Curtis Roads

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Curtis Roads (born May 9, 1951) is an American composer, author and computer programmer. He composes electronic and electroacoustic music, specializing in granular and pulsar synthesis.


Career and music

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, [1] Roads studied composition at the California Institute of the Arts and the University of California San Diego. He is former chair and current vice chair of the Media Arts and Technology Program at the University of California, Santa Barbara. [2] He has previously taught at the University of Naples [2] "Federico II", Harvard University, [2] Oberlin Conservatory, Les Ateliers UPIC (now CCMIX, Center for the Composition of Music Iannis Xenakis), [2] and the University of Paris [2] VIII.

He co-founded the International Computer Music Association in 1980 and edited the Computer Music Journal from 1978–2000. [2] He has created software including PulsarGenerator and the Creatovox, both with Alberto de Campo.

Since 2004, he has been researching a new method of sound analysis called atomic decompositions, sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF). [2]

The first movement of his composition Clang-Tint, "Purity", uses intervals from the Bohlen–Pierce scale. [3]



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Mortuos Plango, Vivos Voco for eight-track tape is a musical composition created in 1980 by Jonathan Harvey, with the assistance of Stanley Haynes and Xavier Rodet, commissioned by the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. The two sounds contrasted are the tenor bell at Winchester Cathedral, England and the voice of the composer's son Dominic, at the time a chorister there, both recorded by John Whiting. The text is taken from that written on the bell: Horas Avolantes Numero, Mortuos Plango: Vivos ad Preces Voco. Music V was used to analyze and transform the sounds.


nscor is a 1980 electronic composition by Curtis Roads. The piece is built upon multiple synthesis methods and was composed at different studios during a period of five years. It was included on the 1986 compilation album New Computer Music released by WERGO, and the inclusion of the piece on the album was generally positively received by critics.


  1. accessed July 21, 2015.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "MAT: Faculty and Researchers Archived 2009-07-09 at the Wayback Machine ",
  3. "Synthèse 96: The 26th International Festival of Electroacoustic Music", p.91. Michael Voyne Thrall. Computer Music Journal, Vol. 21, No. 2 (Summer, 1997), pp. 90–92.