Music 215 - Music Technology

University of California, Irvine

The Subject

This course is a graduate seminar focusing on the role of advanced digital technology in new music.

Computers are ubiquitous in music and the arts today. The audio signal from a microphone is immediately converted to a stream of numbers which can be altered by any mathematical or algorithmic means. These numerical manipulations can be carried out in non-real time, encompassing all the normal operations of post-production -- editing, mixing, processing, and mastering -- as well as many of the practices of composition -- algorithmic compositional systems, notation, sound synthesis, and integration with visual media. In live performance sounds can be digitally altered in real time, alternative instruments can send digital control information to synthesis software and hardware, and performers can use computers to juxtapose any combination of sounds and multimedia. Thus it's clear that computers are now fully integrated in modern musical practice, new genres and aesthetics have arisen, and the range of computer applications is vast.

In this seminar students will choose particular areas of computer music in which they want to develop their expertise. Each student will be responsible for educating him/herself in their area(s) of primary interest, and will teach what they have learned to the other seminar members on a regular basis. Students will also delve into the repertoire and analysis of computer music works and the aesthetic discourses of digital media arts. Topics will be extended from the previous quarter's Music 215 course and/or will branch out to new areas, including (but not limited to):

The Format

Class time will be more-or-less equally divided between professor-led introduction of specific topics/techniques of computer music, student-led presentations of ongoing research and musical work, and discussion of readings and listenings.

Each student will be expected to present her/his research and work-in-progress three times during the quarter (approx. 30 minutes per presentation).

By the end of the quarter each student will have summarized her/his research in an article of 2000-3000 words approximately suitable as a journal article or conference presentation.

Each student will compose and present one complete work of technological music, roughly 7-10 minutes in duration, incorporating her/his research and technological studies, and dealing with well-defined aesthetic, technological, and compositional foci.

This page was last modified April 2, 2012.
Christopher Dobrian,