Ongoing Projects

As a research facility, the Computer Music Project has fostered a number of significant projects in the areas of sound analysis/synthesis, computer-assisted (algorithmic) composition, sonification, sound visualization and music notation and printing. Some of these undertakings have originated as class projects -- successfully blending CMP's dual role -- have resulted in joint publications by faculty and students and became teaching tools used in various courses taught here. Collaborations with NCSA and Argonne National Laboratory have helped to increase both the scope and the visibility to such endeavors.


DISSCO (Digital Instrument for Sound Synthesis and Composition)

An integrated system for composition and sound synthesis available on <a href=""> GitHub</a>  Ongoing project, the latest version is DISSCO-2.0.

Click here to download the manual for DISSCO


  • UI News Bureau
  • Print media
    • Argonne News, June 20, 2005, vol.58, No. 12.
    • The Hub C-U June 30 - July 14 2005.
    • Inside Illinois, July 7, 2005.
    • The News-Gazette, Champaign-Urbana, July 7, 2005, vol 153, No. 343. The News-Gazette



SNDAN consists of a suite of command-line programs for time-variant spectrum analysis, parameter graphics, parameter modification, and resynthesis of musical sounds. It can be used for timbre research (stimuli preparation), synthesis model development, and for data in computer music. Two methods of analysis are phase vocoder (PVAN), which is a time-variant harmonic analysis method, and McAulay-Quatieri frequency tracking (MQAN), where spectral peaks are tracked and have no inherent restrictions on their number or harmonic nature. The frequency tracking method also includes pitch detection and harmonic separation. Programs are available for plotting acoustical parameters (e.g., amplitude or frequency vs. time), for modification of these parameters, and for additive resynthesis of the modified sounds. The SNDAN package can be freely downloaded and runs on any Unix system including Linux and Macintosh. It is also an open-source program.


  • James W Beauchamp, "Analysis and synthesis of musical instrument sounds", in Analysis, Synthesis, and Perception of Musical Sounds: The Sound of Music, James W. Beauchamp, Ed., Springer Modern Acoustics and Signal Processing, pp. 1- 89 (2007).
  • Mathew Wright, James Beauchamp, Kelly Fitz, Xavier Rodet, Axel Robel, Xavier Serra, and Gregory Wakefield, "Analysis/synthesis comparison", Organized Sound, Vol. 5, No. 3, pp. 173-189 (2000).
  • James W. Beauchamp, "Unix Workstation Software for Analysis, Graphics, Modification, and Synthesis of Musical Sounds", Audio Eng. Soc. Preprint No. 3479, pp. 1-17 (1993).



Music 4C (M4C) is an enhanced translation of the sound synthesis program Music 4BF (originally coded in Fortran at Princeton University) into the C language for Unix computers. Instruments are written using the full power of the C language and are referred to in scores by name rather than by number. Sound files and SNDAN analysis Files can also be referred to by name in the scores. As with most Music N type of programs (e.g., C Sound), scores consist of series of instrument (I) statements for specifying note parameters and function (F) statements for specifying stored functions. It is also possible to use "ghost instruments" which apply global control of amplitude or reverberation to the other instruments. The result is a sound file which is played back when execution of an M4C program is completed. M4C instruments are designed using unit generator routines, which can also be coded by the user and incorporated in M4C executables. Instruments are combined into an orchestra which is notated in the score. For beginners, a "class orchestra" has been designed which contains nine instruments. Other instruments play sound files, SNDAN analysis files, a trumpet instrument model, and a piano synthesis model. Two preprocessor programs are Notepro, which translates a music notation-like alphanumeric score into an M4C score, and M2I, which converts a MIDI file into an M4C score. Also, Scorpro provides for automatic completion of scores whose parameters are incomplete. A special version of M4C was written to run in parallel with MPI, a message passing library. In 2012 Victor Lazzarini, Senior Lecturer at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, wrote an extension to M4C to provide real-time processing of M4C scores to audio output on Macintosh computers. Music 4C is a free download and runs on any Unix system including Linux and Macintosh. It is also an open source program. For use, it is documented by the files M4C_Intro.html and M4C_Intro.pdf.

About Music 4C

  • James W. Beauchamp, "Music 4C, a multi-voiced synthesis program with instruments defined in C", J. Acoust. Soc. Am., Vol. 113, No. 4, Pt. 2, p. 2215 (2003).
  • James Beauchamp and Scot Aurenz, "New Computer Music Facilities at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign", Proc. 1985 Int. Computer Music Conf., Barry Truax, Ed., Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, pp. 407-414 (1985).