MU 3620 Electronic Music Composition 2016

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  • MU 3620 Electronic Music Composition Course Syllabus

    Contact info:

    Instructor: Dr. V.J. Manzo

    Email: | Website:

    Office: Alden Memorial, Rm. 209

    Phone: 1-508-831-6575

    Course website: all of the assignments and our syllabus are located on Canvas

    Office hours:


    Book: In this course, instead of purchasing a book, I have made PDF excerpts from my books Max/MSP/Jitter for Music (Oxford University Press) and Interactive Composition (Oxford University Press). If you'd like to purchase these books, they are available in the bookstore or online (Amazon, B&N, etc.), but you are under no obligation to do so. I have made copies available in the library. There are a number of reading assignments in PDF format posted in the Assignments section.

    Software: All of the software well be discussing is available in our lab in Alden B30. The lab is open after 5pm each day and earlier times when there are no classes being held in the room. While the labs contain all of the software we will discuss in this course, it is encouraged that you purchase the software for personal use. You should also purchase a removable storage device (flash drive, hard drive, etc.) and back up your work regularly. Students should also backup to some online storage site such as MediaFire or DropBox. Important: All user data on the lab computers is erased upon logging off.

    Computer Lab: In addition to the 3 hours of lecture/presentation class time scheduled each week, there is an additional 1 hour of weekly lab time scheduled in Alden B30 during the hour prior to our class meeting, thus making our total weekly meeting time 4 hours. All of the software well be discussing is available in our lab in Alden B30. The lab is open after 5pm each day and earlier times when there are no classes being held in the room.. Any lab monitors on duty are not tutors or technical support. Read the Help files and other documentation for various applications if you are stuck. Do not rely on them for assistance. There will be several lab sessions scheduled throughout the term apart from class-time where I will meet with you to discuss your progress.

  • Assignments: All assignments are due on the due date in the Canvas Assignment Section for grading purposes, and on the class wiki ( for final presentations. Submit all assignments to Canvasdo not e-mail them to me. Each student is expected to do his/her own unique work. Assignments for each class are listed below. View the Assignments section of Canvas for more details about each assignment. Consult the syllabus for each class meeting and complete the assignments after each class.

    Description: This course will address concepts of composition through the use of technology. Students will examine existing compositions in electronic music, art music, popular music, film, multimedia, gaming, and more, and compose new works within these genres. Students will present newly composed works each class and discuss their aesthetic values, musical functions, and technical underpinnings. Software like Max/MSP/Jitter, Ableton Live, Audacity, and more will be discussed, but you may use any software you like to complete your projects.

    NOTE: I realize that some of you in the class may be more knowledgeable of some topics in this course than others. This includes discussion of computer operation (both advanced and basic) as well as some discussion of signal theory, synthesis, acoustics, and digital audio processing. Your patience is appreciated, as there is a necessity for us to begin our class from a common set of terminology. Additionally, there are helpful tips, guides, and documents available on in the Manzo Resources folder. If you are unfamiliar with using a DAW and so on, begin with the Ableton Live tutorials located on that folder.

    Registration and withdrawal: Students are referred to the University Bulletin for all registration deadlines and withdrawal dates pertaining to this course. Bulletins are available in the Registrars office.

    Syllabus: Every student must acquire the syllabus from Canvas. The syllabus is subject to change.

    Make-up policy for coursework: To pass the course, you must complete the assignments and submit the Final Project.

    Attendance policy: Students are expected to be in attendance, on time, mentally alert, and prepared for each session.

    Term Grades: There will be one final project as well as a number of homework assignments. All assignments are due on time. The rewards and penalties for punctual attendance mentioned above will be factored into your grand average to arrive at your final grade. For borderline grades, class preparedness and participation will be weighed to tip the balance.

    Assignment points (see Assignments section for descriptions and grading rubric below):

  • Composition 1 (15 points) Composition 2 (15 points) Composition 3 (15 points) Composition 4 (15 points) Final project & presentation on last class (20 points) Submit final project materials to Canvas and the Wiki (20 points)

    Total possible points = 100

    Letter grades and grades expressed as percentages counterchange according to the following table:

    A : 90 - 100 B : 80 - 89 C : 70 - 79 NR: 0 69

    Academic Integrity: It should go without saying, but academic dishonesty of any sort will not be tolerated. This is outlined in the University Code of Conduct:

  • Special Accomodations: I ask that any student with a disabling condition requiring special accommodations disclose this need to me at the very beginning of the course. (Special accommodations might include recording devices, adaptive equipment, special note-taking or test-taking procedures, etc.) We will work with the general education and learning assistance programs and the special education departments on campus to ensure that every student can participate in and benefit fully from this class.

    Course Assignments:

    Class 1 Electronic Music Composition

    Homework assigned for next class:

    Reading Assignment: Ableton Chapters 1 3 Create a 1-minute piece that uses randomness in some novel way. It could be a piece made

    entirely from white noise, it could be a piece composed by pulling notes written on pieces of paper from a that. Consider form and musicality. Post audio file to Canvas.

    Bring a USB videogame controller (joystick, etc.) the next class Bring your laptop and headphones to class with you from now on

    Class 2 Sonification

    Homework assigned for next class:

    Reading Assignment: Ambient Chapter Create a 1-minute piece uses mapping in some novel way. It could be a piece that maps data

    from a USB device or from weather statistics; in any case, the music should not be unlistenable at the expense of the novelty of your controller. Consider form and musicality. Post audio file to Canvas.

    Class 3 Arrangements

    Homework assigned for next class:

    Reading Assignment: Rock & Pop Chapter Create an arrangement or remix piece using MIDI or mulitrack stems, or; take a song or piece

    and use it have a model to make a derivative song that bears some of the characteristics of the original, but is altogether new. Contribute originality to the piece you create. Post audio file to Canvas.

    Class 4 Multimedia

    Homework assigned for next class:

  • Reading Assignment: Electro-acoustic Music Create a piece of music inspired by or to be set to a film or game, even if the film or game is

    hypothetical. Preferably, use the images and content from students in Prof. Rosenstock's IMGD class as a starting point for inspiration: . Post audio file to Canvas.

    Devise a final composition project

    Class 5 Interactivity

    Homework assigned for next class: o Work on final project o Bring final project materials to work on for the next class

    Class 6 Larger Composition Projects

    Homework assigned for next class:

    Complete and submit Final Project to Canvas and the Wiki Prepare Final Project Presentation

    Class 7 Final presentation

    Assignment due before term ends: o Submit Final Project files to Canvas o Add your final composition to the class Wiki page at . Choose

    Electronic Music Composition from the Courses section on the homepage, then select the appropriate section for this course. Upload your audio (or performance video/screen capture video if necessary/desired) to the page with your name and the name of the piece as shown on the default page. Consult the Help page on the Wiki if necessary.


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