EECS 397: Digital Musical Instrument Design

Quarter Offered

Spring : 3-5:50 M ; Moore & Pardo


Registration is by instructor permission only. Students should contact if they are interested in taking the class.


Digital Musical Instrument Design studies Human Computer Interaction through the lens of artistic creation. The course lies at the intersection of design, engineering, and musicianship. This course will introduce students to fundamentals of creating their own musical instruments using modern technology. We will explore the influence and feedback between the tool (e.g. an instrument), the tool user (a musician/producer), and the creative output (the music). Along the way, we will learn about user interaction design, embedded computing (using arduino), sensor technology, signal creation and interpretation (using Max/MSP or PureData), and musicality (using your sensibilities as a musician). Students will create a new musical instrument by the end of the course and the final examination will be a performance using their instrument. NOTE: As a requirement of the course, students must attend a 2-day all-weekend hardware hacking for music workshop in May.​

  • This course is cross-listed in both ECE and in RTVF. In ECE it is 397 sect 5  and in RTVF it is  RTVF 376-0 - 23 (37644) 

EVALUATION METHOD: Attendance and class participation are crucial to this class, and are therefore a significant part of the grade.  In additional to a final project, there will be a smaller presentation and incremental assignments.

CLASS MATERIALS (REQUIRED): Students will be provided some basic materials for realizing their projects, but may be required to obtain additional materials depending on the nature of the projects they pursue.  In most cases, this additional costs should not exceed $50.  All texts will  be provided in class or via Canvas.

COURSE INSTRUCTOR: Prof. Stephan Moore (Main Instructor) Prof. Bryan Pardo (Secondary Instructor)