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Vol. 38 No. 1 (2022): Rebooting Chroma

Composing with Emergent Instruments in Habitats

October 10, 2021


Habitats (2021) is a multi-movement computer music composition by Michael Lukaszuk. Each movement consists of a dedicated algorithmic composition program that explores digital lutherie with extended versions of physical models from the Synthesis Toolkit and custom-built instruments whose bodies change over time. This article describes the manner in which resources from the ChucK programming language are used to shape these instruments, and how aspects of the design and composition of Habitats are informed by prominent conceptual frameworks used in the cultural studies field. With regards to digital lutherie, this article addresses how I sought to convey a sense of instrumentality using simulated bodies that are projected through use within a particular ChucK program, instead of actual physical instruments. The code and resultant audio for this piece are research-creation efforts that respond to our everchanging definition of composition. In linking my computer music practice and scholarly background in cultural studies, this article also aims to highlight how creative coding represents participation in the formation of culture. Habitats can be heard in full using the following link: Code examples can be found using: