Introduction to Electronic Music
This hands-on course will serve as an introduction to music technology and will focus on the creation of original work, including a final project, through the use of digital and analog tools and processes. Students will be introduced to foundational practices in electro-acoustic sound production and their contemporary/digital analogues, with particular emphasis on signal processing, studio and field recording, and modes of diffusion, including multichannel installation and live performance, and instruction in digital audio workstation software (Logic Pro, Pro Tools, and others). Examples from the history of electronic music will assist students in exploring contemporary approaches to electronic music software and technology. Enrollment in the course automatically gives students access to the Bard electronic music studios.
Topics in Music Software: Introduction to MAX/MSP
This course will introduce students to Max/Msp, an object-oriented programming environment for real-time audio processing, digital synthesis, algorithmic composition, data sonification, and more. Students will learn fundamental concepts of digital audio and computer programming while engaging in creative projects and in-class performances. The class will include examples of Max patches found in major works of 20/21st century electroacoustic music and sound art repertoire. The course will also explore connectivity between Max and other software applications, including Max4Live. The course will conclude with a final project. Introduction to Electronic Music, or a 100-level course in Computer Science, is recommended as a prerequisite.
Topics in Music Production: Electronic Music in Live Performance
This seminar will address technical, practical, and critical considerations of live performance with electronic instruments. Students will learn techniques essential for live electronic performance through hands-on tutorials with common mixing consoles, speaker arrays, microphones, and audio interfaces. Using these techniques, students will develop new live electronic compositions and improvisations. Through peer response, students will refine their compositional ideas, while evaluating the technical strategies of their performance. Students will strive to develop a creative practice that matches musical ideas with possible technical realizations. The course will include weekly composition projects, reading and listening assignments, a midterm essay, and a final portfolio. Introduction to Electronic Music is required as a pre- requisite. The class is designed for upper-level electronic music and sound majors, but also available to other qualified students interested in electronic music performance.
Electronic, Electroacoustic, and Computer Composition
This course, intended primarily for music majors, will be focused on the individual creative work of the students enrolled. The course will serve as a workshop environment for student work: participants will be expected to regularly present and discuss their ongoing compositional projects. These will be examined by the instructor and other class members. Students may also take on collaborative works, installations, and intermedia projects. Analyses and class presentations of contemporary electroacoustic repertoire will also be expected of the students during the semester. This fulfills a music theory requirement.
History of Electronic Music
In the 1920’s, a number of new electronic instruments such as the Theremin, the Ondes Martenot, and the Trautonium were invented, and a number of composers, including Hindemith and Messiaen, composed new works for them. After the invention of magnetic recording tape in the late 40’s electronic music became an enterprise that was produced in special studios and fixed on tape for later playback. Starting around 1960, John Cage and David Tudor began experimental performances with such works as Cartridge Music (1960), Variations II and other pieces that reintroduced the live performer to the electronic medium. Many composers, such as Mumma, Behrman, Lucier, Ashley, Stockhausen, Nono, and Boulez, as well as collective improvisationally-based groups such as AMM Music in London, and Musica Elettronica Viva in Rome soon followed suit. During the 60’s and 70’s, with the advent of smaller and the more personal synthesizers invented by Moog, Buchla and others, the field of live electronic music became a practical reality. Some ten years later, a similar sequence of events took place with regard to computer music, where the large mainframes of the 50’s and 60’s were superseded by the PC revolution of the late 70’s and 80’s. This was followed by the more recent development of the laptop that has enabled performers to carry powerful, portable computers on stage. This course will trace these developments, examine the literature of the field, encourage live performances of “classic” pieces, and the creation and performance of new compositions and improvisations. It is strongly recommended that this course be taken in conjunction with Electro-Acoustic Ensemble. This course counts towards the music history requirement for music majors.
Topics in Sound Art
Coined in the early 1980s, “Sound Art” is a term typically used to describe sound-based art that does not follow the rules of traditional music (melody, harmony, gesture, etc.) by focusing on the physical characteristics of sound, experimental methods, and human perception. Since the early 1980s, artists working with sound have expanded the practice in limitless conceptual and technological directions and the field’s growth continues in the present day. The course will examine the disparate and prominent approaches to contemporary sound art, with a particular focus on composers who are active today. Classes will consist primarily of hands-on performances of existing major works and original student compositions; grading will be based on class participation, weekly composition and listening assignments, and an end-of-semester final project. A public class concert may be included, as well with sufficient student interest. No previous musical skill or ability is required.
Production & Reproduction
This course will focus on the theory and practice of sound recording. Students will learn the use of recording equipment including digital tape recorders, mixing consoles, signal processing devices, and microphones. A/B listening tests will be used to compare types of microphones, microphone placement and many different recording techniques. ProTools software will be available for digital editing and mastering to CD. Assigned projects will include both multitrack and direct to stereo recordings of studio and concert performances.