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Moore F.R. Elements of Computer Music

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Moore F.R. Elements of Computer Music
Prentice Hall, 1990. — 560 p.
This book is for anyone interested in using computers to extend the boundaries of music. The reader should already be familiar with computer programming and with music as this book treats these subjects together. It is assumed that the reader is musically literate at the level of being able to read and write common practice music notation. The author says that the reader should be familiar with mathematics at the level of high school trigonometry and algebra. However, I think that the reader should also be familiar with digital signal processing, as this book does not take too much time and space to introduce the subject and much of the book relies heavily on DSP concepts and structures.
After a brief introduction, chapter 2 of the book takes the reader on a wild ride through the world of digital audio, starting with simple representation of sound via sinusoids, through ADC and DAC issues, and concluding with a discussion of both IIR and FIR digital filters with some programming examples in C. Chapter 3 builds on the ideas in chapter 2 and shows the reader how to use digital filtering concepts to build structures that simulate musical instruments. The author also introduces his own programming environment for computer music, CMusic. Chapter 4 is all about spatial hearing, direction cues, echoes and reverberation, and the mathematical modeling of all of these phenomena. Chapter 5, "Composing", talks about algorithmic composition via random numbers, Markov processes, and noise. This is probably the chapter that depends the most on the reader having musical maturity. The appendices have a nice treatment of mathematics and of CMusic.
The ideas and algorithms discussed in this book are largely timeless, and that is why I still use my copy a great deal even 16 years after it was published. However, I will knock a single star off of my rating for the fact that the author's program, CMusic, is enshrouded in secrecy. The author will tell you how to use it, what functions are in it, etc. However, even now, the source code for it is not freely available. If you are working on a Windows platform the best you can do is find a monolithic .exe program that works best under DOS and can crash under Windows. And because I don't have access to the source code, I have no idea why this happens. If Mr. Moore had been a little more "open source" in his attitude towards CMusic, it might have caught on more than it ultimately did. Don't let this problem prevent you from buying the book, though. It is one of the best written books on computer music that I have ever read and it has many good ideas in it, and I do recommend it for anyone interested in computer music.
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