Reading List

Core Reading
General Reading
Electronic Musical Instruments
Live Computer Music
Electroacoustic Music
DIY electronic music
Into the Mainstream/Synth Pop
Analysis of Electronic Music
Artifically Intelligent Musicians
Computer Music Bibliography
Advanced Computer Music Bibliography
Electronic Music Bibliography

Core Reading

Collins, N., Schedel, M., and Wilson, S. (2013) Electronic Music. (Introductions to Music series) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Collins, Nick (2010) Introduction to Computer Music. Chichester: Wiley
Roads, Curtis (1996) The Computer Music Tutorial. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press
Roads, Curtis (2015) Composing Electronic Music: A New Aesthetic. New York, NY: Oxford University Press
Emmerson, Simon (2007) Living Electronic Music. Aldershot, Hampshire: Ashgate
Hugill, Andrew (2012) The Digital Musician (2nd Edition). New York, NY: Routledge

General Reading

Cox, Christoph and Warner, Daniel (eds.). (2004) Audio Culture : Readings in Modern Music. London ; New York: Continuum
Holmes, Thom (2012) Electronic and Experimental Music (4th Edition). New York, NY: Routledge
Dean, Roger (ed.) (2009) The Oxford Handbook of Computer Music. NY: Oxford University Press
Miranda, Eduardo Reck (2002) Computer Sound Design : Synthesis Techniques and Programming. Oxford: Focal Press
Rowe, Robert. Machine Musicianship. MIT Press, Cambs, MA, 2001
O'Sullivan, Daniel and Igoe, Tim (2004) Physical Computing. Boston, MA: Thomson Course Technology PTR
Ghazala, Reed (2005) Circuit-Bending: Build Your Own Alien Instruments. Chicester: Wiley
Collins, Nicolas (2009) Handmade Electronic Music: The Art of Hardware Hacking (2nd Edition). New York, NY: Routledge
Wilson, S., Cottle, D., and Collins, N. (eds.) (2011) The SuperCollider Book. Cambridge MA: MIT Press
Boulanger, Richard (ed). (2000) The Csound Book. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press
Pressing, Jeff (1992) Synthesizer Performance and Real-Time Techniques. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Winkler, T. (2001) Composing Interactive Music: Techniques and Ideas Using Max. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press
Cipriani, Alessandro and Giri, Maurizio (2010) Electronic Music and Sound Design: Volume 1: Theory and Practive with Max/MSP. ConTempoNet
Manzo, V. J. (2011) Max/MSP/Jitter for Music: A Practical Guide to Developing Interactive Music Systems for Education and More. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Reas, Casey and Fry, Ben (2010) Getting Started with Processing: A Hands-on Introduction to Making Interactive Graphics. Maker Media, Inc.
Banzi, Massimo (2011) Getting Started with Arduino, 2nd Edition. Maker Media, Inc.
Broughton, Frank and Brewster, Bill (2006) How to DJ (properly): The Art and Science of Playing Records. Random House
d'Escrivan, Julio (2012) Music Technology (Cambridge Introductions to Music series). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Mahnkopf, C-S., Cox, F. and Schrig, W. (eds.) (2006) Electronics in New Music. Hofheim: Wolke Verlag
Cope, David (1997) Techniques of the Contemporary Composer. Belmont, CA: Schirmer

Electronic Musical Instruments

There is a Grove article by Hugh Davies on this very topic.
See also: Hugh Davies (2002) 'Electronic instruments: classification and mechanisms' pp. 43-58 in Hans-Joachim Braun (ed.) (2002) Music and Technology in the Twentieth Century. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Telharmonium DVD (with free Quicktime downloads)
Glinsky, Albert (2000) Theremin: Ether Music and Espionage. Chicago, IL: University of Illinois Press
[IMDB] Steven M. Martin (director) (1994) Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey.
All Things Theremin
Even More Things Theremin
Miessner, Benjamin F. (1936) Electronic music and instruments.. Proceedings of the Institute of Radio Engineers 24(11), November 1936. Additional editorial comments by Phil Cirocco.
John Cage, Imaginary Landscape No. 1
Hugh Le Caine
Raymond Scott
Computer music from 1951
Many synthesisers are listed in:
Russ, Martin (2004) Sound Synthesis and Sampling (2nd Edition) Oxford: Focal Press
Vintage synths galore
MIDI Manufacturer's Association site
Pinch, T. J. (2002) Analog days: The invention and impact of the Moog synthesizer. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press
Jenkins, Mark. (2007) Analog synthesizers : understanding, performing, buying - from the legacy of Moog to software synthesis. Amsterdam : Focal
Moog movie by Hans Fjellestad
Movie on Erkki Kurenniemi, The Future Is Not What It Used To Be (2002), directed Mika Taanila
A movie glorifying Erkki Kurenniemi's circuits!
Mikko Ojanen, Jari Suominen, Titti Kallio and Kai Lassfolk (2007) Design Principles and User Interfaces of Erkki Kurenniemi's Electronic Musical Instruments of the 1960's and 1970's. Proceedings of the 2007 Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME07), New York, NY, USA
Taxonomy of Realtime Interfaces for Electronic Music Performance
Sophy Smith (2000) 'Compositional strategies of the hip-hop turntablist.' Organised Sound 5: 75-79
The Eigenharp

Live Computer Music

Cascone, K. (2000) The Aesthetics of Failure: 'Post-digital' Tendencies in Computer Music. Computer Music Journal 24(4): 12-18.
Cascone, K. (ed.) (2003) The Laptop and Electronic Music. Contemporary Music Review 22(4).
Collins, N., McLean, A., Rohrhuber, J. & Ward, A. (2003) 'Live Coding Techniques for Laptop Performance' Organised Sound 8(3): pp 321-30.
James McCartney. Rethinking the computer music language: SuperCollider. Computer Music Journal, 26(4): 61-8, 2002.

Ben Neill (2002) 'Pleasure Beats: Rhythm and the Aesthetics of Current Electronic Music.' Leonardo Music Journal 12: 3-6
Dan Trueman (2007) 'Why a laptop orchestra?' Organised Sound 12(2): 171–179
Chris Brown and John Bischoff (2002) 'Indigenous to the Net: Early Network Music Bands in the San Francisco Bay Area.' Available online
Sergi Jordà (2007) 'Interactivity and Live Computer Music.' pp. 89-106 in Nick Collins and Julio d'Escriván (eds.) (2007) The Cambridge Companion to Electronic Music. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Pierre Boulez and Andrew Gerzso (1988) 'Computers in Music.' Scientific American 258(4): 44-50
The debate on the body and live computer music also plays out over:
David Keane (1979) 'Some practical aesthetic problems of electronic music composition.' Interface 8: 193-205.
Joel Ryan (1991) 'Some remarks on musical instrument design at STEIM.' Contemporary Music Review 6(1): 3-17
Andrew W. Schloss (2003) 'Using contemporary technology in live performance: The dilemma of the performer.' Journal of New Music Research 32(3): 239-242
Julio d'Escrivan (2006) 'to sing the body electric: Instruments and effort in the performance of electronic music.' Contemporary Music Review 25(1-2): 183-191
John Croft (2007) 'Theses on liveness.' Organised Sound 12(1): 59-66
Robert Henke (2007, 2009) 'Live Performance in the Age of Supercomputing. Parts 1 and II.' Available online

Electroacoustic Music

Grove article by Simon Emmerson and Denis Smalley.
Jonty Harrison (1998) 'Sound, space, sculpture: some thoughts on the 'what', 'how' and 'why' of sound diffusion.' Organised Sound 3(2):117-127
Simon Emmerson (2009) 'Combining the acoustic and the digital: Music for instruments and computers or prerecorded sound.' pp 167-188 in Roger T. Dean (ed.) (2009) The Oxford Handbook of Computer Music. New York: Oxford University Press
Interview of Alejandro Vinao
Landy, Leigh (2007) The Art of Sound Organisation. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press
Wishart, Trevor (1996) On Sonic Art (revised edition, edited by Simon Emmerson). New York, NY: Routledge
Truax, Barry (1999) Handbook of Acoustic Ecology (2nd Edition). Online book
ElectroAcoustic Resource Site (EARS)
Listening library of electroacoustic works
Canadian electroacoustic community educational resources
Illuminating documentary about Pierre Henry, including his later work after he left Schaeffer's circle
Sound spatialisation research resources
Ambisonics recordings for download
Multichannel works by Adrian Moore

DIY electronic music

Ghazala, Reed (2005) Circuit-Bending: Build Your Own Alien Instruments. Chicester: Wiley
Collins, Nicolas (2009) Handmade Electronic Music: The Art of Hardware Hacking (2nd Edition). New York, NY: Routledge
Collins, Nicolas (2007) 'Live electronic music.' pp. 38-54 in Nick Collins and Julio d'Escrivan (eds.) (2007) The Cambridge Companion to Electronic Music. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 43-45
Eduardo R. Miranda and Marcelo M. Wanderley (2006) New Digital Musical Instruments: Control and Interaction Beyond the Keyboard. Middleton, WI: A-R Editions, Inc.
O'Sullivan, Daniel and Igoe, Tim (2004) Physical Computing. Boston, MA: Thomson Course Technology PTR
Igoe, Tom (2007) Making Things Talk. O'Reilly Media / Make
Banzi, Massimo (2011) Getting Started with Arduino, 2nd Edition. Maker Media, Inc.
resources on David Tudor's work including circuit sketches
Electro-shock works including through bodies
Make magazine
Instructables website
Jaime Oliver: some very nice instrument building projects incorporating computer vision
FaceOSC Computer vision based face tracking as a music controller
Lots of circuit bending/hardware hacking enthusiasts online, and innumerable youtube videos...
Collins, N. (2009) Electronica. In Roger Dean (ed.) (2009) The Oxford Handbook to Computer Music. New York: Oxford University Press.
Hegarty, P. (2007) Noise/Music: A History. New York: Continuum.
Stuart, C. (2003) Damaged Sound: Glitching and Skipping Compact Discs in the Audio of Yasunao Tone, Nicolas Collins and Oval. Leonardo Music Journal 13: 47-52.
Thomson, P. (2004) Atoms and Errors: Towards a History and Aesthetics of Microsound. Organised Sound 9(2):207-218.
Young, R. (2002) Worship the Glitch. In Undercurrents: The Hidden Wiring of Modern Music, ed. R. Young, pp.45-55. London: Continuum.
Young, R. (2005) Warp: Labels Unlimited. London: Black Dog.
Legislation to protect musicians from excessive noise levels
Simon Reynolds (2005) Rip It Up and Start Again. London: Faber and Faber Limited. The chapters on Throbbing Gristle and other noise music get to the heart of some rather dark material; not for the squeamish.

Into the mainstream/Synth Pop

Everett, Walter (2009) The Foundations of Rock: From Blue Suede Shoes to Suite: Judy Blue Eyes. New York: Oxford University Press. Particularly pp 78-81; early uses of synthesizers in 1960s rock and pop.
Simon Reynolds (2005) Rip It Up and Start Again. London: Faber and Faber Limited
Bussy, Pascal (2005) Kraftwerk: Man, Machine and Music (3rd Edition). London: SAF Publishing Ltd.
Flur, W. (2003) I Was a Robot (2nd Ed.). London: Sanctuary Publishing Ltd.
Synth Britannia documentary (BBC, aired October 16th 2009)
Krautrock: the Rebirth of Germany (BBC, aired October 23rd 2009)
Trevor Horn interview: nice career retrospective
Kraftwerk velodrome gig/interview 2005
YouTube - Kraftwerk - Pocket Calculator Live 1981
Depeche Mode - New Life live
The Great Electroclash Swindle: later electro pop movement (1998-2002 or so) with pretensions satirised here.
Some original 8-bit: Rob Hubbard's Thalamusik (1987)
New 8-bit:Kind of Bloop: An 8-Bit Tribute to Miles Davis's Kind of Blue. Compilation (May 2009)

Analysis of Electronic Music

Rainer Wehinger's visual score for Ligeti's Artikulation; not the best sync, but gives the right idea!
Emmerson, Simon (ed.) (1986) The Language of Electroacoustic Music. London : Macmillan
Licata, Thomas (ed.) (2002) Electroacoustic Music: Analytical Perspectives. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press
Simoni, Mary (ed.) (2006) Analytical Methods of Electroacoustic Music. New York, NY: Routledge
Emmerson, Simon and Landy, Leigh (eds.) (2016) Expanding the Horizon of Electroacoustic Music Analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge Univeresity Press
Organised Sound as a journal is probably the best source of analytic work in electronic music (see for instance 11(2) from August 2006), though some selected issues of Computer Music Journal are also relevant.
English translation of Michel Chion's Guide to Sound Objects
Deniz Peters, Gerhard Eckel and Andreas Dorschel (2012) Bodily Expression in Electronic Music: Perspectives on Reclaiming Performativity. New York: Routledge.
Some beautiful graphical scores
drawn sound: Xenakis, Mycenae Alpha
Images in Spectrograms by Aphex Twin, Venetian Snares
Aki Pasoulas: 'An Overview of Score and Performance in Electroacoustic Music'
Derek Bailey (1980) Improvisation: Its Nature and Practise in Music. Ashbourne, Derbyshire: Moorland publishing Co Ltd.
Sageev Oore (2005) 'Learning advanced skills on new instruments (or practising scales and arpeggios on your NIME).' In Proceedings of NIME 2005, Vancouver, Canada, pp. 60-65

Artificially Intelligent Musicians

Nick Collins. Introduction to Computer Music. Wiley, 2010, chapter 6
Curtis Roads. The Computer Music Tutorial. MIT Press, 1996. chapter 15, p680-688
Robert Rowe. Machine Musicianship. MIT Press, Cambs, MA, 2001.
Robert Rowe. Interactive Music Systems. MIT Press, Cambs, MA, 1993.
Voyager (album)
Voyager (interview)
Voyager CD audio examples
Bill Hsu
Some musical robots and automata:
WAS-2 saxophonist robot: One of many Waseda University musical robots (going back to Wabot-II from 1984, a score reading keyboard playing robot!)
Haile the Robotic Drummer
Automatons by Godfried-Willem Raes
LEMUR: League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots
Ajay Kapur
Pat Metheny's Orchestrion project
Robots aplenty from amorphicrobotworks
2010 Workshop on robots and musical expression
Cybraphon: automated musical robot art project, robot's "mood" affected by online coverage
Programmable Knex Piano-Playing Robot
man-machine orchestra discussion
Another blog posting on musical robots topic


Fred Collopy
Chion, M. (1994) Audio-vision. New York: Columbia University Press. Original published 1990, translated by Gorbman, C.
Cook, N. (1998) Analysing Musical Multimedia. Oxford: Oxford University Press, New York.
Spinrad, Paul (2005) The VJ Book. Feral House
Amy Alexander and Nick Collins (2007) 'Live audiovisuals.' pp. 126-139 in Nick Collins and Julio d'Escrivan (eds.) (2007) The Cambridge Companion to Electronic Music. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
[link] Bill Alves (2005) Digital Harmony of Sound and Light Computer Music Journal 29(4): 45-54
[link] Nick Collins and Fredrik Olofsson (2006) klipp av: Live Algorithmic Splicing and Audiovisual Event Capture, Computer Music Journal 30(2): 8-18
[link] Lew, Michael (2004) Live Cinema: Designing an Instrument for Cinema Editing as a Live Performance. Proceedings of New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME04).
Jaeger, Timothy. (2005) Live Cinema Unravelled (self-published) VJ Book
[link] Mia Makela (2006) Live Cinema: Language and Elements. MA thesis, Media Lab, Helsinki University of Art and Design
[link] Snider, H. (2000) Scratch Video: A Mutant Hybrid of Scratch DJ Music and Guerilla TV. Master's thesis, University of Concordia


My tutorial on SuperCollider

Core SuperCollider sites:
SuperCollider community homepage
SourceForge SuperCollider download site
Swiki open resource site includes information on compiling, contributing code, and third party examples

join the sc-users mailing list (it's relatively friendly to newcomers, just be careful you always try to solve a problem to the best of your ability before you post, by looking through help files and searching list archives. You can also Google a topic including 'sc-users' in the search string)
SC code examples repository

James McCartney's homepage (SC's original creator)
James McCartney. (2002) Rethinking the computer music language: SuperCollider. Computer Music Journal, 26(4): 61-8

Downloading SuperCollider:

(also see the SC community page at the top)
All platforms (Mac, Windows, Linux)

Linux compilation instructions

Other tutorials on SuperCollider:
Three come with SuperCollider: just navigate to them from the main help page
The Eli Fieldsteel video tutorials are nice; sped up coded demonstrations, talking over top
A course by Stelios Manousakis on SuperCollider.
There is also a book by David Cottle with SuperCollider examples available here

Dave Phillips' articles introducing SC on Linux

some SuperCollider standalone projects:
TX Modular by Paul Miller
LNX Studio by Neil Cosgrove
ixiQuarks by Thor Magnusson
Particularity by Cylob
BEASTmulch System by Scott Wilson and Sergio Luque
Some SuperCollider audio examples on SoundCloud

SC related blogs
Fredrik Olofsson
SuperCollider Junction (older)

Other Software

Some other interesting languages and systems:
Pure Data (Pd) with an online tutorial book
ChucK and online book
Common Music (CM)
Integra and more...


Bailey, Derek (1993). Improvisation: Its Nature And Practice In Music, 2nd Edition. Da Capo Press, New York, NY
Borgo, David (2005) Sync or Swarm: Improvising Music in a Complex Age. New York: Continuum
Dean, Roger (1989) Creative Improvisation: Jazz, Contemporary Music and Beyond. Milton Keynes: Open University Press
Lewis, George (ed.) (2012) Oxford Handbook of Critical Improvisation Studies (2 volumes). New York: Oxford University Press
Nettl, B. and Russell, M. (eds) (1998). In the Course of Performance: Studies in the World of Musical Improvisation. University of Chicago Press, Chicago
Pressing, J. (1988). Improvisation: Methods and models. pp. 129-78 in Sloboda, J. A. (ed.) (1988). Generative Processes in Music: The Psychology of Performance, Improvisation and Composition. Oxford University Press, Oxford


[LINK] Stockhausen's english lectures on electronic music
[LINK] 10 TED talks that "involve-highly-unusual-instruments"
Bailey, Thomas B.W. (2012) Microbionic: Radical electronic music and sound art in the 21st Century. (2nd Edition). Pay what you like online edition, author recommends avoiding original 2009 Creation printed edition