Syllabus

Electronic Music

Instructor
Dr. Mark Snyder
msnyder@umw.edu
duPont 306
(540) 654-1959
Office Hours by appointment

Texts

Holmes, Thom. (2012). Electronic & Experimental Music: Technology, Music and Culture, 4th ed. New York, NY: Routledge.
(You can use the third edition from our library at your own risk but it does not have the recordings. If you’re broke you’re broke so do what needs to be done. Warning: Last year the Logic Book just disappeared for the semester and put many in a bind)


Additional Readings

Schrader, Barry (1982). Introduction to Electroacoustic Music. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. 

   (This is out of print but the pdf lives in canvas)

Huber, D. & Runstein, R. (2009). Modern Recording Techniques, 7th Ed. Oxford: Focal Press 

   (This can be found through the library online.)


Additional Materials

  • High Quality Headphones
  • Memory Stick/Hard Drive or some sort of storage device

Course Goals

Students taking this course will:

  • Explore the history of electronic music.
  • Create compositions using techniques that span the history of electronic music.
  • Learn about composers, instruments, trends & techniques in electronic music

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Identify and describe the different types of synthesis.
  • Recognize Compositional styles of important periods and composers.
  • Record and edit digital audio for creative purposes.

Class Participation & Attendance

Education is partially experiential and therefore class attendance is critical. This course is lecture/discussion, listening, applied techniques and a great deal of project based learning.

Absences and Excuses

Each student is directly responsible for absences and for making up missed work.

Assignment Descriptions

Homework

In addition to the readings and lab work, there are 10 graded homework assignments for Electronic Music. These consist of drafts that demonstrate your progress on the project. You will post these on http://electronicmusic.umwblogs.org each week and your posts will include evidence and integration of course readings. You will also be required to comment on each others drafts and projects.

Projects

There are 3 Projects that will demonstrate what you have learned about the techniques and aesthetics of electronic music. These will be completed and uploaded to the blog for grading and then published for class critique. 

Concerts

You will be required to produce two to three concerts this semester as a class. The times will be agreed upon in class by the students and they will be held in Pollard 304 or the Digital Auditorium. This is an experiential component and their is no grade per se since some of you may not be able to make it to all due to class or work conflicts. All students are expected to create a bio, program notes and help with making the programs, posters and publicity.

Tests

There are 3 tests that cover class lectures, techniques and the readings.

Critiques

Students are expected to participate in the critiques of the projects that occur when these projects are played in class. Failure to do so will lower the grade of your project. Critiques are designed to offer insights, suggestions for improvement, support to encourage you to improve your work. Each of you will provide an affective grade for each of final projects that is averaged in with my affective grade and feedback.

 In addition to the above requirements, participation will be measured against the following criteria:

    1. Contribute original thoughts or ideas to the critiques.
    2. Give relevant reasons to validate points.
    3. Demonstrate openness to divergent points of view.
    4. Be respectful of the perceptions of others.
    5. Integrate material from previous units to formulate ideas and generate dialogue.

Assessments 

The Projects will be graded by timeliness and the fulfillment of the requirements as well, but grades of A and B will be reserved for students going above and beyond the requirements and overall quality. Blog post and comments will be graded on completion, details provided about the work and how it was influenced by the reading and when they are turned in.

Expectations

Students will be expected to spend an average of 6 hours per week in the lab working with the software and creating music. All work will be completed and turned in on time.

Schedule

Unit 1: Introduction to MUTH 370

This Unit will introduce you to what we will be doing in the course and we will go on our first sound walk.

 Assignments:

     Read Holmes pp. 3-5 & 43-60

    Read Schrader: pp. 1-15

Unit 2: Early History & Musique Concrète

The Great Opening up of Music to All Sounds

Assignments:

    Read Holmes Chapter 5 & pp. 97-100, 102-112, 115, 382-391

    Read Schrader: pp. 16-38

    Start working on Mini-Project I

    Start listening to the musical examples for Exam I

    Blog post with your sounds/critiques

Unit 3: Early History & Musique Concrète (continued)

Expansion of the Tape Music Idea

Physical Properties & Human Perception of Sound as a Waveform Phenomenon

Assignments:

    Read Holmes pp. 76-86, 137-140

    Read Huber Chapter 2

    Continue working on Mini-Project I

    Continue listening to the musical examples for Exam I

    Project I Draft/Critiques blog post

Unit 4: Early History & Musique Concrète (continued)

Out of the Studios

Organized Sound, the Art of Noise, and the Origins of Electronic Music Esthetics

Assignments:

    Read Holmes pp. 349-381, 392-398

    Read Schrader: pp. 39-58

    Continue working on Mini-Project I

    Continue listening to the musical examples for Exam I

    Project I Draft 2/Critiques blog post

Unit 5: Early History & Musique Concrète Review

Section Review and Test

Assignments:

    Review and Prepare for the Exam

    Mini-Project I is due

Units 6: Basic Principles of Electronic Sound Synthesis/Early Electronic Instruments

Early Electronic Music Instruments & Early Electronic Studio Tape Music

Assignments:

    Read Holmes pp. 5-42 & Chapter 6

    Start working on Mini-Project II

    Start listening to the musical examples for Exam II

    Blog post on which software you’ll use

Units 7: Basic Principles of Electronic Sound Synthesis/Early Electronic Instruments (continued)

Pioneers of Analog Synthesis (Moog, Buchla, etc.); Basic Principles of Sound Synthesis

Assignments:

    Read Holmes pp. 61-76, 86-96 & Chapter 7

    Read Schrader: pp. 61-69

    Continue working on Mini-Project II

    Continue listening to the musical examples for Exam II

    Project II Draft/Critiques blog post

Units 8: Basic Principles of Electronic Sound Synthesis/Early Electronic Instruments (continued)

Subtractive & Additive Synthesis

Early “Classics” of Electronic Tape Music, Analog Synthesizers, and the RCA Mark II

Assignments:

    Read Schrader: pp. 75-119

    Read Holmes pp. 101, 113-114, 116-136, 140-149

    Continue working on Mini-Project II

    Continue listening to the musical examples for Exam II

    Project II Draft 2/Critiques blog post

Units 9: Basic Principles of Electronic Sound Synthesis/Early Electronic Instruments (continued)

More on Electronic Sound Synthesis Techniques

Assignments:

    Read Schrader: pp. 122-159

    Read Holmes Chapter 8

    Continue working on Mini-Project II

    Continue listening to the musical examples for Exam II

    Project II Draft 3/Critiques blog post

Units 10: Basic Principles of Electronic Sound Synthesis/Early Electronic Instruments Review

Section Review and Test

Assignments:

    Review and Prepare for the Exam

    Mini-Project II is due

Units 11: Digital Audio, Digital Sampling, Computer Synthesis Techniques, Other Uses for MIDI

Intro to Digital Audio / Direct Digital Synthesis

Assignments:

    Read Holmes Chapter 9

    Start working on Mini-Project III

    Start listening to the musical examples for Exam III

    EABD Performances!!!!

Units 12: Digital Audio, Digital Sampling, Computer Synthesis Techniques, Other Uses for MIDI (continued)

Csound, SuperCollider and Basic FM synthesis

Assignments:

    Read Holmes Chapter 10

    Continue working on Mini-Project III

    Continue listening to the musical examples for Exam III

    Blog: Festival Review

Unit 13: Digital Audio, Digital Sampling, Computer Synthesis Techniques, Other Uses for MIDI (continued)

More Basic FM synthesis, Intro to MIDI: history & origins, technology standards, applications, MIDI controllers

Assignments:

    Read Holmes Chapter 11

    Continue working on Mini-Project III

    Continue listening to the musical examples for Exam III

    Final Project Draft/Critique blog post

Unit 14: Digital Audio, Digital Sampling, Computer Synthesis Techniques, Other Uses for MIDI (continued)

More Digital Audio (granular synthesis, analysis, and re-synthesis, etc.)

Early “Classics” of Direct Digital Synthesis, Computer Music, & recent live/electronic music

Assignments:

    Read Holmes pp. 411-467

    Continue working on Mini-Project III

    Continue listening to the musical examples for Exam III

    Final Project Draft 2/Critique blog post

Unit 15: Digital Audio, Digital Sampling, Computer Synthesis Techniques, Other Uses for MIDI Review

Section Review and Test 

Assignments

    Review and Prepare for the Exam given during last class meeting

    Mini-Project III is due during final exam period

    Final Project Draft 2/Critique blog post

Grading

Homework/Critiques/Drafts 20%
Lab Projects 20%
Exam I 20%
Exam II 20%
Final Exam 20%

Disability Resources

The Office of Disability Services has been designated by the college as the primary office to guide, counsel, and assist students with disabilities. If you receive services through the Office of Disability Services and require accommodations for this class, make an appointment with me as soon as possible to discuss your approved accommodation needs. Bring your accommodation letter with you to the appointment. I will hold any information you share with me in strictest confidence unless you give me permission to do otherwise.
If you have not made contact with the Office of Disability Services and have reasonable accommodation needs, (note taking assistance, extended time for tests, etc.), I will be happy to refer you. The office will require appropriate documentation of disability.

Honor Code

Please conduct yourself in accordance with the Mary Washington honor code for this class and write and sign the pledge, (or an abbreviation of it), on all written work. If you are unsure if what you are doing or want to do is a violation of the honor code, ask. Appropriate actions in accordance with the Honor code will be taken as warranted.

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