Carnegie Mellon University
57-421/821 – Exploded Ensemble
Fall 20190

Annie Hui-Hsin Hsieh (, Jesse Stiles (
TA: Mitch Borkowski(
Time: Mon/Wed 12:30PM – 3:20PM
Reserved team meeting time: Fridays 5:00PM-7:00PM
Location: Hunt Library Media Lab, HLA10A
Class website:
Jesse’s office hours: Tuesdays, 3:00PM to 5:00PM – Hunt Library Media Lab, HLA10A.
Annie’s office hours: Mondays, 4:00PM – 5:30PM – Hunt Library Media Lab, HLA10A.

Exploded Ensemble is Carnegie Mellon University’s experimental music research wing. Our research areas include, but are not limited to: Electro-acoustics, Multi-channel sound, Audio-visual performance (live video, computer-controlled lighting), Wearable electronics & hybrid instruments, Performance of non-Western and/or non-notated musics, Creation of new music ONLINE DISCUSSION/ANNOUNCEMENTS We will use a Facebook group for course-related discussions, announcements, file-sharing, & cetera. Please be sure to join the Facebook group and monitor discussions in realtime so you don’t miss anything.

The online calendar is here.

We will use a Google Drive Folder for the sharing of files related to our work (Ableton Sessions, Max Patches, samples, videos, pictures & cetera) as well as delivery of assignments.

Please read and become familiar with the IDeATe lending and purchasing policies, which can be accessed at The IDeATe facilities are shared student resources and spaces. As such, all members of the IDeATe community are expected to be respectful of the equipment, the spaces, and fellow students and their projects. Always clean up after completing your work, put things back in their correct place, and leave the lab in better condition than you found it. Students may be required to purchase materials to complete class projects. For convenience, some materials are available for borrowing and for purchase at IDeATe Lending (Hunt A29). If you experience any issues with IDeATe facilities such as swipe card access, access to the room reservations system, non-functioning or damaged equipment, etc., send an email describing your issue to:

You will have access to the Media Lab outside of class hours – it is an excellent environment for you to rehearse and develop work. To use the Media Lab outside of class time you must make a reservation using the online reservation system. When using the Media Lab outside of class you must comply with the policies indicated on the IDeATe website.

Attendance: Unexcused absences are disruptive and disrespectful. And in the case of a music ensemble, an unexcused absence may make a potential rehearsal impossible. If you are unable to attend class for any reason you must email the instructors in advance. Failure to contact the instructors before the start of our meeting times will result in an unexcused absence. Unexcused absences will result in the drop of one letter grade per absence. This means that if you have one unexcused absence and would otherwise receive an A in the class, you will receive a B. If you have two unexcused absences and would otherwise receive an A, you will receive a C, etc. Arriving more than 5 minutes late to class twice will result in an additional unexcused absence. Participation: You are invited, encouraged, and expected to engage actively in discussion, reflection and activities. Our class time is precious and limited. Please refrain from distracting electronic behavior such as texting during class time.

There will two concerts in the course of the semester: one around the time of mid-terms and one in the last weeks of the semester. You will be expected to develop materials for these concerts in the form of scores, Ableton project files, Max patches, etc., and to submit these materials to the shared Google Drive folder, in the >>> WORK SUBMISSION area. Links to your uploaded materials on Google Drive will be submitted to Canvas by the indicated due dates.
For each concert you will submit a rough, revised, and final version of your materials. For Concert #1 the rough, revised, and final submissions will be worth 10, 10, and 20 points respectively (40 points total). For Concert #2 the drafts will be worth 10, 10, and 30 points (50 points total). Due dates are indicated on Canvas and on the course calendar. Overall participation (both online as well as in class) counts for the remaining 10 points towards one’s final grade.