S C O T T P E T E R S E N ∞ E L M U C O ∞ S C A C I N T O . C O M

homepage for scott eric petersen, el muco, and all things electronic

Fun with the Wien Bridge Oscillator


Look ma, a (almost) sine tone!

To the fledgling electronics enthusiast who has just enough knowledge of electronic music theory to be dangerous, it makes sense that the simplest tone, the sine tone, should be the simplest/easiest to construct in the analog electronics domain.  Of course, this is not the case.  While geometrically simple to describe, the sine tone is not easily achieved using electronic components.  Most designs found online indicate that the most common method is to “filter” a square wave created by an op-amp through a given set of components placed between the output, the non-inverting input, and the ground.  This is the method employed by the Wien Bridge Oscillator. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: DIY, Tutorial / How-to, , , , , , , , , , ,

DIY Workshop Madness


I am really excited to be teaching a series of open source software and hardware workshops this year at Yale as part of a new initiative we started called the Open Music Initiative.  The aim of the initiative is to indoctrinat… er, expose faculty and students to the merits of FLOSS and open source hardware via workshops wherein attendees will get hands-on experience working with, and more importantly making music with open source technologies.  Additionally, it is my hope that the initiative will eventually become a self-sustaining endeavor largely operated and promulgated by members of the Yale community. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Phase 1, , , , , , , , , ,

Batch Normalize and add Fades to Audio Files


A new project I have just started has had me editing a lot of relatively long audio files.  I have to cut them up separating the noise from the spoken word, normalize each file, and add fades to the beginning and end.  Then, I have to export them.  I was using Audacity, which is a great (though ugly) audio editor.  However, there are some problems with batch work in Audacity that ended cost me a lot of time and ultimately making it unsuitable for my purposes.  Finding no app for mac to quickly batch normalize, add fades, and save as a 48k/24-bit file, I decided I would bite the bullet and try to *assemble a bash script to do the tedious work for me. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Code, Music, Tutorial / How-to, , , , , , , ,

INI Workshop prototype instruments Pt. 1

LLW in Action 1

LLW in Action 1

In preparation for our workshop at Artspace, Brian and I met to quickly put together a few prototype instruments out of wood, screws, springs, etc.  We basically wanted to see what we could do with next to no materials (and no preparation.)  The following prototypes are the results of this first meeting.
Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: El MuCo, , , , , , , , ,

Make Testing Speakers for Free**

Required Parts:

  • 1-2 8 ohm speakers
  • an enclosure (cardboard box, tea tin, coffee can, etc.)
  • insulation (cotton, an old shirt, the hair you get from your pet when using the Furminator.)
  • wire
  • glue ( any will do, but… I cannot recommend a hot glue gun enough. see below)
  • alligator clips (deluxe version) or just some metal bit that will conduct the signal.

Required Tools:

  • soldering iron (and solder)
  • X-acto knife or other cutting tool (depends on the material of your enclosure.)

Recommended Tools:

  • wire cutters/stripper
  • helping hands
  • hot glue gun (and glue)

As the asterisks in the title imply, and as you know from life, nothing is free. If you don’t have the parts, you will have to acquire them. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Phase 1, , , , , ,

Xbee: Information and Resources

The XBee RF radio is certainly not new technology, but it remains a tried-and-true means of communicating with microcontrollers in DIY electronic projects.  For those of you unfamiliar with the XBee, it is an RF radio module that can be attached to a circuit via a breakout-board and used to communicate wirelessly with that circuit, or to send sensor data to another XBee (presumably attached to a computer.)  Working with XBees is not all crackers and cheese, however.  Those familiar with the XBee know it is a device of both promise and sorrow, a ‘veil of tears’ as Allan Schindler would say.   Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Tutorial / How-to, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Gearing Up

In anticipation of our upcoming performances March 12th and March 20th, we (MuCo) improvised a set tonight using our new patented MuCo Flouper® and recorded the sonic joy that resulted. Here, for your enjoyment, is the 35 minutes that occurred AS it occurred, recorded in Hi-Def audio and reproduced for you in stunning stereo!

Filed under: El MuCo, SC3 - Code - Music - More, , , , , , , , , , ,

FridayNightThing II (2011)

Here are some pictures and a short video from FridayNightThing II (Feb. 25th.) A big thanks to Heather for taking all the pics and video, editing them together, and putting them online. As always, a big thanks to all who came, participated, and spectated. The next FridayNightThing will be on Friday March 25th. Get out your pots and pans and plan on joining us!

FridayNightThing – February 25, 2011 from hstryk on Vimeo.

Scott explains bleeps & bloops


Investigating Scott's Matrix Mixer

Anne & Carl go over each other's composition

Anne & Carl setting up

Carl & Anne talk after their performance

Carl & Anne's compositions


Carl experiments with the clangpot

Carl enjoys the clangpot

Simon treats us to some classical guitar

Simon, Scott & Anne

Simon and Scott

Filed under: FridayNightThing, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

SuperCollider On Ubuntu

[WARNING:] This page is sad and old and out-of-date.  Please check out this new updated page with new updated instructions that are new and happy and up-to-date.  The below information should be read out of historical curiosity only.

Because getting SC3 to work on Linux seems to be a major source of sadness and unnecessary frustration (to all including myself), I’ve decided to post on going from zero to SC3 hero in a few (ha!) short and easy steps.

Installing SuperCollider from the Repositories

1) If you are on Ubuntu, enable the repositories by entering the following from your shell:

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys FABAEF95


sudo add-apt-repository ppa:supercollider/ppa


sudo apt-get update

2) If you run the following command and hit tab to auto-complete, you can see the packages available:

sudo apt-get install supercollider

supercollider A real time audio synthesis programming language
supercollider-common A real time audio synthesis programming language
supercollider-common-dev Common development files for SuperCollider
supercollider-dev Development files for SuperCollider
supercollider-doc Documentation for SuperCollider
supercollider-emacs SuperCollider mode for Emacs
supercollider-gedit SuperCollider mode for gedit
supercollider-plugins A real time audio synthesis server
supercollider-quarks SuperCollider User Contributions
supercollider-server A real time audio synthesis server
supercollider-server-dev Development files for SuperCollider server
supercollider-vim SuperCollider mode for Vim

You will need at least supercollider-common and supercollider-server (which install with the dummy package “supercollider”) in order to run SC3.  However, the following are really necessary to get the most out of the program:
supercollider-gedit (best interface, IMHO) supercollider-doc (you will need these, trust me) supercollider-plugins (moar soundz!) and supercollider-quarks (even moar soundz!)

Here’s what i installed:

Notice it is installing dependencies for you. That’s nice. Assuming your distro has the old jack (not Jack2) everything should install peachy. However you will notice there’s a problem with mine: the install wants to uninstall Jack2 and install the old Jack. NOT OKAY.

Here are instructions for building with Jack2. If you don’t care and are fine with the old jack, just let the installer do its thing and skip to the section below Starting the SuperCollider Editor.

Building for Jack2

1) Create a directory for the source:

mkdir supercollider

2) ‘cd’ into that dir and download the repo package source:

sudo apt-get source supercollider

if you get a dpkg-dev error after the download, you may need to install it:

sudo apt-get install dpkg-dev

Your folder should then look something like this:

3) Edit the ‘control’ file to depend on Jack2 rather than ye olde jack

cd supercollider-3.4

sudo nano debian/control

this will open the control file in the nano editor.

4) Change libjack-dev (>= 0.100) to your libjack install.  Mine is libjack-jackd2-dev which i found out by searching for libjack in my sources.  My version is 1.9.5, but i left the dependency as (>=1.9.0)

5) ‘cd’ back to the supercollider-3.4 directory and build the debian packages:

sudo dpkg-buildpackage -rfakeroot -uc -b

Assuming you have all your dependencies met, you will have a directory full of delicious .deb files.  If, however, like me your system failed to live up to the dev standard, you will have to install the dependencies.

6) If you got errors, install whatever is listed either in your FAIL message or in the control file above.

sudo apt-get install libavahi-dev … (etc., etc.)

then try again:

sudo dpkg-buildpackage -rfakeroot -uc -b

(this time mine worked!  great!)

7) Install the packages!

cd out to the root supercollider directory you made to start with:

cd ..

show the files:


install the packages:

sudo dpkg -i supercollider_3.4-0ubuntu1~maverick1_amd64.deb supercollider-common_3.4-0ubuntu1~maverick1_all.deb supercollider-doc_3.4-0ubuntu1~maverick1_all.deb supercollider-gedit_3.4-0ubuntu1~maverick1_all.deb supercollider-plugins_3.4-0ubuntu1~maverick1_amd64.deb supercollider-quarks_3.4-0ubuntu1~maverick1_all.deb supercollider-server_3.4-0ubuntu1~maverick1_amd64.deb

(If you get errors on the output, be sure you have at least the base supercollider (supercollider…amd64.deb or whatever your package is) the supercollider-common and the supercollider-server installed.  Then try to install the gedit, plugins, quarks, or what-have-you.)

Starting the SuperCollider Editor (Gedit)

1) I will test my install by opening gedit from the command line:


2) Then i go to edit->preferences->plugins and enable the “sced” plugin.

3) Now under the ‘tools’ menu there should be a ‘SuperCollider Mode’ button.  PRESS IT!!!


So you should now have a working install of SuperCollider, albeit without the convenience of a GUI server window or the possibility of GUI anything…


Installing SwingOSC

Before installing SwingOSC (the GUI library for SC3) check that you have java installed, as it is required for Swing to work.

Typing ‘java -version’ or just ‘java’ and hitting TAB will let you know if you have it installed.  My system sadly does not.

Lore holds that sun-java6-dev is in the “universe” repo, but “universe” and “multiverse” aren’t there anymore, and i’m not sure which of the four extra repos it is in, so I just tick them all.  (Lazy, I know…)

1) Open Synaptic Package Manager

sudo synaptic

2) Go to Settings->repositories->Other Software and tick off the boxes in there.

Once back at the main window, hit “reload”

3) Type sun-java in the quick search window to show the sun-java6 packages.  I can’t remember which exactly I need, so I’ll install them all.

(back in terminal having closed synaptic [otherwise apt will fail])

Accept the proprietary license required of the Java install.  (oh proprietary software.)

SwingOSC is no longer included with supercollider, so you have to download it from Sourceforge.  (Thanks to Bruno TR for the heads-up.)

4) First, if you don’t have a SwingOSC folder at /usr/share/SuperCollider/ go ahead and make one.

sudo mkdir /usr/share/SuperCollider/SwingOSC;

5) Download SwingOSC from this link:  http://sourceforge.net/projects/swingosc/

6) Unzip the folder where you want, resulting in a SwingOSC folder. (I will refer to this as */SwingOSC/ from hereon out, the asterisk indicating your unique folder location.)

7) Cd into */SwingOSC/build/ and copy the SwingOSC.jar file to /usr/share/SuperCollider/SwingOSC

sudo cp */SwingOSC/build/SwingOSC.jar /usr/share/SuperCollider/SwingOSC

(you can put this anywhere as long as you point to it in your .sclang.sc startup file.  more on this below)

8) Copy the SwingOSC help folder to /usr/share/SuperCollider/Help

sudo cp -r */SwingOSC/SuperCollider/Help/SwingOSC/ /usr/share/SuperCollider/Help

9) Copy the SCClassLibrary files to /usr/share/SuperCollider/Extensions

sudo cp -r */SwingOSC/SuperCollider/SCClassLibrary/SwingOSC /usr/share/SuperCollider/Extensions/

SwingOSC is installed now, but to get it to start automatically and give me (and you) the GUI server I (you) so want and deserve, we must create a supercollider startup file.  This is really easy, though, so don’t give up now!

Creating a Startup File

1) Cd to your home directory and create a file called


( you can type thisProcess.platform.startupFiles; in supercollider and evaluate it to find the path to your startup file.  On Ubuntu, it’s ~/.sclang.sc)

2) I enter the following text into mine, you can customize yours as you see fit!

SwingOSC.program = "/usr/share/SuperCollider/SwingOSC/SwingOSC.jar"; g=SwingOSC.default; g.boot; SwingOSC.default.waitForBoot({s.makeGui}); 

 3) Save the file

That’s it!

Now fire up gedit and see if it worked…



Many thanks to the sc3 mailing list, and specifically to those who work tirelessly on the linux port.  The only reason I know anything about SC3 is because of this list.  To name a few, but certainly not all:

Dan Stowell
Julian Rohrhuber-3
Josh Parmenter
Tim Blechmann
Miguel Negrao

And so, from a completely SC3 devoid machine to a fully-functional install with GUI support and Sced IDE all in … just under 2 hours.  I was making this post at the same time, however.  This should have taken you 15 minutes ;)

Thanks for reading.  If you have questions, comments, or an easier way to do any of the above, please comment.


I updated the post to reflect some changes made to the package content (you have to manually download SwingOSC now, etc.) and tested the post out by installing SC3 and Swing on a virtualized Linux Mint install. Everything went peachy with the SC3 and Swing installs and the help system “just works.”

The total install time was about 9 minutes without configuring Jack. Mint already had Java-6 installed too, so that saved a step. Here’s a little pic for motivation. ;)

Filed under: SC3 - Code - Music - More, , , , , , , , , , , ,

MuCo and the Laying-on of Hands (and pincers)

Having purchased 9 electronic children’s toys for the purposes of evil (and paying by the pound $16 total!) Kane and Dusty set out to bend the devices to their will.  With the laying-on of hands, ordinary became extraordinary.  Following are some pics and a sound clip of the newly “fantastified” PC Picture Phone.

PC PicturePhone


The cracked-open picture phone.


Alligator clips running from the circuit to a resistor.


Blue marker on the circuit to show the appropriate timing solder points.


Circuit with clips attached to increase speed of synthesis/playback.



Kane testing resistance.


Dusty doing his Kane impression... note gnarled forehead (?!?)

Filed under: Current Projects, El MuCo, , , , , , ,

G O I N G S O N : L O C A L (ISH)

fritz Art of Fritz Horstman
kane Music of Brian Kane
fritz Hartford Phase Shift
fritz Hartford Sound Alliance
Lique Art of Philip Lique
Lique Music of Matt Sargeant
strycharz Art of Heather Strycharz
uncertainty Uncertainty Music Series

My Other Awesome Sites [•_•]

Assault! 375 Aural Assaults!
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INI new haven

Handmade instruments by Scott Petersen and Brian Kane at Artspace New Haven