Composing for laptop orchestra

Scott Smallwood, Dan Trueman, Perry R. Cook, Ge Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


The recently formed Princeton Laptop Orchestra (PLOrk) can be said as the first ever orchestra conducting using a laptop computer. The feat is especially relevant as it developed strategies for control, sound design, spatialization, conductor roles, improvisation and instrument design. PLOrk is an ensemble of laptop-based instrumentalists with localized sound sources. Producing sonic space comparable to a large ensemble of instruments that generate sound from various points on a stage, the sound of each player radiating out in all directions. PLOrk used equipment including Apple PowerBook G4s and MacBooks, software development environments Max?MSP, SuperCollider and ChucK, a rack of audio equipment consisting of a multi-channel Firewire interface, speaker amplification and a sensor interface and a hemispherical speaker with six individually addressable speakers. The PLOrk orchestra produced a sound that is both limiting and inspiring. The ensemble is tightly synchronized via a network and is assisted by a specialized conductor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-24
Number of pages16
JournalComputer Music Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Media Technology
  • Music
  • Computer Science Applications


Dive into the research topics of 'Composing for laptop orchestra'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this