Software - The Live Modular Instrument:

Over the past 7 years I have been developing a software instrument, written in SuperCollider, for live performance with instrumentalists. This software is the main focus of my research, and almost every piece of electronic music found on my website uses it in some way. I use it to perform composed and improvised music with groups like Wet Ink Ensemble, ICE, The Evan Parker Electro-Acoustic Ensemble, and The Peter Evans Quintet. The unique non-linear design of my software helps me achieve a unique versatility as a performer, able to approach any musical situation with attentive sensitivity, and lead and follow in any group.

The source code for my project can be viewed on its GitHub page by following the link below:

Live Modular Instrument GitHub Page

To run the software, you will need SuperCollider version 3.6.6 or later. The entire program is a library, so it requires the following steps to install:
1) place the entire "LiveModularInstrument" directory in the "/Users/user/Library/Application Support/SuperCollider/Extensions/" folder.
2) copy the "startup.scd" file to the "/Users/user/Library/Application Support/SuperCollider/" folder or update your "startup.scd" file to reflect the changes that I have made in this file. The software requires increased memory and increased bus allocation to function correctly.
3) many of the modules require elements from the "SCPlugins" collection of SuperCollider plugins. This is available as a compiled library on the SuperCollider SourceForge page here.
4) there is a dependency on the wslib quark, available here.This also goes in the Extensions folder.
5) re-compile the SC Library or restart SuperCollider.

The "LiveModularInstrument.scd" file in the main directory contains the line of code needed to run the software.

Please be in touch with me if you have any troubles installing the software. This project is fully functional, but not at all documented, so please let me know if there are questions.

Writing - Laptop Improvisation in a Multi-Dimensional Space:

The design philosophy for the Live Modular Instrument is outlined in my doctoral dissertation, Laptop Improvisation in a Multi-Dimensional Space, which can be found on Columbia's Academic Commons website:

Laptop Improvisation in a Multi-Dimensional Space


Using information theory as a foundation, this paper defines virtuosity in the context of laptop performance, outlines a number of challenges that face laptop performers and software designers, and provides solutions that have been implemented in the author's own software environment. A summary of the argument is that by creating a multi-dimensional environment of Sonic Vector Spaces (see page 17) and implementing a method for quickly traversing that environment, a performer is able to create enough information flow to achieve laptop virtuosity. At the same time, traversing this multi-dimensional environment produces a perceptible sonic language that can add structural signposts for the listener to latch on to in performance. Specifics of the author's personal approach to this problem, a software environment coded in SuperCollider, are then shared. Lastly, Mihály Csíkszentmihályi's concept of flow psychology is applied to the three stages of creation in the laptop performance process - software design, patch design, and performance.

A couple of years ago, I also made a short video outlining the main design features of the software. Please watch it below:

Writing - Maximize Information Flow: How to Make Successful Live Electronic Music:

In 2008 I wrote an article in New Music Box that was, in many ways, a predecessor to my dissertation. Entitled "Maximize Information Flow: How to Make Successful Live Electronic Music", this article discusses human-computer interaction and its relationship to perception of audio-visual streams of information. The article is still up for reading on New Music Box:

Maximize Information Flow: How to Make Successful Live Electronic Music

Software - PV_Control:

Two of my works, the composition/installation hybrid work Broken Symmetries and the installation American Idols, use software controlled feedback as their compositional basis. I originally wrote the software for these works in SuperCollider, but due to efficiency considerations, I decided to make a C++ plug-in of the algorithm. Please find the code and Mac OS compiled plugin here:

PV_Control GitHub Page

Writing - Interview with Sound American:

Over the past couple of years I have had a number of interviews with various online magazines. A couple of years ago, I had a particularly excellent talk about running Carrier Records with Nate Wooley of Sound American. That article can be found here:

SA10: Sam Pluta and Carrier Records

Writing - Musicomputation: Teaching Computer Science to Teenage Musicians:

In 2008 I was part of an incredible summer program whose goal was to teach computer programming to young musicians. The three week course used Processing as its programming language, and based its teaching of data structures, iteration, looping, etc on music. A highlight of the course for me was deconstructing then reconstructing Morton Feldman's Triadic Memories using a Finite State Machine. The paper outlining the goals and acheivements of our course is found here:

Musicomputation: Teaching Computer Science to Teenage Musicians