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Music & Technology


A Collaborative Approach to the Future of Music

Carnegie Mellon University's Music and Technology program was established in 2009 as a joint project between three of the schools: The School of Music, School of Computer Science, and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Building on this interdisciplinary approach, Carnegie Mellon University's Music and Technology program gives students everything they need to become the future of the music industry.

Students at the undergraduate and graduate levels are able to hone their skills in an interdisciplinary environment, focusing on a chosen area of study, such as Recording Technology, Audio Engineering, Computer Music, Music Composition, Music Performance, and Music Theory. Our expert faculty promotes a collaborative approach to cutting-edge education that gives our students both the specialized knowledge and breadth of skills to foster development in the field of music.

This program consists of a set of courses that span music, electrical engineering, and computer science, as well as a capstone composition/design/performance project. The goal of the core coursework in music and technology is to provide a comprehensive undergraduate understanding of all three areas of study: music, computer science and electrical engineering. In other words, regardless of the entry point – an interest in computer science, electrical engineering, or music – the coursework prescribed will allow each student to gain the requisite knowledge and experience in all three areas. Students will work closely with advisors and will be guided in both course selection and capstone projects. This program is for students who want to pursue music technology as a career. These may be students who are accomplished musicians, have a keen interest in science and engineering, and want to explore the musical applications of technology. These may also be students with experience in recording or electronic music composition/production who desire to study these areas along with the technological underpinnings of audio engineering and computer science.

For more specific information regarding the curriculum for the undergraduate Music & Technology program please refer to the Undergraduate Course Catalog or the details section on this page.

If you are a present Carnegie Mellon undergraduate student, you may apply for internal transfer into this degree program.

Internal Transfer Admission Procedures

Submit the application for internal transfer to School of Music, CFA 108, attn: Sharon Johnston, by October 1 or March 1.

Note: You must choose a Music (includes Composition) Concentration or a Technical Concentration.

If you are a music major and you choose the music concentration, * you must be enrolled in or have completed the following courses with a C grade or better:

  • 15-110 Introduction to Programming
  • 18-100 Introduction to Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • 21-120 Differential and Integral Calculus

If you are a music major and you choose the technical concentration, you must be enrolled in or have completed the following courses with a C grade or better:

  • 15-110 Introduction to Programming
  • 18-100 Introduction to Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • 21-120 Differential and Integral Calculus

If you are not a music major and you choose the music concentration, you must pass an audition and you must be enrolled in or have completed the following courses with a C grade or better:

  • 15-110 Introduction to Programming
  • 18-100 Introduction to Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • 21-120 Differential and Integral Calculus

If you are not a music major and you choose the technical concentration, you must pass an audition or submit a portfolio that will document your music activities and pass placement tests in harmony and solfege or complete Harmony I and Solfege I with a C grade or better:

  • 57-149 or 57-152 Basic Harmony I or Harmony I
  • 57-180 or 57-181 Basic Solfege I or Solfege I

You must be enrolled in or have completed the following courses with a C grade or better:

  • 15-110 Introduction to Programming
  • 18-100 Introduction to Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • 21-120 Differential and Integral Calculus

Internal transfer admission decisions, which will be effective as of the following semester, will be made later in October or March after midterm grades are published.

Internal Transfer Admission Policies

  • You must not be on probation or suspension in your current college.
  • You must have at least a 3.0 cumulative QPA.
  • First-year students cannot apply for transfer until the spring semester.
  • Students must be in residence in the program for a minimum of four semesters.

Because students must be in residence in the program for a minimum of four semesters, transfer beyond the end of the sophomore year will require enrollment for additional semesters beyond the usual eight semesters expected for completion of an undergraduate degree.

B.S in Music and Technology Curriculum

In the Music and Technology undergraduate program, students complete either the Music Concentration or the Technical Concentration.

General Requirements


57-570 Music and Technology Seminar (8 semesters) 8 units

University Required Course

99-10x Computing @ Carnegie Mellon 3 units
76-101 Interpretation and Argument 9 units
79-104 Introduction to World History 9 units

Music Concentration

57-5xx Studio (4 semesters) 36 units
57-417 or 57-418 Major Ensemble (4 semesters) 24 units

Emphasis on Electrical Engineering

18-220 Electronic Devices and Analog Circuits 12 units
18-240 Structure and Design of Digital Systems 12 units
15-2xx/18-3xx or above Electives in ECE or CS 12 units

Emphasis on Computer Science

15-128 CS Freshman Immigration 1 unit
15-210 Parallel and Sequential Data Structures and Algorithms 12 units
15-323 Computer Music Systems and Info Proc 9 units
15-2xx/18-3xx or above Electives in ECE or CS 12 units

Technical Concentration

21-127 Concepts of Mathematics 9 units
15-213/18-243 Introduction to Computer Systems 12 units

In the technical concentration, students also complete a set of courses with an emphasis on Electrical Engineering or Computer Science.

Music Core

57-152 Harmony I 9 units
57-153 Harmony II 9 units
57-151 Principles of Counterpoint 6 units
57-408 Form and Analysis 6 units
57-258 20th and 21st Century Techniques 6 units
57-257 Orchestration I 6 units
57-189 Repertoire & Listening I 3 units
57-190 Repertoire & Listening II 3 units
57-289 Repertoire & Listening III 3 units
57-290 Repertoire & Listening IV 3 units
57-181 Solfege I 3 units
57-182 Solfege II 3 units
57-183 Solfege III 3 units
57-184 Solfege IV 3 units
57-161 Eurythmics I 3 units
57-162 Eurythmics II 3 units
57-173 Survey of Western Music History 9 units

Music and Technology Core

15-112 Principles of Programming 10 units
15-122 Principles of Imperative Computation 9 units
15-322 Introduction to Computer Music 9 units
18-100 Introduction to ECE 12 units
18-202 Math Foundations of EE 12 units
18-290 Signal and Information Processing 12 units
57-101 Introduction To Music Technology 6 units
57-347 Electronic and Computer Music 6 units
57-337 Sound Recording 6 units
57-338 Editing and Mastering 6 units
57-438 Multitrack Recording 9 units
57-571 Project 12 units
57-572 Project 12 units





Dr. Richard Randall

Cooper-Siegel Associate Professor of Music Theory

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Richard Randall is the Cooper-Siegel Associate Professor of Music Theory at the Carnegie Mellon University School of Music. Randall holds a faculty appointment at the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition and is a researcher at CMU's Scientific Imaging and Brain Research Center. He received his PhD in Music Theory in 2006 from the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester.

Randall's research lies at the intersection of music theory, cognitive psychology, and media and cultural studies. His work employs a wide range of investigative methods in an attempt to better understand what music is and why it is important.  He directs the Music Cognition Lab and co-directs the Listening Spaces Project.

His lab investigates the neuroscientific basis of music perception and cognition.  Focusing on how musicality is perceptual property that auditory objects, his lab uses fMRI to identify neural correlates of how musicality is modulated by changes in low-level acoustic organizational features.

Listening Spaces frames music as an essential human activity and seeks to understand the overwhelming impact technology has had on our collective and personal musical interactions. Their forthcoming book, 21st Century Perspectives on Music, Technology, and Culture, critiques current digital-music practices, how musical activities are commodified, and their social meaning. Listening Spaces also partners with local musicians, community organizers, and Pittsburgh schools to create the Pittonkatonk May-Day Music Festival and Workshop, which seeks to transcend traditional political economies of musician and audience and create socially engaged and sustainable musical events supported by vested community collaborators.


Riccardo Schulz

Teaching Professor, Director of Recording Activities

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Riccardo Schulz is Teaching Professor in the School of Music at Carnegie Mellon, where he teaches Sound Recording and runs the recording operations. His special interest is in recording, editing, and mastering classical music. For three years he was head of the Edgar Stanton Audio Recording Institute (ESARI) for the summer program of the Aspen Music Festival and School. 

Riccardo has recorded and/or produced more than a hundred compact discs on a variety of record labels, including Élan, New Albion, Mode Records, Ocean Records, Norvard, and New World Records. He has also recorded and/or mastered CDs of world music, jazz, alternative rock groups, and selected hip-hop artists. Groups and individuals he has collaborated with include Cuarteto Latinoamericano, Andrés Cárdenes and Luz Manríquez; conductors Denis Colwell and the River City Brass Band, Keith Lockhart and the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, Eduardo Alonso-Crespo and the Tucumán Chamber Orchestra, Rachael Worby and the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra, Juan Pablo Izquierdo and the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic, Robert Page and the Mendelssohn Choir; Andrés Cárdenes and the Pittsburgh Symnphony Chamber Orchestra; Chatham Baroque; pianists Laura Opedisano, Aki Takahashi, and Barbara Nissman; santur player Dariush Saghafi; guitarist Manuel Barrueco, composers Iannis Xenakis, Reza Vali, Nancy Galbraith, David Stock, Ricardo Lorenz, Julián Orbón, and Leonardo Balada; mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux; baritone Sebastian Catana; tenor Arturo Martín.

Riccardo’s recording of Inca Dances by Gabriela Lena Frank and featuring Cuarteto Latinoamericano and guitarist Manuel Barrueco, received a Latin GRAMMY Award in 2009 for Best Classical Contemporary Compostion.

Riccardo’s non-classical recording credits include the rock group The Syndeys and The Glass Cube; hip-hop artists Freestyle, Unknown Prose, Lil ’Toine, E-Nyse, Charon Don and D. J. Huggy; and jazz artists Alton Merrell, Nathan Davis, Roger Humphries, Bobby Negri, Dave Pellow, James Johnson Jr, and others.

Riccardo has co-produced CDs with Carnegie Mellon students Steven Goldberg, Anna Vogelzang, Tate Olsen, Michael Kooman, Jeffrey Grossman, Ali Spagnola, Ariel Winters, Friedrich Myers, Justin Bishop, Greg Runco, Andy Jih, Haseeb Qureshi, Gabriel Cuthbert, Derek Pendergrass, Joshua Hailpern, Fumiya Yamamoto, Enoma Oviasu, John O’Hallaron, and others. He also oversees recordings with participants in the Arts Greenhouse project, a community-oriented hip-hop workshop for teenagers.

Riccardo also edits and masters the full season of Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra performances in conjunction with WQED-FM for local and national radio broadcast, and is in his twenty-third year of recording and editing performances of the Pittsburgh Opera for radio broadcast.

With Carnegie Mellon alumnus Alex Geis, Riccardo has developed the Webcast project and the Destination website for the Carnegie Mellon School of Music, the first music conservatory in the world to offer live Internet broadcast of student recitals and ensemble concerts.

Riccardo has master's degrees in mathematics from Duquesne University and musicology from the University of Pittsburgh. He speaks Italian, and for several years was assistant accompanist for singers with the EPCASO program in Oderzo, Italy. He is former program annotator for the Y-Music Series, and former music critic for WQED-FM's Sunday Arts Magazine. 

Riccardo lives happily in Pittsburgh without a cellphone or a television, and has been a vegetarian for longer than anyone can remember.


Dr. Richard Stern

Professor of Electrical Engineering

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Most current speech recognition systems do not yet perform well in difficult acoustical environments, or in different environments from the ones in which they had been trained. This research is concerned with improving the robustness of SPHINX, Carnegie Mellons large-vocabulary continuous-speech recognition system, with respect to acoustical distortion resulting from sources such as background noise, competing talkers, change of microphone, and room reverberation. Several different strategies are being used to address these problems. These include: improved noise cancellation and speech normalization methods, the use of representations of the speech waveform that are based on the processing of sounds by the human auditory system, and the use of array-processing techniques to improve the signal-to-noise ratio of the speech that is input to the system.
Signal Processing in the Auditory System

This research includes both psychoacoustical measurements to determine how we hear complex sounds, and the development of mathematical models that use optimal communication theory to relate the results of these experiments to the neural coding of sounds by the auditory system. Much of this work has been concerned with the localization of sound and other aspects of binaural perception.


Jesse Stiles

Assistant Teaching Professor of Sound Media

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Jesse Stiles (b. 1978, Boston, MA) is an electronic composer, performer, installation artist, and software designer.  Stiles’ work has been featured at internationally recognized institutions including the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Lincoln Center, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Park Avenue Armory.  Stiles has appeared multiple times at Carnegie Hall, performing as a soloist with electronic instruments.  

In his music and artwork, Stiles creates immersive sonic and visual environments that encourage new methods of listening and looking.  His musical output ranges from highly experimental, using texture and spatialization to create abstract clouds of sound, to borderline danceable, exploring the sounds of electronic dance and rock music to create avant-garde performances and recordings.  Stiles’ installation artwork makes use of generative algorithms to control sound, video, light, and robotics - combining these mediums to create synaesthetic compositions that transform museums and galleries into evolving audiovisual environments.

Stiles has collaborated with many leading figures in experimental music including Pauline Oliveros, Meredith Monk, David Behrman, and Morton Subotnick.  He has been featured as a soloist with the San Francisco Symphony and the New World Symphony, performing with electronic instruments.  Stiles' recordings have been published by Conrex Records, Specific Recordings, Gagarin Records, and Araca Recs.  Stiles has worked as a sound designer and composer on a wide variety of award-winning films, museum exhibitions, and video games. 

Starting in 2010, Stiles served as the Music Supervisor for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company.  Working with the company during their precedent-setting "Legacy Tour," he produced and performed in more than 200 concerts featuring compositions by groundbreaking composers including John Cage, David Tudor, Brian Eno, Radiohead, Sigur Ros, and John Paul Jones.  Stiles' compositions were featured in many of the company's site-specific "Event" performances.  

Stiles is currently a Professor in the School of Music at Carnegie Mellon University, where he leads courses on emerging music technologies.

Jesse Stiles' CV is available here.


Dr. Thomas Sullivan

Associate Teaching Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering

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Research Interests

Though there is currently no funded research at CMU in this area, Dr. Sullivan's interests lie in the areas of signal processing for audio and music systems.

Audio Signal Processing

As the professional recording industry has grown, so has the complexity and quality of sound recording equipment. Research in audio signal processing serves the advancement of digital audio recording. From the need for lossless data compression, to higher quality filtering for A/D and D/A conversion, to better error correction coding for digital hard disk and magnetic tape systems (and compact discs), the research areas where electrical engineers can aid the entertainment industry are great.
Music Signal Processing

Signals from musical instruments are very complex waveforms. As the professional recording and performance industries demand higher quality synthesis of existing musical instruments, the study of new methods of instrument synthesis has increasing importance. In addition, the greater quality of films and television have increased the need for more realistic generation of sound effects. The use of digital sampling in the creation of music and sound effects merges the music and professional audio signal processing areas.

In addition, there is increasing desire for the control of music synthesizers by other existing musical instruments and new, non-standard "instruments" or "controllers". Pitch and expressive tracking of these instruments are vital to obtaining information from a performer that is capable of giving the performer high-level control over a music synthesizer.