WCU Center for Music Technology

West Chester University
College of Visual and Performing Arts
School of Music
Department of Music Theory and Composition

Center for Music Technology

 West Chester University Laptop Quartet
 Larry Nelson and Van Stiefel, co-directors

The West Chester University Laptop Quartet is a collection of four computer-based musical instruments. Each instrument consists of a laptop, a single-channel hemispherical speaker, a variety of control devices (keyboards, graphics tablets, sensors, and others), and software developed in the ChucK, Max/MSP, and Ableton Live languages/environments. The students and faculty who make up the quartet act as performers, researchers, composers, and software developers.

The challenges are many: what kinds of sounds can we create? how can we physically control these sounds? how do we compose with these sounds? There are also social questions with musical and technical ramifications: how do we organize a quartet of computer music instruments in this context? with a conductor? via a wireless network? The ensemble represents ongoing research and practice in the areas of live computer music performance, group improvisation, spatialization, the physical modeling of instruments and their patterns of sound radiation, computer music programming languages and real-time performance, and computer music pedagogy.

We express our appreciation to Dan Trueman and the PLOrk Ensemble for their advice and encouragement in our development of the WCU Laptop Quartet.