This course covers advanced sequencing and orchestration techniques in the electronic and hybrid realms of production for acoustic ensembles. Its main purpose is to expose and guide students to writing and production of polished and high-quality original compositions for small to large acoustic ensembles through the use of advanced sequencing techniques and electronic tools. Through a detailed survey and hands-on practice of the major software orchestral libraries, the course integrates all the techniques involved in creating electronic and hybrid polished productions for rhythm section, small ensemble, big band, and studio orchestra. Content includes advanced sequencing techniques such as groove quantization, layering, tempo variations, advanced use of MIDI control changes, and alternate MIDI controllers. The students will learn multilayering of acoustic and electronic instruments; translation into the electronic realm of phrasing, articulations, and performance-related markings; controlled detuning; and horizontal/vertical timbre variation. In addition, through a series of original writing assignments for large ensembles and rhythm section, the course will focus on merging the gap between the composition stage and the final electronic production by covering the mixing stage of the hybrid production process focusing in particular on multireverb placement and variable equalization.
Exploration of techniques of writing for each orchestral instrument and for various combinations of instruments, unusual orchestral instruments, and special effects many instruments can create. Principles of combining and balancing instruments; comparison between the live orchestral situation and the recording studio environment. Incorporation of ethnic instruments into orchestration; application of orchestral instruments to contemporary settings and styles. Overview of the development of the modern symphonic orchestra and the full orchestra as used in film scores. Live demonstrations of instruments; score listening and analysis.
A study of the creative, technical, production, and business aspects of writing music for visual media, primarily television commercials. Content includes the creative process: reacting to emotion and mood of visuals, supporting the picture with appropriate music, stylistic considerations, compressing/expanding musical ideas, and hitting visual cues. Production aspects include various approaches to shaping the musical product to support the creative direction that has been chosen or provided. Exploration of sound design (incorporation of sound effects into music tracks) and technical aspects of timings, film editing influences, frame-counting, and synchronization. Business aspects: working with producers and directors, taking direction, selling ideas, and general and contractual obligations that modify the creative process. Various projects and assignments in writing music in different moods, styles, and lengths, that support and enhance visuals. Most creative work will be realized at MIDI workstations using a MIDI sequencing program and video software; students must have a strong working knowledge of MIDI systems and sequencing programs.
This course has two purposes: first, to provide the student with the necessary synthesis, sound design, and electronic creative tools to be competitive in the contemporary writing industry; and second, to enhance and further develop the student's compositional skills in a variety of contemporary music styles with a particular emphasis on electronic genres. Through a detailed and thorough hands-on experience the students will begin studying the basic concepts of analog synthesis, moving on to advanced synthesis techniques such as FM, sampling and physical modeling, all the way up to the most advanced sound design and sound shaping techniques. The course will cover processing methods and effects (such as loop creation/editing/slicing, creative use of EQ, delay, compression and convolution reverbs, etc.) targeted specifically to enhance and improve the production of contemporary electronic music. Topics will be contextualized with references to specific contemporary music styles and trends and practically applied by the student to originally composed projects that feature different electronic styles and techniques. Using these concepts and techniques the students will create original compositions based mainly on sounds they have programmed and designed themselves, and by the end of the course they will have an original sound library at their disposal.
This course covers advanced creative, technical, production, and business aspects of writing for music and media libraries. Its main purpose is to expose and train students to be proficient in writing and producing for a variety of media-related music libraries through style-specific assignments and scenarios. The course focuses on writing genre-specific music cues for reality shows, soap operas, talk/variety shows, documentaries, title sequences, infomercials, and web media such as miniseries, web advertising, and web-based tutorials. Students are guided through a thorough analysis and critique of each style and individual original writing assignments based on real case examples. For each style students master the creative process, library-specific production techniques, how to support different moods with appropriate music, how to communicate with media producers, and how to develop original material inside the boundaries set by the style and by the production team. This course focuses on how to compose and produce mood-based music libraries and cues that are not written to a specific picture. Each assignment is critiqued, assessed, and revised according to creative directions and style specific production guidelines. Discussions of business aspects include working with music libraries producers and companies, demo preparation, positive and quick response to feedback and comments from the music library producer and licensing scenarios. Through various projects students will have frequent opportunities to write music in different moods, styles, and lengths. Students must have a strong working knowledge and experience with hybrid production techniques and with MIDI systems and sequencing programs.
Monitored and evaluated professional work experience in an environment related to the contemporary writing and production major. Placement is limited to situations available from or approved by the Office of Experiential Learning and the Contemporary Writing and Production Department chair or designee. To apply for an internship, students must see the internship coordinator in the Office of Experiential Learning prior to registering. Note: Equivalent credit for prior experience is not available due to the requirement of concurrent contract between the employer/supervisor and the college.International students in F-1 status must obtain authorization on their Form I-20 from the Counseling and Advising Center prior to beginning an internship.
As part of the contemporary writing and production concentrate requirements, this proficiency must be completed in order to graduate. Information can be obtained from the department chair.
Individualized instruction designed to guide students majoring in contemporary writing and production in the preparation of their graduation projects. Students will be allowed to schedule time in the Professional Writing Division MIDI Lab to meet the portfolio requirements. For more information, please see https://www.berklee.edu/node/2212146.
A non-credit, tuition-free marker course in which Contemporary Writing & Production majors must enroll in the semester during which they plan to submit their required portfolio to the department chair. A mark of of P (Pass) is awarded when the portfolio receives a positive evaluation.
This course examines the folkloric music from Latin America that informs today's contemporary music. Topics include traditional musical styles, forms, instrumentation, arranging techniques, melody, and harmony. Folkloric music from the following countries is studied: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela. The course focuses on applications of these styles in contemporary arranging and composition.
This course examines the concepts and techniques of writing flamenco music, which is a vital and growing genre in contemporary music. The course covers the origins of the various styles of flamenco, their individual influences, primary composers of flamenco, overview of popular lyrics, and common composition and arranging techniques in flamenco styles. Students will investigate the various aspects of writing flamenco music: use of improvised structure; binary, ternary, and polyrhythm rhythmic styles; traditional harmonic approaches and concepts; melodic approaches; and the use of microtones. A variety of compositions, arrangements, and orchestrations will be analyzed, including examples of contemporary compositions and new stylistic variations in flamenco that feature the use of electronics and flamenco without guitar. Students will create compositions and/or arrangements for a flamenco music ensemble.
An advanced study of writing in a variety of Latin styles, including modern and traditional orchestration concepts, style-specific aspects of form and structure, score analysis, score and part preparation, and production tips that will give the composer, arranger, or orchestrator the proper tools to get the best results either in the studio or in a live performance. Styles covered include mambo, guaguancó, bomba, timba, bolero, danzón, tango reggae, samba, and partido alto. Students will create arrangements of existing works and original pieces for a variety of ensembles of different sizes and instrumentation.