For Monday, February 14, 2005

Listen to the following works:
Come Out -Steve Reich -AMC CD0829
Projection Esemplastic - Joji Yuasa - AMC CD3165
The Vanity of Words - Roger Reynolds - AMC CD2763
I am sitting in a room - Alvin Lucier - AMC CD2281
Study No. 21 for Player Piano (MIDI file) - Conlon Nancarrow

Begin devising a formal compositional system for your next project, and do some experiments using that system. Refine your formal system on the basis of your experiments.

For Monday, February 7, 2005

Get a key to the Gassmann Studio from Arts Facilities Manager Tony Marques, in the Arts Dean's Office, MAB 2nd floor. Since he is often obliged to be out of his office, you might want to call him before going to his office. His number is x8346.

NOTE: Do not try to enter the Gassmann Studio until you have received an email from the professor telling you that your alarm code has been activated.

Read the online article on algorithmic composition by Kristine Burns.

Read "Algorithmic Composition Systems", part 5, chapter 18 (pp. 819-852) of The Computer Music Tutorial by Curtis Roads, available in the reference section of the Arts Media Center.

Listen to the pieces "Entropy" and "Degueudoudeloupe" on the CD Artful Devices by Christopher Dobrian, available in the Arts Media Center.

There are many more examples of, and writings about, algorithmic composition available. Do a Google search and spend some time browsing the web to get some idea of the work that has been done in this field.

For Wednesday, February 2, 2005

Turn in a CD of your completed first composition project. Your CD should of course have your name on it, and should be accompanied by a written description of your concepts, aims, techniques, and procedures.

This class session will be held in the the Gassmann Studio, Room 20 of the Mesa Office Building (not the Mesa Administration Building). The class will be divided into two 40-minute sessions, in order to accommodate the students in two groups. If your last name begins with the letters A-L, please come to the first session, 10:30-11:10; if your last name begins with the letter M-Z, please come to the second session, 11:10-11:50.

For Monday, January 24, 2005

Continue composing, working with the idea of a time grid as discussed in class on 1/19. Think of how different sound components (i.e. different tracks) can work together (fill in each other's gaps, etc.) to create an interesting composite rhythm and sound. Your composition need not necessarily use the same sound elements as popular music (drums, bass, guitars, vocals, keyboards, etc.), but should borrow the ideas of construction discussed in class. You may hand in your work in progress on a CD if you want comments from the professor and TA, but you are not required to do so for this date.

If you have not already done so, complete the listening and analysis that was assigned for 1/19. Incorporate what you learn from that into your own composition.

Due Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Begin composing using primarily the technique of editing and collage, using ProTools or comparable audio editing software such as Digital Performer or the free program Audacity. Feel free to explore and experiment with mixing, audio processing, and effects plug-ins in order to create novel sounds. For purposes of this assignment, try editing in such a way as to create a steady "groove" (a rhythmic "feel" based on a steady underlying tempo). You could use several tracks in combination to create this composite groove, if appropriate. This groove can in turn form the rhythmic underpinning of your composition as you add more component layers (more tracks).

Your source material can be sound that you record yourself, or sound that you obtain pre-recorded (giving due credit to the originator of the sound, of course). To establish a groove, you could consider using an existing beat upon which you build a "remix", or snippet of rhythmic material which you use in a loop; however, I encourage you to try building your own groove by arranging distinctive individual sounds in the editing software, rather than simply appropriating an existing groove. Both methods are common practice in contemporary popular music, but I think you learn more about composition by building your own rhythmic ideas. That's not to say that you shouldn't be a "groove bandit" and get inspiration and ideas from existing good grooves; but that's different from (and in my opinion more fruitful than) simply being a "groove pirate" and using someone else's material.

Bring your results to class on an audio CD labeled with your name that you are willing to turn in. (Don't turn in your only copy of your work. Back up all your good work in multiple places.)

I have placed an audio CD on reserve under the name Dobrian in the AMC. It contains several tunes that I think serve as good models of song construction with interesting (in most cases computer-aided) grooves. Listen to the songs on the CD, compare and analyze their construction, and come to class with observations and analyses of at least one or two of these songs.

Due Monday, January 10, 2005

Watch TV. (What an assignment!) No, I mean really watch it. Note how video and audio editing is used to create a sense of pace, progress, and form, and note the relationships between music and dialog. Especially watch the commercials. Make some concise observations about the types of 30-second formal structures used, and about the pacing and ordering of audio and video components of the commercials. Take notes (literally), formulate concepts or theories about what you've observed, and be prepared to discuss your discoveries in class.

Christopher Dobrian
Feberuary 10, 2005