Digital Interactive Sound & Intermedia Studio
Virginia TechCollege of Liberal Arts and Human SciencesSchool of Performing ArtsICATCHCI

"And so the arts are encroaching upon one another, and from a proper use of this encroachment will rise the art that is truly monumental."
--Wassily Kandinsky

IMPORTANT! Please note that the syllabus is subject to change. Should such a change occur, it will be announced in the Latest Updates section and/or the course mailing list. For this reason, you are strongly encouraged to check this site frequently for changes. Last Updated

Linux Laptop Orchestra (L2Ork) Syllabus (MUS3314)
Time: T H 3:30 - 5:30 PM
Classroom: DISIS (Newman 121)
Instructor: Dr. Ivica Ico Bukvic
Office: Henderson 313
Office Hours: By appointment only
Instructor Email: ico_AT_vt_DOT_edu
Course Mailing List:

Latest Updates
•  08/18/16 -- Syllabus posted online.

Course Objectives
The Linux Laptop Orchestra is an experimental contemporary ensemble whose main purpose is to explore its creative potential through artistic expression, scientific research, and education. Due to its experimental character, the course should be seen as a journey of discovery for students and faculty alike rather than a preset and/or predetermined lecture/lab curriculum. Topics covered by the course include creation, rehearsal, and performance of newfound art developed by students and faculty, composition for the laptop ensemble, the design and development of hyperinstruments, as well as study of performance aesthetics and other related research topics. Students can enroll in this course in the following two ways, as a:

•  performer via MUS3314 1-credit-hour ensemble for music majors, and a general area 6 elective for all VT students
•  researcher and performer via add-on lab that counts as a CS elective for CS majors, and a general elective for all VT students

Students enrolled in MUS3314 will be expected to attend all rehearsals and performances. In addition to the MUS3314 expectations, students enrolled in the lab will be also expected to learn pd-l2ork, a Pure-Data-based real-time digital signal processing programming language developed specifically for the ensemble in a way that is accessible to programmers and non-programmers alike. By doing so, they will be expected to develop their own instruments and eventually entirely new compositions for the ensemble. This learning process will be in part supported via supplemental workshops that will be arranged throughout the semester. Please note that lab students also need to be enrolled in the MUS3314 ensemble to be eligible for the lab.

Evaluation and Grading
Students engaged in the ensemble will be given a grade solely upon their attendance and in-class participation. Students enrolled in the lab will be graded using a combination of research milestones, the final deliverable, as well as attendance and in-class participation.

Please note that in-class participation also means no texting, using mobile telephones, or doing anything else that may distract others and/or impede overall ensemble's productivity. The ensemble can only function if everyone is present and fully focused on the task at hand. Any disregard of this policy may (at instructor's discretion) result in removal from the class and consequently unexcused absence.

The lab grade will be split as follows:

Project milestones  35%
Final deliverable  35%
In class participation and attendance  30%

Please understand that L2Ork can function only if all ensemble participants regularly and promptly attend rehearsals. Therefore every unexcused absence will result in a half-grade penalty that will be applied to the final grade. The ensemble may also perform and/or tour during the semester in which all students who fail to attend said performances and/or tours without prior approval will be given a failing grade.

Honor Code
The Undergraduate Honor Code pledge that each member of the university community agrees to abide by states:

“As a Hokie, I will conduct myself with honor and integrity at all times. I will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor will I accept the actions of those who do.”

Students enrolled in this course are responsible for abiding by the Honor Code. A student who has doubts about how the Honor Code applies to any assignment is responsible for obtaining specific guidance from the course instructor before submitting the assignment for evaluation. Ignorance of the rules does not exclude any member of the University community from the requirements and expectations of the Honor Code.

For additional information about the Honor Code, please visit:

Course Materials
There are no required course materials for ensemble students. While most materials will be covered in class, lab students will have the following OPTIONAL supplemental resources at their disposal:
•  The Theory and Technique of Electronic Music (free online book by the Pd author Miller Puckette)
•  Bang Book (free online collection of Pd articles)
•  L2Ork website


Internet access


A Valid VT Email Account

Laptop, hardware (soundcard, speakers, cables, etc.), and software will be provided during rehearsals. In addition, each student will check-out said hardware and be fully responsible for the cost of replacing the said hardware in case it is damaged, lost, stolen, etc. Every station will be rented out for your personal use for the duration of the semester. This rental (as per School of Performing Arts policy) will be assessed a flat rental fee due at the beginning of semester. Additional details regarding the said rental fee will be provided in-class.
Students may be required to miss classes during performance days and/or out-of-town tours. Written requests to be excused during such events will be provided in advance. It is student's responsibility to convey such requests as soon as possible to their respective teachers.
Although every effort will be made to ensure minimal cost overhead for the participating students, the out-of-town performances may require students to cover their own cost of transportation, lodging, and meals. These matters will be always addressed well in advance to allow for adequate time for everyone to plan accordingly and/or plan for alternative solutions.

Health and Wellness
Students participating in music classes, music ensembles and applied lessons, as well as faculty and staff within the music department, should be aware of the potential for bodily injury when listening, rehearsing, and performing music. Practicing good auditory health and musculoskeletal health are essential for maintaining an active and effective career in music. Visit the Virginia Tech School of Performing Arts website ( for information on mental, auditory and musculoskeletal health. Additionally, music students are encouraged to wear hearing protection in all rehearsals, applied lessons, and concerts.

Any student who may need an accommodation because of a disability please make an appointment to see me as soon as possible.

Course Calendar
Below are important dates which are to be noted on your calendars:

•  12/5/2016: DISIS fall event
More event info will be posted soon

Any additional changes to the schedule will be communicated via the class mailing list and updated here accordingly. Also, please make note of the calendar with important dates listed on the registrar's webiste. The registrar's calendar can be found here.

•  All files will be provided and updated as needed on the assigned computers.