Music Technology and Computers

Music 51, Fall 2007

University of California, Irvine

Wednesday, 5:00-7:50
Music and Media 316

Professor Christopher Dobrian
Music and Media 211
Office hours by appointment


Course Description

A study of the influence of technology on the musical culture and aesthetics of America in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, with particular emphasis on the role of the computer. Work includes lectures, readings, listenings, discussions, demonstrations, writing, and experimentation.

Course Requirements

Course Topics


The topic of this course is inherently interdisciplinary, including music, physics, cognitive science, digital media, and computer science. Thus, instead of a single textbook, readings and listenings will be assigned from a wide variety of sources.

Some readings are available online, and others will be placed on reserve under the name Dobrian at the Arts Media Center or, occasionally, at Reserve Services in the Langson Library. Reserve materials may be read in the library where they are held, or may be xeroxed (as covered under fair use statutes) for reading elsewhere.

Some listenings are available online as streamed audio files, and others will be placed on reserve at the Arts Media Center. Unlicensed duplication of digital audio files for personal use is illegal.


For additional consultation with the professor, you can make an appointment for office hours by speaking with the professor before or after class. You can also contact the professor by email.

For announcements or questions to/from your classmates, it is suggested that you use (and check regularly) the class NoteBoard.

There is a class email address, which addresses all registered students and the professor. This email is moderated by (i.e., must be approved and forwarded by) the professor, and thus should generally be used only for information that will definitely be of interest to all in the class, and that you want to be sure they receive. The NoteBoard is generally a less obtrusive way to provide information to colleagues in the class, but of course there's no way to know exactly when and by whom a NoteBoard post will be read.

Assignments are posted online for the next class session.

Special Events and Noteworthy Dates

October 4, Thursday, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon, Music and Media 216 (optional event): Presentation by music producer and sound artist Martyn Ware, regarding his work with audio spatialization. Sponsored by the UCI Drama Department program in Sound Design.

October 24, Wednesday, 5:00-6:20 p.m., Winfred Smith Hall: Presentation by composer/performer and sound artist Laetitia Sonami, regarding her work in live computer music and multimedia performance. Sponsored by the Gassmann Electronic Music Studio. (This will serve as the first half of class on that day. There will then be a break from 6:20-8:00 p.m.; the second half of the class is the concert that follows at 8:00.)

October 24, Wednesday, 8:00-10:00 p.m., Winifred Smith Hall: Concert of live digital multimedia performance by Laetitia Sonami and Sue Costabile. Sponsored by the Gassmann Electronic Music Studio.

November 7, Wednesday, in class: Midterm exam. First recording project due.

Wednesday, November 14, 5:00-6:20 p.m., Music and Media 316: "Making Waves: Research and Development in the Commercial Music Industry", a presentation by Benjamin Israel (UCI MFA alumnus in Composition and Technology), Research and Development Supervisor for Content R&D at Yamaha Corporation of America. Sponsored by the Gassmann Electronic Music Studio. (This will serve as the first half of class on that day. The second half of the class will be held as normal from 6:30-7:50.)

Monday, November 19, 5:00-7:50 p.m., Music and Media 316: The class normally scheduled for Wednesday November 21 has been rescheduled to this substitute date.

December 5, Wednesday, in class: Second recorded project due.

December 12, Wednesday, 10:30 a.m-12:30 p.m., Music and Media 316: Final Exam.

Final Exam

December 12, Wednesday, 10:30 a.m-12:30 p.m., Music and Media 316.

Regarding Academic Integrity:

Collaboration between students in this course is strongly encouraged. Students are urged to exchange ideas, opinions, and information constantly, and to help each other with the composition of their technical/creative projects. However, plagiarism of any kind is in direct violation of University policy on Academic Honesty, and penalties for plagiarism can be severe. In this class you will be expected to attribute due credit to the originator of any ideas, words, or music that you incorporate into your own work.

October 3, 2007
Christopher Dobrian