Music 51
Music Technology and Computers

University of California, Irvine


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

For Wednesday December 5, 2007:

Turn in your second project, composed in Garage Band, on a CD-R of data files. The CD should contain a) the audio file (in .wav, .aif, or .mp3 format) of your finished composition (created with the "Export to iTunes" command in Garage Band), b) the Garage Band project file you used to create it, c) a brief text description (in .doc, .rtf, .pdf, or .txt format) of your work: one-to-two pages describing your conceptual and aesthetic intentions and your technical working procedure (what you were trying to do and how you did it), and d) any other files that might be needed to see how you composed the project.

The project should be a short composition (approximately 2 minutes in duration) made using Garage Band. It may be any combination of musique concrète, MIDI synthesis, and provided Garage Band loops. Emphasis should be on getting the precise sound you desire, by editing sounds and/or loops and/or MIDI data carefully, applying effects to get the sound you want, and making sure that the volume and panning settings are as you want them for every sound. The project will be graded not on musical ability in the traditional sense, but on the evidence of thought, care, and effort that went into the construction of the musical form and the individual sounds.

Review all material for the quarter -- sound examples, readings, and class notes -- in preparation for the final exam review.

For Wednesday November 28, 2007:

Collect source sound materials for, and plan the over-all formal structure of, your second composition project (using Garage Band). Begin composing/constructing your piece in Garage Band. Come to class with work-in-progress to discuss (plans, sketches, or sound examples), or at least with specific questions about how you can best realize your goals in the software.

Read the essay on Music Programming by Christopher Dobrian.

Read the short essay on the homepage of professor David Cope's website on "Experiments in Musical Intelligence".

Read about and try out Mozart's Musikalische Würfelspiele (Musical Dice Game).

Read "Computing Machinery and Intelligence" by Alan Turing.

Listen to the musical examples from the November 19 class session: "The Magician", "The Robots", "Chase", "I Feel Love", "Naughty Girl", "Crawling", "Fight the Power", "Undisputed (with Chuck D)", and "This Is Rob Swift".

For Monday November 19, 2007:

Read Plunderphonics, or Audio Piracy as a Compositional Prerogative by John Oswald.

Begin using the Garage Band software (available in the Arts Media Center, the Arts Lab, and the Arts TEC) to familiarize yourself with its audio editing and MIDI features, so that you can ask questions about it in class.

For Wednesday November 14, 2007:

In preparation for the guest lecture by Benjamin Israel, visit the websites describing the Yamaha Corporation's line of synthesizers and music software products.

In preparation for your next project, read about Apple's GarageBand software for audio recording and production. Note that the site also provides a series of video tutorials on the features and usage of GarageBand.

For Wednesday November 7, 2007:

Turn in, on a CD-ROM bearing your name, your completed musique concrète composition project. The CD-ROM should contain informatively-named files of 1) your completed composition (in AIF or WAV) format, 2) the Audacity project file you used to compose it, 3) all source sound files necessary to recreate the composition in Audacity, and 4) a text description of your work: one-to-two pages describing your conceptual and aesthetic intentions and your working procedure (what you were trying to do and how you did it), in .txt, .doc, .rtf, or .pdf format.

Study for the midterm exam by reviewing all past lecture notes, readings, and listenings.

For Wednesday October 31, 2007:

Continue working on your musique concrète composition for November 7, and come to class prepared to ask any questions you may have. It is strongly encouraged to bring work-in-progress to class (or better yet, "finished" work!) on this day for discussion. If you want to get comments on your work, bring your files -- ideally both the original source sound files and your Audacity project file(s) -- on either CD-ROM or USB thumb drive.

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.)

Read about the experiments on loudness perception carried out by Fletcher-Munson and Robinson-Dadson. The curves show how much (in most cases, additional) amplitude is required for different frequencies to sound equally loud to a 1000 Hz reference tone. To test your understanding, see if you can summarize the experimental results in a few sentences. (You're not required to hand this in, but the exercise will solidify your understanding.)

To reinforce your understanding of the explanation given in class on Pythagorean and equal-tempered tuning of musical pitches, it is suggested to read the Wikipedia articles on harmonic series (music), and musical tuning.

For Wednesday October 24, 2007:

Collect (by recording or otherwise acquiring) digital files (in WAV or AIF format) of sound materials that you think you will want to include in your musique concrète composition project, due November 7. Begin to organize those sounds, decide how you will want to use them over the course of an approximately one-to-two-minute time span of your composition, and begin trying to achieve the composite sounds you desire in Audacity.

On October 24 class will consist of a) a lecture at 5:00 in Winifred Smith Hall (the 12:00 lecture is optional, but might be of interest), and b) a concert at 8:00 in Winifred Smith Hall. You are expected to attend both events.

Visit the website of Laetitia Sonami and read about (and listen to) her work.

Listen to Sonami's composition Story Road, 1992.

Listen to the musical examples from the October 17 class session: "Valse sentimentale" and "Forbidden Planet". For an example of the use of the ARP synthesizer in rock music, listen to "Baba O'Riley". For an additional example of musique concrète, listen to "Revolution No. 9". For an example of the use of electronic oscillators with a novel tuning system (microtonal clusters of tones resembling filtered noise), listen to "Studie II".

For Wednesday October 17, 2007:

Download and familiarize yourself with the Audacity audio editing/processing software. If you do not have your own computer, you can use this software at the Arts Media Center or the Arts TEC lab, or any of the NACS drop-in labs.

Read the following article:
Varèse, Edgard. The Liberation of Sound. (1936, 1939, 1959, 1962) (Note: This article is accessible from the UCI campus local area network, or remotely using VPNClient software. You can access a text-only version of the article elsewhere on the web.)

On the web page about 120 Years of Electronic Music, read about the following musical instruments: The Telharmonium, The Intonarumori, The Theremin, The Ondes-Martenot, The RCA Synthesizer, and the The Moog Synthesizers.

Listen to the musical examples from the October 10 class session: "Ballet mécanique" and "Ionisation".

For Wednesday October 10, 2007:

Read the following articles:

Russolo, Luigi. The Art of Noises. (1913)
Cage, John. The Future of Music: Credo. (1937)
Cage, John. Experimental Music. (1957)
Dobrian, Christopher. Digital Audio. (1997)

Listen to the musical examples from the October 3 class session: "Williams Mix", "Veni, Emmanuel", "AriAri", "African Cyborg", and "Etude aux chemins de fer".

November 23, 2007
Christopher Dobrian