COURSE OUTLINE + SCHEDULE OF ASSIGNMENTS

 

I: Introduction, Acoustics, and Recording

9/3

Welcome, Individual Meetings for Consents

Homework: Read “What is Electronic Music?” by Thom Holmes from Electronic and Experimental Music: Pioneers in Technology and Composition

Listen to Racing Through, Racing Unseen by Natasha Barrett. Program notes here.

As you listen to this work, consider the following questions (not being graded, just for yourself):

What sounds do you hear in this work? What techniques does it seem were used to create these sounds (microphones, computer, instruments, etc.)? Do these sounds evoke (a) location(s) or place(s)? How is the work organized; how does it change over time? 

Fill out the TIMARA Start-of-Semester Form

9/5

Overview of Topics + Syllabus, Discussion of Electronic Music + Listening | SLIDES

2:20PM - Depot Training in TIMARA Studios, with Abby and Marly

           HW: Read Introduction to Acoustics: Waves and Sound (disregard the mathematics!)

Watch this short video on how the ear works (disregard technical names, just understand the system as a whole)

Listen to “Dripsody” by Hugh LeCaine and “One Minute” by Ryoji Ikeda

How do these pieces activate the ears? What techniques does it seem were used to create these sounds (microphones, computer, instruments, etc.)? How is the work organized; how does it change over time (or how is it structured)?

9/10

Sound Terminology Review, Acoustics | SLIDES

HW: Read “Chapter 1: Microphones” by Bobby Owsinski, from The Recording Engineer’s Handbook

Listen to “Plåtmås” by Hanna Hartman and “I am sitting in a room” by Alvin Lucier (listen to first ~5 minutes, then seek around afterwards)

 

9/12

Microphones, Recording | SLIDES

Lab: Demo’ing recording using a portable recorder and saving sound to a computer

HW: Right after class, check out a portable recorder (TIMARA Depot hours on Thursdays: 2:30PM - 5:30PM).

Using that recorder, in groups of 2 to 3, please record the following sounds over the weekend.

Recorder Scavenger Hunt Sound List

2 periodic sounds (pitched sounds)
2 aperiodic sounds (noisy sounds)
2 close sounds (near to the mics)
2 faraway sounds (far from the mics)*
2 moving sounds (source/mics changing location during recording)
2 ‘what the…’ AKA ‘guess the source’ sounds

*although what you’re recording is faraway (and perhaps quiet), it should not be overpowered by close sounds

Transfer the recorded files (should be 12 (at least)) to one or more group member’s computer!

Read “Some Sound Observations” by Pauline Oliveros, from Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music

 

II: Single-Track Editing, Digital Audio Theory, and Electronic Music History I

9/17

ocenaudio I: Basic Editing, Importing, Exporting | SLIDES

Download the ocenaudio Help Sheet here.

Lab: Editing your recordings in ocenaudio

HW: Read “Early Electronic Music in Europe” by Thom Holmes from Electronic and Experimental Music: Pioneers in Technology and Composition

Listen to Étude aux Chemins de Fer by Pierre Schaeffer and Gesang Der Juenglinge (Excerpt) by Karlheinz Stockhausen.

9/19

History of Electronic Music I: Musique Concrète from 1940s to the Present | SLIDES

HW: Read The Art of Noise by Luigi Russolo

Listen to “Unsound Objects” by Jonty Harrison and “Rozart Mix” by John Cage

9/24

ocenaudio II: More Advanced Editing, Volume, Pitch-Shifting | SLIDES

HW: Read “How Digital Audio Works” from the Max v7.3.5 Documentation. First half should be review (“Complex tones” is interesting!), important bit is from “Digital representation of sound” up until “Advantages of digital audio” (no need to read this).

Also check out the How Digital Audio Works Help Sheet

9/26

Digital Audio Theory: Sample Rate, Bit Depth, File Types | SLIDES

TSwift_SamplingRate+BitDepthDemos.zip

HW: Finish Project 1 (due on Monday)

 

III: Multi-Track Editing, Digital Signal Processing, and Composition

9/30 — Project 1 Due (9pm)

10/1

Review Composition 1: Sound Collage

Quiz Review (will be open notes) | SLIDES

REAPER I: Basic Editing, Importing, Exporting

Download the REAPER Help Sheet here.

HW: Get more familiar with REAPER, review for Quiz I (will be open notes (written notes only, no laptops)!)

 

10/3

Quiz I: Acoustics, Microphones, Digital Audio Theory, Electronic Music History (15 minutes)

REAPER II: Basics Review, Automation, Advanced Techniques | SLIDES

HW: Review and explore REAPER plug-ins in Audio Effects HELP SHEET (Audio Effects I)

Listen to Robert Normandeau’s Jeu (excerpt) (try with headphones!) and Steve Reich’s Violin Fase OR Steve Reich’s Piano Fase

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10/8

DSP Effects I: Time Domain Effects (Delay/Echo, Stereo Imaging, Reverb, Modulation Effects) | SLIDES

HW: Review and explore REAPER plug-ins in Audio Effects HELP SHEET (Audio Effects II)

Read Steve Reich’s Music as a Gradual Process and Brian Eno’s Ambient Music

Listen to Donato Wharton’s Puget Sound and whatever you’d like of Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works 85-92

 

10/10

DSP Effects II: Frequency Domain Effects (Dynamics, Equalization/Filtering, Spectral Analysis and Effects, and beyond…) | SLIDES

HW: Finish Project 2 (due on Monday)

10/14 — Project 2 Due (9pm)

10/15

Review Composition 2

Sound Walk

Soundscape Composition Theory I: Curating/Experiencing Time

HW: Read Katharine Norman + Hildegard Westerkamp (TBD)

 

10/17

Soundscape Composition Theory II: Curating/Experiencing Space

🍂 ### 10/19 – 10/27: FALL BREAK ### 🍂

 

IV: Synthesis, MIDI and Virtual Instruments, Mixing, and Electronic Music History II

10/29

Synthesis Theory + Synthesizers

Introducing Project 3

10/31 🎃

Electronic Music History II: Elektronische Musik from 1940s to the Present

Extra Spooky Theremin Petting Zoo

11/4 — Project 3 Due (9pm)

11/5

Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI)

Check out the How MIDI Works Help Sheet

 

11/7

Virtual Instruments

Quiz Review

11/12

Mixing + Mastering

Quiz II: Digital Audio Effects, Synthesis, MIDI, Elektronische Musik History

 

11/14

Final Project Assignment

 

V: Advanced Topics, Sound Design, and Final Project 

11/19

Catching Our Breath and Moving Forward

11/21

Interactive Media (Or Other Student Interest Topic(s))

11/26

Performing Electronic Music (Or Other Student Interest Topic(s))

 

🍲 ### 11/28-12/1: THANKSGIVING BREAK ### 🍲

— 

12/3

Generative Media (Or Other Student Interest Topic(s))

12/5

In-Class Final Project Workshopping

12/9 — Final Project Due (9pm)

12/10

Final Project Presentations I

 

12/12

Final Project Presentations II

 

…go forth and spread the word of electroacoustic music 🔊