Music 147
Digital Music Production

University of California, Irvine


Assignments are posted here for the immediately upcoming class session and all past class sessions.

For Wednesday July 30, 2008:

Turn in a data CD-R with a) your entire Digital Performer project folder, including your Performer file and all audio files used in the project, b) your source audio files, if applicable, c) a stereo AIFF or WAVE file containing the final mix of your project, and d) an MP3 file containing the final mix of your project. You may also include a brief text description of what you were trying to accomplish and what techniques you used to accomplish your goals. (This is optional, but will help the professor evaluate your work.)

Digital Performer is capable of bouncing a mix file in MP3 format only if the proper extensions have been installed for the application. If the computer you are using is not set up properly for MP3 file creation by Digital Performer, you can use iTunes to convert your AIFF or WAVE mix file to MP3 format.

The CD and important files such as your final stereo mix file should be named in such a way as to indicate clearly what the files are (and whose they are). For example, "Jane Doe's Final Project CD" is a more informative name than "Untitled CD", and "Jane Doe's Final Stereo Mix.aif" is a more informative name than "New File.aif".

Tuesday July 29, 2008:

No class session.

For Monday July 28, 2008:

Study all of your readings, lecture notes, and review session notes in preparation for the final exam, which will be administered Monday July 28, 2008 at 11:10 am.

For Friday July 25, 2008:

Turn in your "rough draft" or "work-in-progress" of your final project, in the form of a full Digital Performer project folder on a data CD-R. You may also include on the CD a bounced stereo audio file of your rough mix up to that point, to show how you envision the the final mix sounding, and/or a written description of how you intend to complete the piece.

For Thursday July 24, 2008:

Study your notes of all of the past lectures and assignments up to this point, in preparation for a "pre-final" exam.

For Monday July 21, 2008:

Using Digital Performer in the Mac Room, create instrument tracks and associated MIDI tracks, and explore the available sounds. When creating an instrument track, choose a virtual instrument -- Proton, PolySynth, NonoSampler, Modulo, BassLine, or Model12 -- and assign the track to a stereo output. Then create a MIDI track and assign its MIDI output to the instrument track. In the instrument's window's pop-up menu, choose a preset and play some notes on the MIDI keyboard. (Try notes in different ranges, which might produce very different sounds.) Choose many different preset sounds (and try more than one different instrument) and try to find sounds you think are musically useful and evocative. Make a note of these, and/or save tracks with them, so you can easily recall them later. Think about what kinds of music the sounds evoke, and how you might use them in your own music.

For Friday July 11, 2008:

Using Digital Performer in the Mac Room, compose a 30-to-60-second audio collage using pre-recorded audio files. It can be meterless/beatless or you can use the metric grid to impose a beat. The primary goal of this assignment is to become familiar with Digital Performer -- importing audio, placing soundbites (with or without the snap-to-grid feature), editing to create new soundbites (portions captured from existing soundbites), automating volume and panning (either by drawing breakpoint line segments in the edit window or by recording automation of realtime adjustments with the mouse), and as time permits experimenting with audio effects (you can create new effects-processed versions of a soundbite by duplicating it and imposing effects, and/or by using plug-ins via inserts or auxiliary outputs/inputs). The best way to gain familiarity with the program is just to use it, trying to get the exact sounds, rhythmic placement, volume balance, and panning that your desire, and of course by (gasp!) consulting the help documentation as needed.

Turn in your finished composition on a data CD with your name on it, containing both a) a complete DP project folder of your project, b) an audio file of your final "bounced" composition. Please name the files in such a way as to indicate clearly what they are.

For Thursday July 10, 2008:

Read the Shure Educational Publication on Microphone Techniques for Live Sound Reinforcement (PDF file). Read at least pages 1-11, and more if you're interested. (This article contains quite a lot of useful information, fairly clearly explained. If you plan to record, you might also be interested in pp. 32-33 discussing microphone placement.)

For Wednesday July 9, 2008:

Read the Soundcraft Guide to Mixing, an instructional brochure available online as a PDF document, to reinforce your understanding of the explanation given in class. Read at least pages 3-7, and more if you're interested. There is a lot of useful information in this brochure, fairly clearly explained. You might find particularly useful section 3 (pp. 10-16) on Mixing Techniques and Section 6 G-J (pp. 28-30) on techniques In the Studio.

For Tuesday July 8, 2008:

Read the following articles in support of your work in Digital Performer:

For Monday July 7, 2008:

Analyze a few television commercials (on TV or YouTube) for their composition. (TV ads are some of the most highly produced video clips you will see, in terms of $$ spent per second of video.) Notice the pacing and organization of the video editing and the content, and the balance and relationship of voice, sound effects, and music. In terms of pacing, editing, and sound, are Japanese commercials different from American ones? If you make any interesting observations, post a link to the video (if possible) and a comment about what you observed on the class NoteBoard.

Collect potential source sounds for a musique concrète composition. For now you should obtain the sounds from the Web; later we will record sounds ourselves. Any sounds you can find are legitimate for use in this assignment; however, if they are copyrighted, you must attribute credit to the "author" and cite the source of those sounds. You can register at to obtain download access to the many sound files there.

Listen to some classic examples of musique concrète: Etude aux chemins de fer by Pierre Schaeffer, Poème électronique by Edgard Varèse, and Revolution 9 by The Beatles. These are available as streamed audio files on the listenings page. If you make any interesting observations, post your comments about what you observed on the class NoteBoard.

For Friday July 4, 2008:

Read the article Dobrian, Christopher. Digital Audio. (1997). Come to class with specific questions regarding topics, (italicized) terms, or concepts discussed in the article that are unclear to you.

July 26, 2008
Christopher Dobrian