ECE 402 Electronic Music Synthesis

ECE 402 is now offered in fall and spring semesters.
The Fall 2021 instructor is Lippold Haken, Spring 2022 Haken and Cheng together, Fall 2022 and beyond Zuofu Cheng.
(Haken is retiring Summer 2022.)

Lecture: 3081 ECEB, 8:00-9:20 AM TuTh
Sound Design Lab: 3024 ECEB

Course Description:

Survey of Electronic and Computer Music. Topics include: Electronic and computer music technology since 1900; music encoding and representation; psychoacoustics and signal processing; time-varying spectral analysis/synthesis; additive synthesis with sinusoidal and complex basis functions; subtractive synthesis and Musician’s Filter; band-limited waveform generators and Musician’s Sawtooth; modulation synthesis; nonlinear filtering; sound morphing and cross synthesis; synchronous and asynchronous granular synthesis; pitch processing; physical modeling. Level is senior or graduate ECE (3 hours credit).

Sound Design Laboratory:

The course includes a Sound Design Lab each week. This provides hands-on experience designing, implementing, and testing real-time audio signal processing algorithms for computer music.


Before taking ECE402, you should know how to read music notation and be familiar with key signatures, accidentals, the circle of fifths, major and minor triads, tempo markings, and tunings (e.g. MUS101 or MUS103).

ECE majors should complete ECE310 before ECE402. Students with this prerequisite consistently get better grades and understand more than students without ECE310, especially in the 2nd half of ECE402.

Non-ECE majors are welcome and not expected to have ECE310 and will be graded on effort, and are expected to attend all lectures and labs, and spend time on all homework assignments.

More Details:

ECE402 General Information, Homework, Exams, Lab Signup

ECE402 Lab Introduction (study this for Quiz in Lecture 3!)

ECE402 Lecture Topics

ECE402 Lecture Handouts for Lecture 2 through Lecture 10 (14 MB)

ECE402 Lecture Handouts for Lecture 14 through Lecture 24 (14 MB)

ECE402 Sound Examples used in Lecture 1 through 7 (400 MB)

ECE402 Sound Examples used in Lecture 9 through 26 (500 MB)

List of ECE402 Assigned Readings

– Text of the readings are in the Course Packet, or available for download here (42 MB)  

Map of 3rd Floor ECEB for ECE402

Personal web page for instructor Lippold Haken



Courses outside of ECE/CS especially recommended by Prof. Haken:

MUS 407: Electronic Music Techniques I (Prof. Eli Fieldsteel). This is a chance to work in the Electronic Music Studios with music majors. Prof. Fieldsteel welcomes engineers into MUS 407, but since you probably lack prerequisites, please ask him for Consent of Instructor when registering.

PHY 406: Acoustical Physics of Music (Prof. Steven Errede). If you lack the physics prerequisites, please ask Prof. Errede for Consent of Instructor when registering. Prof Errede also teaches a freshman-only class, PHY 193.

MUS 507: Design Patterns for Sound and Music (special guest instructor Dr. Carla Scaletti in certain semesters) Learn directly from the creator of the Kyma sound design environment! This is intended for Music graduate students but others may take this course with special permission. If you liked ECE402 and would like to delve deeper into Kyma and its many uses, please contact Prof Steve Taylor,


If you have comments or suggestions, email to Lippold Haken at