Electronic Production & Design Courses
Survey of Electroacoustic Music
An audio/video tour of compositions, performances, and technical developments that inform the diversity of electroacoustic music. Composition genres facilitated by electronic means such as process music, microtonality, ambient, aleatory; and electronic transformations of keyboards, guitars, drums, winds, and voice are explored. Landmark compositions, songs, soundscapes, and performances are placed in a broader context that runs the gamut from early avant-garde through current popular genres. The classroom listening experience is extended via the 50+ page annotated discography designed for long-term study. This course provides a focused introduction to the culture and repertoire of music technology, a requisite for those who intend to work in the field. A selected film that features electronic sound design and/or electroacoustic music is screened during midterm and final exam weeks.
This course provides a comprehensive introduction to the electronic music studio. Emphasis is placed on understanding analog and digital audio concepts, analog and digital signal flow, audio connections and gain-staging, console vs. control surface paradigms, DAW set-up and usage, studio signal flow, the recording process, microphone usage, and signal processors used in recording and mixing.
Modular Functions and Signal Flow
Study of principles and use of modules (oscillators, filters, amplifiers, envelope generators) found in software and hardware modular sound production systems. Focus is on observing signal characteristics at outputs, and defining signal functions (audio, control, timing) solely via connections to inputs. Sonic deconstruction and other electronic ear training techniques are presented, and correlative original sound designs are produced by students. In addition to class participation, students are supervised in weekly hands-on practice in EP/D labs, where an array of software and hardware systems are available.
Control Systems in Electronic Production
A comprehensive study of MIDI and other control systems in the context of electronic music production. Focus is given to the integration of hardware and software synthesizers, digital audio, and controllers into the sequencing/DAW environment. The MIDI specification and its practical applications in music production and sound design will be explored. A wide range of sequencing projects includes music for commercials, electronica, and performance-oriented control techniques.
Electronics in the Soundtrack
Focuses on electroacoustic music in the film score. Highlights electronic musical instruments, computer software, and electronic techniques used to create and synchronize music, Foley, SFX (sound effects), and dialogue to picture. Illustrated voluminously with film clips and DVD supplements, from the coming of sound in film (circa 1927) through the modern era. Real time or mediated demonstrations of techniques such as click track, punches and streamers, Pro Tools mix down, pitch shifting, audio reversal, ADR (automated dialogue replacement), etc., are shown in class. This course familiarizes class members with archetypal electroacoustic underscores, industry terminology, and standard practices used to produce sound for picture. It is a useful initiation for those who intend to produce sound/music to picture for feature films, industrials, animation, advertising, and video games. A selected film that features electronic sound design and/or electroacoustic music is screened during midterm and final exam weeks.
Musical Devices for Media Composers
A study of composition devices such as hemiola, stretto, polymeter, canon, augmentation/diminution, antiphony, pointillism, streaming, hocketing, ostinato, spatialization, etc. used by professional electronic media (e.g., video game, film score, telecommunications, internet) composers and sound designers. Harmony and its devices are not considered. Students are challenged to show how the classic devices of music composition can be extended using electronic technology. Participants compose original sound sketches, and a longer digital audio/MIDI production that illustrate fluency with the musical devices presented in class. Class members also excerpt commercially available music of their choice that features discernible musical devices, and group analyses are developed in class.
Digital Mix Techniques
Based on the concepts and skills learned in EP-220 Studio Technologies, this course places a primary emphasis on the improvement of student productions through effective mixing techniques. Mix balance, equalization, dynamics, and other signal processing techniques will be explored and applied to a series of projects. Genre-specific techniques will be discussed, in addition to electronic music styles and sound design scenarios.
Control Systems in Advanced Production
An advanced project-oriented course focused on the mastery of an integrated electronic production environment using a wide variety of hardware and software. Emphasis is placed on advanced techniques in MIDI sequencing with audio production. These techniques are applied in a series of projects including orchestral emulation, music and sound design for animation, and remixes of existing vocal tracks. Supporting topics include advanced real-time control of synthesis parameters, manipulation of musical time and tempo, and effectively working with various rhythmic feels. Special attention will be paid to integrating hardware instruments and controllers in a software-based DAW production environment.
Advanced Sound Design Techniques
This advanced course expands upon the concepts and techniques learned in EP-223 Modular Functions and Signal Flow. Concentrated ear training and pitch dictation helps students to identify and create unusual and dynamic instrumental sounds and sound effects, and their applications in live performance, film, electronic music production, and video game audio.
Interactive Media Portfolio
This course is a portfolio development workshop focusing on interactive media. Weekly assignments will build fluency in file formats, encoding tools, and authoring platforms. Through successful completion of these projects, students will become adept in the basics of video preparation, audio for online and DVD formats, and Flash interface design.
Indian Music Concepts in Electronic Production
A creative study of the musical aesthetics involved with composing and arranging in a wide range of popular Indian musical genres, including pop songs, remix hits, and classical forms. Utilizing a variety of electronic programming and production techniques, students will complete a series of guided projects that effectively demonstrate the contemporary application of Indian ragas, musical instrumentation, and popular stylistic repertoire.
Mapping and Curves in Sonic Arts
A global study of curves, graphic displays, and mapping techniques that undergird practical use of electronic sound production systems. Focuses on aural and visual aids to understanding rather than taking a purely mathematical approach. Topics include principles of linearity and nonlinearity in: relationships and functions; input responses and attenuator calibrations; pitch vs. frequency shifting; AM and FM sideband production; and envelope generator segment curves. Creative mapping using logic gates (AND, OR, NOR, etc.) is introduced. Graphic displays in selected software applications are examined to reveal the curves implicit when waveform and spectrum are represented. This course presents the pervasive graphical-mathematical elements common to digital audio applications and their displays, and facilitates advanced studies in sonic arts.