Cristyn Magnus composer

News & Events

Computer Music


I have a PhD in music technology from UCSD, where I studied with Miller Puckette. I have years of experience with recording, live sound reinforcement, and the usual studio audio software (e.g. ProTools). My specialty is interactive electronics, primarily programming in Pure Data (PD). I also have considerable experience using MAX/MSP/JITTER.

I am always interested in working with other artists. I have designed and implemented interactive electronics patches for composers including Kueiju Lin, Sean Griffin, Derek Keller, and Morton Subotnik. I have tutored many other artists in electronic music techniques. Additionally, I have been brought in by other programmers and technologists to assist with troubleshooting and debugging various multi-media works.

I am based in the New York Capital Region and am availible for hire. I have experience working remotely and can complete all or most of a project from a distance if necessary. I am willing to travel, should the scope of a project require my physical presence.


I have a long standing interest in Musical Games that grew out of a desire to explore the computer's idiom to write more robust and idiomatic pieces for interactive electronics. The idea behind these pieces is that the score can be replaced by a video game. The game state will be sonified to produce the electronics part. The moves in the game are made by playing certain sounds or by playing certain ways. The choice of sounds mapped onto control and the strategy involved in the game produces emergent musical form from the performer.

There is a tension between making a good video game and having processing power for good, glitch-free electronics. Play any modern 3d video game and the fan on your device will pop on: not something we want in concert halls. I've leaned towards lo-fi games; I'm not sure I've found the ideal medium but I keep looking.

Combat Music was originally conceived as an Atari 2600 hardware hack. That died with the advent USB. The version that still works uses Flash, which Steve Jobs killed on mobile but is still managing to cling to life on desktop systems. It's not clear how long it will last; I'm a bit shocked it still exists. The pieces in the vs. series create the video game with Pure Data canvas elements. This works for old-style games but isn't ideal. For the next vs. piece, I'm experimenting with Javascript, which I hope will stick around for a few years.

Genetic Algorithms

I have an ongoing project on evolving waveforms with genetic algorithms. The goal is to produce a series of pieces that reflect the evolutionary process. Here's a bunch of related documentation:


My first quarter of grad school, I did a little project comparing different denoising algorithms. I thought I'd never care about it again, but I keep pulling the pd patch out to use for other projects. So I've cleaned it up and posted it for anyone who wants to be able to effortlessly switch between four different denoising algorithms. Fun.