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The CEARP (Composition, Electro-Acoustic Research and Performance) facility is part of the Theory and Composition Department of the Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario. CEARP provides composers and performers the opportunity to gain knowledge and experience in electronic and electro-acoustic music.

Dr. Omar Daniel ( is Director of CEARP, a position he assumed in 2001. From 1987 to 2001, Dr. David Myska ( was director of CEARP, and in the course of that time built the studio into the well-equipped facility it is today. Previous to Dr. Myska’s arrival, the studio was principally an acoustic research lab, rather than an electronic music composition/performance studio.

The facility consists of two spaciously equipped composition studios: Studio B, where the undergraduate Introduction to Electronic Music (Music 195b) is taught, and Studio C is where the advanced undergraduate and graduate seminars are conducted.

Courses consist of lectures incorporating both theoretical discussions and hands-on practical examples and instruction solidified by weekly tutorial sessions.

All courses offered in CEARP are comprehensive in scope, encompassing a historical survey of precedents and practices drawn from the literature (from the Music Library’s large collection of scores, videos, records, and compact discs), the acoustics and physics of sound, as well as pertinent theoretical concepts necessary to confidently wield the vast resources of the studios through composition.

Proficiency and expertise in the use of hardware and software within the studios is gained through guided studies. Once a certain level of mastery is attained, works of greater complexity, such as an electro-acoustic work, can be undertaken.

Students are not only instructed in the use of electronic devices and computer programs, but are provoked to actively think about the roles and applications electronics can have in composition and performance. Moreover, students are challenged to devise effective solutions to creative and technical issues that arise within their own composition projects.

In lecture, aesthetic issues specific to music in general, or electronic music in particular are discussed. Constructive criticism and feedback is offered by professor and peers in lecture presentations of works in progress. In addition to class meetings, each student is allotted a guaranteed 4 hours of personal studio time each week for work on projects in progress.

Digital Tape (Protools) works are the accepted standard for projects in the introductory course, and as etudes/studies in the advanced courses. The upper undergraduate and graduate seminars stress the exploration of more sophisticated possibilities for electronic music composition, such as the creation of an electro-acoustic work incorporating traditional acoustic instruments with an interactive electronic component like Max/MSP, the K2500 sampler, or the PCM81 effects processor.

This emphasis on performance stems from the idea that electronic music should not be indifferent to the performer, especially given the vast possibilities for creation utilizing both acoustic and electronic musical resources, resources that extend the composer’s palate immensely. Student compositions are performed annually in a free public concert in von Kuster Hall, the concert is well attended by students as well as the community. In the near future CEARP will be publishing Student compositions online in Real Audio and mp3 format.

In addition to wishing to provide a high standard of education in electronic music, CEARP is committed to staying at the forefront of current technology thanks to planned maintenance and upgrades.

As of September 2001, Studio C now has a 533mHz 2001 Power Mac G4 running Mac OS9, Digidesign Protools Mix 24 digital multi-track recording software with a Mix Core PCI card and an 888 audio interface, two 18 gigabyte Ultra-Wide SCSI audio hard drives, an ultra-SCSI CD-R, Waves TDM effects plug-in bundle, and Cycling 74’s Max4/MSP2 real-time audio synthesis and MIDI processing software.

Studio C

The studio also contains a Kurtzweil K2500rs sampling synthesizer fully loaded with RAM and connected to a dedicated SCSI hard disk for storing user samples and programs, a Roland A-80 88-key weighted MIDI controller keyboard, a Yamaha G50 pitch-to-MIDI converter with the G1D guitar pickup to transform any guitar into a full MIDI controller, an Opcode Studio 5lx OMS MIDI Patchbay, a Tascam DA-30 DAT recorder, a Lexicon PCM81 digital multi-effects processor, and a Panasonic WR-DA7 RAMSA digital Mixer.

Thanks to a recent operating system upgrade, the WR-DA7 Mixer’s 16 motorized faders, and 48 buttons can now be used as a tactile MIDI control surface for parameter control of any software or device in the studio.

A recent addition to the studio is the I-cube MIDI controller by Infusion Systems. The device comes with a great number of alternate MIDI controllers, and you can even make your own! This device has great potential for use in performance situations given its vast array of controllers: ribbon bend controllers, and sensors that measure pressure, gravity, proximity, and light.

Studio B has a 350mHz PowerMac G4 running McOS9, Protools LE 5.1 digital multi-track recording software, and Reaktor 2.33 a software synthesis and sound creation suite. There is an external SCSI CD-R and an 18Gb SCSI hard drive for audio.

Studio B

Studio B also possesses a fully loaded K2500rs sampling synthesizer with an external SCSI hard drive, a Yamaha DX7 used as a controller keyboard, an Alesis Q2 QuadraVerb digital multi-effects processor, an IVL PitchRider pitch-to-MIDI converter, and a Mackie 32-8 studio analog mixer.

For more extensive photographs and information on any of the courses or capabilities of CEARP, please visit the CEARP web page at :

Jason Stanford
GTA and Technician

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