teaching

fall 2017

CA 349 Special Topics: Composing for Instrument and Electronics

Seminars: Tuesday 10:30-12:20
Labs: Friday 10:30-12:20

This course is a Special Topics course in composing for instrument and electronics.

Topics include:

  • live signal processing
  • combining a live instrument with fixed media
  • introduction to interactive systems

Students require a familiarity with Ableton Live and a notation program (either Finale or Sibelius); we will learn MaxMSP in class.

Assignments include:

Analysis of an existing work (15%)

3-5 pages (between 1200-1600 words) describing an existing work for solo instrument and electronics. You may choose a work from the Historical Works, or more recent Examples, or one you find elsewhere.

Three Studies (20% each)

Three “studies” of between one and two minutes each, exploring the following:

• Live signal processing (using Ableton Live)

• fixed media & instrument (using Ableton Live)

• interactive work (using MaxMSP)

Final Project (25%)

A longer work (approximately five minutes) for soloist (cellist Peggy Lee) and electronics, building upon one of the studies.


CA 142 – 21st Century Music Appreciation (CODE)

A post-modern course in music appreciation. In other words, it offers a 21st century model on music appreciation (note that CA 142 is not a course devoted to 21st century popular music!).

You will develop a critical ear and advanced listening skills through the presentation of a diversity of music from many cultures, styles, and periods, in an effort to discover similarities, differences, and defining characteristics.

You will build your Music Appreciation repertoire around basic style characteristics such as rhythm, harmony, melody, timbre, and texture. We will cover such general topics as form, song, political music, technology, story telling, background music, sacred music, improvisation, dance music, women in music, and others.

This is not a course, like so many other music appreciation courses, designed to create new subscribers to the local symphony orchestra. I will not be attempting to “educate” listeners in the joys of European art music from 1760-1890 (the boundaries within which many symphony orchestras define themselves). Instead, I hope to make you have a better understanding about the similarities and differences between various musical styles and types.

Furthermore, you will develop critical listening skills, or the ability to understand and discuss music on a more informed level. Maybe you will understand better about why you may like a certain style of music, and why you may not like another style as much. And in the process, I’ll introduce you to some music that may have similar characteristics, which you may then also enjoy and understand better.

All this will be done without any necessary previous knowledge of music theory, music history, or even the ability to read music.

Graded Activities

The independent graded activities in this course consist of a concert review (20%), five bi-weekly assignments (7% each for 35%), five online quizzes (5% each for 25%), and an open-book final exam (20%).

Grading Criteria

Your marks for all the assignments will be based on the following criteria:

A Identifies connections that aren’t obvious and demonstrates an understanding of the bigger picture.
B Well written presentation of some good comments/observations.
C+ Correct use of all terminology and demonstration of the obvious points

The following marking criteria was provided to me by the Teaching and Learning Centre, and gives an excellent list of what is expected of an “A” assignment (italics are my additions):

  • This paper or presentation will evidence thorough exploration, research, experimentation and well-crafted formulation/articulation;
  • Illustrate a developed critical language and creative assimilation of course content (it must be written well);
  • Evidencing a synergistic understanding of the in-class material and the assigned readings (it must demonstrate that you completely understand the material, and are not just parroting back lecture material);
  • Demonstrate a rigor and high level of engagement in the researched topic (as above, it shows you really understand the material);
  • Deliver concision, accuracy and complexity in the conceptualizations and articulations (you are able to express complex ideas concisely, and not require filler material);
  • Demonstrate bold, innovative thinking grounded in the theory and methods of this class (you show some original thought).

COURSE SCHEDULE

Week Content Assignment
1
  • Introduction; Terms You Need To Know; Brief History of Western Music
2
  • Melody
  • Harmony
3
  • Rhythm
  • Texture
Quiz 1 (Melody, Harmony)
4
  • Form and Structure
  • Song
Bi-weekly Assignment #1
5
  • Timbre
Quiz 2 (Rhythm, Texture, Form, Song)
6
  • Storytelling
Bi-weekly Assignment #2
7
  • Technology
  • Dance Music
Quiz 3 (Timbre, Storytelling)
8
  • Political Music
Bi-weekly Assignment #3
9
  • Sacred Music
Concert Review
10
  • Function
  • Improvisation
Quiz 4 (Technology, Dance, Sacred)
11
  • Women In Music
  • Media
Bi-weekly Assignment #4
12
  • Style
  • Background Music
Quiz 5 (Political, Function, Improvisation)
13
  • Appropriation
  • Aesthetics
Bi-weekly Assignment #5
(Exam week) Open-book Final Exam

spring 2018

CA 347 – Electroacoustic Music II

Live electroacoustic performance. A detailed study of the historic and current systems and techniques, and their applications for actual performance. Students will use software built in MaxMSP, focusing upon musical performance, specifically ensemble interaction. Network performance, interaction strategies, controllers, interface design, and improvisation will all be explored in a practical environment of a laptop ensemble.

Graded Activities

10% – In-class presentation

  • In class presentation (approximately 10 minutes) on a topic related to EA performance.

20 % – Ensemble performance – Net4Tet

  • Create a 3-5 minute work as an ensemble (3-4 performers) using Net4Tet. Can involve improvisation, structured improvisation, or full composition, with or without a graphic/text score.

20% – Solo or Duet performance – Duet

  • Create a 3-5 minute solo or duet between acoustic performer and laptop using Duet. This should be a “hands-off” performance, in which your interaction with the software must be via controllers and/or sensors.

20% – Final Performance

  • Part 1: Participate in a work for the entire ensemble, created within the group. It could be fully notated, or improvisational; instruments could be networked, or independent. The software does not need to be created originally, and can use commercial software (Logic, Live) or existing Max patches (i.e. Net4Tet, Duet). The grade will be on the based upon both the artistic success of the work (60%) as well as the originality of the design and process (40%).
  • Part 2: Participate in a work for the entire ensemble, created by someone in FPA 447.

20% – Journal

  • Create a weekly journal entry discussing your thoughts on the topics raised in the course. The first few weeks will be – most likely – mainly about topics from our seminar discussions and presentations. Later entries should focus upon rehearsal and performance experiences, including thoughts on the software and the processes involved in creating the performances. Final paper should be approximately 2000 words (5-7 pages, double spaced).

10% – Class participation

  • A large portion of this course is centred around group projects, and attendance and participation within the group is essential. As such, attendance will form a portion of your final mark.

Course Materials

Week Two

Feedback Slider (Scott Hewitt)

Windows application
Mac application
Score (PDF)
MaxMSP patch

Human Shredders (Scott Hewitt)

Score (PDF)

The Value of Labour (Arne Eigenfeldt)

Application (OSX)
Required soundfiles
Max patches

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