How can we use computers to create expressive, compelling music? And how can we write computer software to help us create and organize sounds in new ways? This course provides a hands-on introduction to the field of music technology as both a creative musical practice and an interdisciplinary technical research pursuit. Through the exploration of topics such as acoustics, psychoacoustics, digital sound, digital signal processing, audio synthesis, spectral analysis, algorithmic composition, and music information retrieval, we will explore the deep relationships between art and science, between theory and practice, and between experimental and popular electronic music.
We will learn about these topics in the context of digital audio workstation (DAW) software, the multi-track editing paradigm that has been dominant in music production since the 1980s. As we learn about the foundations behind such software, we will use this knowledge to more effectively create music with it, and we will also write a series of short software programs that extend the software's ability to manipulate, transform, and analyze sound.
Module 1: The Basics of Sound
acoustics, psychoacoustics, tiMbre, digital representation of sound, spectral representation of sound
Module 2: Digital Audio Workstations
DAW history and key features, music representation, recording and editing audio in a DAW, effects and automations, aesthetic context
Module 3: Working with MIDI
MIDI specification (history, structure, limitations), real and virtual MIDI devices, MIDI sequencing in the DAW
Module 4: Algorithmic Composition: Basic Techniques
basics of Python programming and the EarSketch API, history and practice of algorithmic composition
Module 5: Algorithmic Composition: Advanced
advanced topics in algorithmic programming for music including stochastic composition, chance music, process music, and modeling
Module 6: Future directions
music information retrieval, live coding, machine musicianship, new musical interfaces, mobile music, networked music
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