Analog sound is uniquely tactile, expressive, and flexible. Through a series of solo, collaborative, recorded, and live-performed projects, this class explores the practice of creating analog sound. We will use a wide array of modular and semi-modular analog synthesizers, including the rare ARP 2500. Beginning with broad concepts of voltage flow and modulation, we will expand into considering the unique affordances of various synths, addressing questions such as tone color, ease of sound production and variation, and conduciveness to combination with other sound sources.
Building Musical Instruments
In Building Musical Instruments, we will study and create expressive musical sound by building acoustic, analog, and digital instruments. Using sonic goals as inspiration for design features, we will build handheld acoustic instruments, contact microphones, basic synthesizers, and digital controllers, and we will consider the ways in which these distinct objects can work together to form a musical performance system. Topics include: musical listening and design, resonance of different materials, soldering, breadboarding, reading a basic schematic diagram, creating an enclosure, and expressive interaction with instruments.
Composing with Ableton
In Composing with Ableton, we will study and use the well known music-making software Ableton Live. We will consider sound in Ableton from a variety of perspectives, ranging from popular music vocabularies to experimental sound practices. This project-based class emphasizes development of technical knowledge in pursuit of individual style and genre-crossing dialogue. Topics include: fundamental techniques of electronic composition, sonic approaches to genre-bending work, real-time interaction and control, and interfacing with MaxMSP via Max for Live.
In Experimental Voice, we will study and undertake acoustic and electronic modifications of voice. We will consider applications of voice by diverse practitioners such as Jaap Blonk, Ami Yoshida, and Pamela Z. Using these pieces as inspiration, we will make creative and critical work aimed at challenging and broadening our notions of what voice and vocal performance can be. Students from all departments are welcome.
Making Computer Music
What is computer music? How do we listen to this music? What does it mean to be a performer of computer music? This class will explore creation and performance of computer music, examining compositions by musicians such as Autechre, Delia Derbyshire, Paul Lansky, and Pamela Z. In addition, we will use software such as Finale, Reaper, and Max/MSP to create digital music compositions using techniques of notation, synthesis, and mixing.