual Music project). Since 2004 he has performed with the Convolution Brothers.