h. james harkins, composer


Xinghai Computer Orchestra spring 2018

It took a while to mix down the pieces from the second semester of the Xinghai Computer Orchestra, but here they are. Descriptions after the jump.




Based loosely on some of the classical Chinese elements, and a whole lot of musical quotations heavily processed through granular synthesis. We had about 20 students on separate computers, playing a granular synthesis GUI that I built in SuperCollider. The students recorded their individual performances into WAV files, which I later edited and mixed using Ardour into this more polished version.

Direct link (if the embedded player doesn’t work).


One of the students had a scheduling conflict but really wanted to do something. So he chose a sound source for the same granular synthesis GUI, and I added beats, bass and texture using my live coding dialect (also in SuperCollider). This one is better for background listening — the form is kind of (ahem) loose — but I think it ends up in a nice place.

Direct link

During the course of the semester, the students took a journey from “What the hell is he doing?” to “Oh. Now we get it.” Very enjoyable and inspiring to see them come to appreciate some experimental music aesthetics they didn’t know before.

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