Courses will be taught in the following tracks:
- Electronic music production
- Electronic performance
- Sound design
- Game audio, including audio for virtual reality (VR) and 360 formats
Individual courses include:
Cloning a Dinosaur: One of the most famous pieces of computer music was composed in 1979 by Richard Boulanger at the MIT Media Lab. It is called “Trapped in Convert.” Today, some consider it to be a classic while others have referred to it as a “dinosaur.” That old dinosaur will be brought back to life in the form of a new Eurorack module called the Qu-Bit Nebulae. Boulanger will render the classic in real-time and then clone dozens of new, live dinosaurs on a modular system that contains several Nebulae modules, and project them on eight channels. Drop in and immerse yourself in Boulanger’s audio jungle as his sonic creatures creep, prowl, and chase each other around you.
Producing EDM with Ableton Live: This session will focus on EDM production techniques using Ableton Live. Rishabh Rajan will break down a Future Bass track, showcasing all the compositional elements and production techniques that went into creating the piece. Popular EDM production techniques such as side-chain compression, vocal slicing, synth wobbles, quintuplet and septuplet swing grooves, Supersaw synths, and vocal layering/tuning will be demonstrated using Live’s built-in tools and processors.
Creative Sound Design Techniques: In this workshop, we will explore some tools for creative sound design in music productions as well as visual media. Using LogicPro as the DAW platform, we will look at sound design techniques using convolution, time stretching, pitch shifting, and granulation. Participants will work at individual computer stations and have hands-on time with Logic Pro to explore the ideas presented in the workshop.
Sound Design and Csound: Csound is arguably the most powerful synthesis and signal processing software in the world, and it's free. Developed at the MIT Media Lab, it's used in research and product development, and serves as the foundation of graduate curriculum around the world. Further, it is under the hood in many iPad apps, VST and Live plug-in libraries, and computer games. Today, Csound is the core technology in one of the most powerful and versatile Eurorack modules: the Qu-Bit Nebulae. Check out all the ways you could be working with Csound (like making your own iPad apps). Get started designing and programing your own synths and effects using this powerful language from the man who wrote the book.
Sampling Workshop 1: Sampling is a key part of a establishing a voice as an electronic producer. While there are numerous sample libraries available, developing a unique set of sampled instruments will help you define the kinds of sounds that will make your work unique. Any sound, from the human voice to toys and even vintage electronic instruments, can be used to make sampled instruments. In this workshop, you will learn how to record your own samples in a professional recording environment. Participants are encouraged to bring USB sticks to take the samples recorded in this session with them.
Sampling Workshop 2: The art of sampling is much more than just recording and playing back sounds. You will learn how to effectively design sampled instruments using the sounds recorded in the earlier recording workshop. Using various types of instruments in Ableton Live, students will learn about key mapping, layering, velocity control, and other common sound design techniques. Participants are encouraged to bring USB sticks to take the Ableton Live Project files created in this session for further experimentation and use in their own projects.
Sound Design with Modular Synthesizers: Sound synthesis is at the heart of electronic music. While there are many different synthesis techniques, subtractive synthesis is the foundation for understanding how most synthesizers work. In this session, we’ll explore basic sound synthesis techniques using Eurorack modular synthesizer systems. Modular synthesizers have increasingly become part of the savvy artist/producer's arsenal. In the past few years, a legion of boutique manufacturers have embraced the Eurorack modular synthesizer format, offering an amazing variety of bold new designs that bridge the gap between analog voltage control and digital synthesizers. In this hands-on workshop, you’ll learn how to use a Eurorack modular system to create a variety of electronic sounds.
Electronic Music Mixing Techniques: In this workshop, we will look at some of the innovative techniques for mixing electronic music. Beyond basic EQ and dynamic processing, topics will include side-chaining, creative keying techniques, parallel compression, creative reverb and delays, pitch processing, and mix bus compression. Examples shown will be in LogicPro X, although these ideas and techniques are applicable to any DAW.
Creative DSP for Free: Learn about a powerful set of time-based and spectral audio processing tools that are open source and available for free. Bring your laptop to download and install a powerful collection of free digital signal processing software, and learn to use it creatively for unique sounds, effects, and textures in your own songs. Students should bring their own songs as well so that we can add magic to them.
Modular Synthesizer Performance Workshop: In Berklee’s modular synthesis lab, Richard Boulanger and Electronic Production and Design Department Chair Michael Bierylo will showcase some of their most exciting, powerful, and inspiring Eurorack modules. Together, they will strategize and improvise two live pieces. Boulanger and Bierylo will then invite students to join them on their personal modular systems to become part of a second version of each piece. Finally, students will pair up on the modular workstations in the room to make and modify patches of their own. Students will improvise and collaboratively compose a massive modular orchestral piece that will blow the walls off the room. Bring your iPhones, laptops, and recording gear; we plan to make some serious noise together.
An Introduction to Game Audio: This workshop will cover the evolution of audio for video games from both the historical and practical perspectives, from platforms such as the Atari 2600 to the latest game engines such as Unity and Unreal. Using examples from a number of pivotal games and technologies, students will be introduced to the specific challenges of creating audio for games and sound designing for interactive and immersive environments. We will start with the basics of game audio and the current tools used in the gaming industry to give students a complete overview of all the skills needed to produce sound for games.
Performing Live with Ableton Push: The Ableton Push is a powerful instrument for developing musical ideas from drumbeats and bass to chords and melody. This workshop will explore methods for creating and performing with Push, including real-time playing, step sequencing, clip launching, and effect processing. As part of the presentation, participants will have an opportunity to engage in an impromptu jam session using multiple Push devices set up at workstations.
Expressive Performance with MPE and the Roli Seaboard Rise: Musicians are always looking for ways to add expression to electronic performances, and the recent adoption of MIDI Polyphonic Expression (MPE) to the original MIDI specification adds a powerful new way to control sound in electronic music. The Roli Seaboard Rise, with its unique design, takes full advantage of MPE, and synthesizers such as Roli’s Equator and those in Logic Pro X provide an expanded range of sound control. This workshop will be a hands-on exploration of the Rise and some of the new types of expression available to electronic performers.
Introduction to Circuit-Bending: In Berklee’s maker space, we will build a simple synth on a breadboard using resistors, capacitors, a 555 integrated circuit, switches, buttons, potentiometers, photo cells, and LEDs. We will use LittleBits to snap together a Korg modular synth and record some of the sounds we design on our laptops. Using an Arduino, we will turn common objects such as coins, keys, and snack foods into MIDI controllers. We will take a look under the hood at a number of circuit-bent toys and listen to some music composed with them. Advice will be given on how to circuit-bend your own musical toys or synths, and transform them into strange and exotic new interactive synthesizers. In the end, you will have learned how to bring your old toys to life and make them a part of your new and truly modern-sounding music.
Sound Design for VR: This advanced synthesis session will focus on wavetable synthesis using Xfer Records Serum. A variety of sound design techniques will be explored using Serum. We will explore additive resynthesis, advanced modulation, FM, and also look at creating custom wavetables with the wavetable editor in Serum.
Sound Design in Electronic Dance Music: This session will focus on synthesis techniques for creating sounds using Native Instruments Massive. Subtractive and Wavetable synthesis techniques will be explored and implemented to design basses, leads, chords, and percussion sounds
Introduction to DJing: DJing as a profession offers both a creative and viable career for the aspiring musician. This session will examine the foundational steps involved with getting started in the field. Topics to be covered include types of DJs, music genres, equipment choices, music selection, vinyl and digital media formats, and self-promotion. Participants attending the presentation will have an opportunity to explore Berklee’s extensive record collection and try out basic performance techniques in Berklee’s DJ lab.
Composing and Performing with Ableton Live: This workshop is a lecture and demonstration on using Ableton Live for performance and improvisation. Topics covered include an overview of Ableton Live with focus on features for live performance; asset preparation, such as creating and editing sample clips and MIDI instruments; audio warping in Ableton Live; launching clips, such as live performance strategies with Ableton Live; signal processing; real-time control of clips and plugins in performance; MIDI controllers and MIDI synchronization; and integrating live instruments with Ableton Live.
New Ways to Play: In this session, we will jam with wiiMotes, P5Gloves, LeapMotions, and Theremins. We will use video color tracking and edge detection to explore new ways to play, manipulate, spatialize, and control sound. With software and hardware synthesizers today, we are creating amazing new sounds and textures. Shouldn’t we also design new ways to play them expressively and to freely move them in space? Come and find out how some new and adapted wireless performance technologies are leading to a new form of sonic expression and helping to create new forms of audio art. Let’s make and play new music in a new way.
Digital DJ Techniques: The craft of the DJ: whether playing at a house party, nightclub, or music festival, presenting an effective mix of recorded music for an audience remains the same. In addition to mixing, a well-executed DJ set might also feature a variety of enhanced performance techniques including scratching, sample triggering, and remixing. This session will provide an overview of essential skills involved with performing a DJ set, including beat-matching, mixing, and effect processing. Participants attending the presentation will have an opportunity to try out DJ techniques using the workstations in Berklee’s DJ lab.
Music of the Body and Mind: In this session, we will attach BioSensors to hardware and software synthesizers, and listen to the music inside of you. Monitor and map your brainwaves, heartbeats, and movements into melodies, harmonies, and rhythms.
Other opportunities include the following:
- Electronic Performance Controller Lab
- Modular Synthesizer Open Lab Time
- Turntable Open Lab Time
- Ableton Live Tutorial Sessions
- Electronic Performance Open Mic