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Undergraduate Program

Music Engineering Minor

An Interdisciplinary Program

The Music Engineering minor program includes courses in music theory and composition, music technology, acoustic and electronic instrument design, music recording and production, analog and digital electronics, computer programming, fluid mechanics, acoustics, vibration, automation, materials engineering, and sound sculpture.

The program co-directors are Lecturer Paul Lehrman in the Department of Music and Professor Chris Rogers in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. The program is administered by the School of Engineering's Department of Mechanical Engineering, but is open to all undergraduate and graduate students.

The Music Engineering program is funded in part by Steinway & Sons and is supported by the Departments of Music and Physics in the School of Arts and Sciences; the School of Engineering's Departments of Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering; and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts.

Robotic Musicians from Tufts University on Vimeo.

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Minor in Music Engineering

The Minor in Music Engineering provides students with experiences at the intersection of music and technology. Students learn the technologies behind music-making, both traditional and modern, and how new technologies can be applied to musical goals. The minor is available to students both in the School of Engineering and the School of Arts and Sciences.

Students can participate in the program by taking individual courses, by engaging in research projects, and/or by taking the Music Engineering Minor. Unlike a major, a student does not have to declare a minor until he or she is ready to graduate. Students interested in the minor should speak with a program advisor early in their undergraduate careers to ensure the requirements for the minor are met.

The minor consists of 5 courses and a final project (6 units in total) with three possible emphases: Music recording and production, electronic instrument design, and acoustic instrument design.

Students can follow any one of these emphases, which will influence the choice of final project. Each student taking the minor must have a minor faculty advisor who approves course selections and mentors the final project. Each minor must include at least two courses with engineering course designations. A list of approved courses available at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts is available from the program directors.

More detailed course information and descriptions can be found on SIS.

Featured Course

COMP 150-04 Musical Applications for the iPad
Music Apps for the iPadThe Musical Apps for the iPad was launched in spring 2012. The course is open to students outside the minor and explores engineering through the interface of music and technology. Students learn programming languages needed to create applications for Apple devices in addition to foundational music training in music theory, notation, and music synthesis. For the final project, students design a number of prototype apps that demonstrate their abilities and hopefully result in a commercially viable product. Students in the spring 2012 course created a draw-your-own drum kit app called imPact Remix that is now available on the iTunes App store for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.

History and Sponsors

The Music Engineering program was originally launched in 1998 as the Musical Instrument Engineering program, and was funded in part by Steinway & Sons and Selmer Instruments, with an emphasis on research in acoustic musical instrument design and manufacture. In 2011, the program was expanded to include two other tracks: Music Recording and Production, and Electronic Instrument Design.

Steinway & Sons in 2011 once again provided funding for the program, specifically supporting undergraduate research projects in music engineering.