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Music and Technology




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Timetable 2017-18, semester 1
Class Monday 1500-1700 Hel040
Richard Hoadley's office hours
(teaching weeks only)
Monday 1300-1500
Tuesday 1200-1300

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to top of page  Summary

Music and Technology is designed as an introduction to the concepts, methods and basic practicalities of the use of technology in the composition of music. Using digital audio workstations, students learn to apply principles of acoustics and computer-based sequencing within the context of a wider understanding of the historical and aesthetic issues relating to the composition and practice of technology-based music. The major activity of the module is the preparation of an original composition utilising various techniques. This is approached via a number of prescribed tasks designed to lead the student systematically through the processes of computer operation. Students become familiar with a range of musics and techniques through detailed step-by-step explanation and hands-on experience in class. The module also includes lectures, demonstrations and discussions of a wide range of technology-based music and associated topics with the aim of encouraging students to question and examine their traditional conceptions of sound and music. Much emphasis is placed on the ability to analyse music aurally. Students must also deliver an oral presentation on a prescribed piece of technology-based music with a view to identifying and discussing the various compositional techniques used. This is accompanied by detailed graphic score devised by the student.


to top of page  Outcomes

On successful completion of this module you will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a basic theoretical and practical knowledge of music technology related equipment and the principles underlying its operation.
  2. Appreciate and discuss in an informed manner a wide variety of music and related issues arising from the influence of technology in musical composition.
  3. Demonstrate appropriate critical levels of aural analysis.
  4. Competently and creatively apply their understanding of these issues to their own practical work.

to top of page  Assessments & Submission


Portfolio: 70% of overall mark

Tasks (50% of Portfolio) The three highest scoring tasks from the list below will make up 50% of the portfolio, the final composition making up the other 50%.

Task 1 - Vocal Collage
Construct a short piece using originally recorded vocal sounds. Explore editing techniques covered in class, such as cutting, copying, pasting, moving... More details
Task 2 - The Sound Object 1
Construct a short piece exploring the notion of the 'Sound Object' using ONE sound. You should consider allocating the sounds to the EXS24 sampler and explore the sound in both the Arrangement and Sample editors. More details
Task 3 - The Sound Object 2
Construct a short piece exploring the notion of the 'Sound Object' using TWO sounds. You should allocate the sounds to the EXS24 sampler and explore a range of playback techniques. More details
Task 4 - Moving Sound - using volume and pan controllers and effects, etc.
Construct a short piece exploring the notion of moving sounds. You should employ a range of techniques to explore spatialisation effects and timbral transformations. More details
All tasks should be of between 20 seconds and one minute in duration.

Final Composition (50% of Portfolio)
This takes the form of an original composition that should demonstrate technical understanding, practical proficiency, detailed application and musical understanding of the topics covered, realised in a creative and sensitive manner. Extra marks may be awarded for successful implementation of musical techniques not covered in class time. Credit will also be given for good presentation. The composition must be accompanied by a short write-up that will include technical details about your piece (including identification of the relevant file names) drawing attention to any compositional processes that may not be immediately apparent. This may be a useful document for you to consider.

The Final Composition should be of between two and five minutes in duration.

Memory Stick/Thumb Drive
Bounce file [final mix of composition], composition write-up (as .txt, .doc or .rtf file), you may find it useful to include screenshots of your Logic Project.

Seminar Presentation [weighted 30% of overall module]

  1. You'll be assigned a piece of music probably, but not necessarily, from the following list:

    If you have a particular piece you'd like to include, please discuss it with the module tutor. For information and comparison, here are the original set of pieces from which the subject of your presentation would have been chosen:

  2. Once approved, engage in concentrated and repeated listening and identify what you think is the most important or striking characteristic of the piece;
  3. Do some preliminary research about the composer and the piece, using the identified resources;
  4. Describe, categorise and analyse what you hear, drawing on appropriate terminology (avoid subjective descriptions or overly technical language);
  5. Develop a plan for your presentation, limiting yourself to two or three main points of observation;
  6. Simultaneously, construct a graphic score of the piece (or sections of the piece) that will provide a clear visual guide to the points you are making;
  7. Consider and prepare the technical aspects of your presentation;
  8. Ensure you provide references for your sources.
  9. Practice your presentation in front of an audience before presenting to the class
  10. Remember the following tips:
    • use audiovisual aids such as the overhead projector, digital projector, presentation software, etc., where appropriate;
    • be prepared: make sure that all your examples and illustrations are ordered and work properly on the studio system;
    • distribute handouts if you think they may be relevant;
    • support your comments with examples; don't talk for more than 3 minutes without illustrating your points;
    • distribute your presentation equitably but sensibly between yourself and your partner.
    • address your audience: make eye contact, speak clearly and remember to smile occasionally!


• Each task must be accompanied by sufficient documentation to ensure smooth demonstration of the task.

• Each project (not task) must be accompanied by a short commentary (approximately 200 words maximum) in text outlining your goals, achievements and experiences.

• All documentation should be submitted in electronic form. You may submit in non-electronic form, but an electronic form should always be supplied. You will incur a 5% penalty should you not comply with this rule.

• The final deadline for final submission of all material is Tuesday 19th December 2017. Final submission will be to the i-Centre.


Presentation Groups
Katharine Norman: Making Place - presentation in week 9
Anthony Arellano
Thomas Coates
Ryoji Ikeda: Spectra - presentation in week 10
Camila Valerio
Emma Foreman
Alva Noto: unitxt/univrs - presentation in week 10
Kate Holmes
Sarah Mead
Zimoun: Your choice of two or more works - presentation in week 11
Leo Oakley
Michal Polak
David Hall: This is a Television Receiver - presentation in week 11
Madeline Soan
Wanyuan Yang
Han Li


to top of page  Course Outline

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Semester 1

Week Focus Project/Task Set Due % Further Resources
- Listen to some music, do some stuff...

- Search for 'Logic Pro 8 ' in:
Google, Scholar, Books, Image, Video,
University Library Aims and Outcomes - feel clear about course structure - feel confident about using Canvas - Contributes to outcomes 1,3,4,5
- Things to do first
- collect email
- Assessments

- Introduction to the course
- Understanding and using the computer
- Introduction to the Computer Workstation
- File Management
- Audio recording
- Digital mix-down (bounce)
- Composing with Logic Audio - 1
- Cut, Copy, Paste, Splice, Repeat

Logic recording

In addition to providing an introduction to the use of the 
studio environment, these sessions will introduce the notion 
of the use of the 'noise' in electroacoustic music, which, 
in turn, will provide a platform for the initial development 
of aural analysis skills and the consideration of appropriate 
analytical terminology.

- Exemplars of previous submissions...
- Criteria for assessment: Creative Work and 
Oral Presentation
 - Practice using Logic!
- Paul Lansky Idle Chatter
- Various - 10+2: 12 American Text Sound Pieces
- Luciano Berio - Omaggio a Joyce
- Jonty Harrison - EQ
- Jonty Harrison - Surface Tension

- Luigi Russolo - The Art of Noises, in Cox & Warner (2004)

Task 1 - Vocal Collage
Construct a short piece using originally recorded vocal 
'noise' sounds. Explore editing techniques covered in 
More details

Experiment with Lynda.com tutorials.  See especially Logic Pro X Essential Training.

part of portfolio

2: Composing with Logic Audio - 2
The Sound Object
- Audio editing
- Reverse, Trim, Transpose, Stretch
- Working with Regions

3: Composing with Logic Audio - 3
- Using the EXS24 sampler - 1
- Introduction to presentations

Logic - sampling
Logic - transformations

These sessions introduces two important approaches to 
music composition with technology; the notion of the 
'Sound Object' as developed under the so-called Musique 
Concrète school of Pierre Schaeffer; and the purely 
electronic approach developed by, among others, 
Karlheinz Stockhausen in the Cologne studios in the 

These approaches provide important conceptual 
frameworks for discussion and will aid the development 
of the presentations.

Reading and Listening
Musique Concrete &
Elektronische Musik
- Jonty Harrison Klang 
(example of piece with very limited sonic material)
- Stockhausen - Four Criteria of Electronic Music 

Task 2 - The Sound Object 1
Construct a short piece exploring the notion of the 
'Sound Object' using ONE sound. You should consider 
allocating the sounds to the EXS24 sampler and explore 
the sound in both the Arrangement and Sample editors. 
More details

Task 3 - The Sound Object 2
Construct a short piece exploring the notion of the 
'Sound Object' using TWO sounds. You should allocate 
the sounds to the EXS24 sampler and explore a range 
of playback techniques.
More details

Select Presentations
part of portfolio
Roles and Functions
Approaches to Composition

Logic - sequencing
Logic - notation

Reading and Listening
'Moving Sound Masses/Shifting Planes'
- Edgar Varèse - Poème électronique
- Trevor Wishart - Vox 5
- Varèse - The Liberation of Sound in Cox & Warner (2004)
Task 4 - Moving sound
Construct a short piece exploring the notion of 
transformation and movement of sound. You should employ a range of techniques 
to explore both timbral transformation and spatialisation 
More details

Presentation Tutorials
task summary | WebCT
part of portfolio (70%)
7i, 8i, 9i, 10i
Logic synthesis

- Composing Revision
- Presentations

The emphases of the class sessions in the second half 
of the module are given over to the preparation of the 
presentations and to the development of the final 
composition. A range of material is introduced, explored 
and discussed with the expectation of the application of 
more highly developed aural analysis skills. Students 
are encouraged to explore particular techniques and 
musical phenomena in greater detail, and final 
compositions should represent a coherent and informed 
approach to the subject.

Presentations are supported by two tutorial sessions and 
students are encouraged to be imaginative in their 
Be getting on with your final compositions.

presentation: 30% of whole...
- Presentations and Performances...
- Presentations and Performances...
Follow-up Work
- Project/portfolio work

- Final Composition More details - Presentations and Performances...