What we’re trying to do
Make a 5-7 minute electroacoustic composition using some of the tools and
techniques we studied this semester. Further requirements appear below.
Here are the kinds of project you could do.
- fixed-media quadraphonic (like last semester, but using some techniques
covered this semester, e.g., sound generation via Absynth, SoundHack,
SPEAR, Granulator, SpectralDelay, or Max)
- piece for performer and fixed media (stereo or quad)
- piece for performer and real-time electronics, created in Max
What to turn in
- Put media for performance in a folder on a flash drive, and
bring that to our playback session.
What you put in this folder depends on the type of project you make.
If you do a fixed-media project (incl. with live instrument), then put
your interleaved stereo or quad audio file into the folder. Note for quad:
bounce to an interleaved file, not a set of deinterleaved mono
If you do a live Max piece, put your Max patch(es) and any audio or
other files — including any extra extensions that are not part of
the Max installation — into the folder.
- Put project data (e.g., your Digital Performer project) into a folder
called “yourname-final-data” (where “yourname”
is your IU login name), and zip it. Copy this zip file into cloud
storage somewhere (e.g., IU Box), and
submit a link to this in Canvas.
If your performance folder contains everything you did on the project,
which might be the case with a Max project, then don’t worry about
the data folder.
- A program note, which should describe the basic musical ideas of
the piece and any techniques you’d especially like us to notice.
You must provide a complete list of any sound sources borrowed from
Bring 13 copies of your program note, so that everyone can read it
during the class performance.
After you turn it in
Late projects will be accepted only with a valid medical excuse from a doctor,
stating that you were incapable of completing the work. Loss of materials is
not an acceptable excuse, so back up your data to at least two different places
(e.g., your own hard or thumb drive and cloud storage)!
- We will play your compositions during the scheduled exam time
or a mutually agreed substitute time.
- These projects will receive letter grades. A portion of the grade
for the project will depend on you making regular progress, as
demonstrated during tutorials. So don’t leave this all to the
last minute — it won’t work!
- Grades will be based on overall conception and execution, the quality
of any source recordings, your sonic imagination, attention to detail,
sensitivity to spatial (panning, reverberation) and spectral (EQ)
qualities, following the instructions (including submission requirements),
and completion of the program note.
- There are no style constraints for the project.
- Your piece must be at least 5 minutes in length, but no more than 7
minutes. We’d rather hear something of modest length that
you’ve wrestled with and thought deeply about than something very
long that seems thrown together casually. Plus, we have to be able to
hear all these pieces during our playback session.
- Incorporate some of the new tools (Absynth, SoundHack, SPEAR, Riverrun,
Max) and/or techniques (FM, spectral processing, granulation, live
processing, etc.) we studied this semester.
- Your piece must be an original composition, not an arrangement of other
music, or even an arrangement of an earlier piece of yours. Avoid using
sound made by others if you have not received permission to use it.
(Keep in mind that a recording of old music that is in the public domain
— any Baroque piece, for example — still carries the
copyright of the people who made the recording. You would have to get
their permission to use the recording in a derivative work.)
If you want to publish your music some day, using copyrighted sources
without permission will cause you no end of trouble. It’s not
unlike using a text for a song without permission — no publisher
will release that.
Even if you have received permission, be careful not to rely too heavily
on this sound. This applies also if you incorporate a recording of one
of your acoustic pieces. If you try to use this as a quick way out, it
- Your piece should sound like you worked it over and tweaked things until
it seemed just right to you. That doesn’t mean that your piece has
to sound smooth — it can sound noisy and rough, as long as these
qualities aren’t the result of negligence. But listen for clicks at
the edges of soundbites or in your live Max processing. These happen
because of discontinuities in the waveform that can arise when a sound
starts or ends abruptly, with no enveloping. They can be very distracting,
if they are not obviously a part of your aesthetic.
- Use the subwoofer to evaluate the low frequency content of your mix.
If you listen all the time without the subwoofer, you may have lots of
low frequency energy in your piece that you’re never hearing.
When you play it on a system with better bass response, you’ll
- Don’t use too much reverb. Playing your sound in large rooms
will amplify the effect of reverb and can make your music sound distant
and indistinct. Using reverb for one layer, while having another, dry
layer, can be nice, but don’t overdo it.
- Here are links to CECM documents that might help you.