Scope and Contents
Call Number: SC1107
Mathews, Max V.
Title: Max V. Mathews papers
20.5 Linear feet (16 boxes)
Summary: Correspondence, articles, lab notebooks, musical scores, audio recordings, computer files, and other materials related to
the professional work of computer music pioneer Max V. Mathews.
Language(s): The materials are in English.
Department of Special Collections and University Archives
557 Escondido Mall
Stanford, CA 94305-6064
Phone: (650) 725-1022
This collection was given to Stanford University, Special Collections, by Marjorie Mathews in April 2012.
Information about Access
Computer files are closed pending processing; otherwise the materials are open for research use. Audio-visual materials are
not available in original format, and must be reformatted to a digital use copy.
Ownership & Copyright
All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the
Head of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, California 94305-6064. Consent
is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission
from the copyright owner. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner, heir(s) or assigns. See: http://library.stanford.edu/depts/spc/pubserv/permissions.html.
Restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research
and educational purposes.
[identification of item], Max V. Mathews Papers (SC1107). Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University
Libraries, Stanford, Calif.
Max V. Mathews, often cited as "the father of computer music," was born in Columbus, NE on November 13, 1926. After training
as a radio technician in the Navy, he attended the California Institute of Technology, where he received a bachelor's degree
in electrical engineering in 1950. He received a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1954.
Mathews joined the Bell Labs acoustical and behavioral research department in 1955. While there, he developed a computer program
that allowed an IBM mainframe to compose and play a 17 second composition. Subsequent versions of this program, called Music,
led to the development of popular computer music software such as CSounds and CMix, as well as MAX, a programming language
for music named in his honor. Mathews was also the inventor of the Radio Baton, an electronic device for control of music
in Midi format, and several electric violins. His collaborators included composers John Cage and Pierre Boulez. In the 1970s,
he assisted Boulez in establishing the Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique in Paris.
Mathews directed the acoustical and behavioral research center at Bell Labs from 1962 to 1985, at which time he accepted the
position of Professor of Music (Research) at Stanford University. While at Stanford, he was affiliated with the Center for
Computer Research in Music and Acoustics. Following his retirement as Professor Emeritus in 2005, he remained active in the
electronic music field until his death on April 21, 2011.
Scope and Contents
The collection includes correspondence, articles, lab notebooks, musical scores, audio recordings, computer files, and other
materials related to the professional work of computer music pioneer Max V. Mathews. Correspondents of note include Jean-Claude
Risset and Pierre Boulez. Also included are several films by Lillian Schwartz with music by Mathews.
Bell Telephone Laboratories.
Boulez, Pierre, 1925-
IRCAM (Research institute : France).
Knowlton, Kenneth C.
Schwartz, Lillian F., (Lillian Feldman), 1927-
Stanford University. Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics.
Stanford University. Department of Music.
Electronic musical instuments
Music--Acoustics and physics.