Module Name: Electroacoustic Composition 1 (optional)
ECTS weighting: 5 Credits
Contact Hours: 22 x 1-hour lectures
11 hours tutorials, Self-study and assignments – approx 67 hours
Module Coordinator: Dr. Enda Bates
Electroacoustic Composition is presented as two one-semester modules. This first module seeks to encourage the creative and innovative use of audio software and processes for the production of original works of electroacoustic music for fixed-media.
Students will be introduced to different styles of electroacoustic music through a discussion/analysis of works by a variety of composers. Aesthetics such as acousmatic composition, soundscape composition, spectral music, electronica and glitch music are presented in conjunction with practical demonstrations and exercise work in related audio, MIDI and synthesis techniques.
This first electroacoustic composition module is intended to enable students to compose and produce electroacoustic compositions using software such as the D.A.W. Reaper, Audio Editors like Adobe Audition, MIDI and software synthesizers. Students are encouraged to explore innovative and experimental approaches to electronic music though the creation and presentation of original works of music. Students are encouraged to review, analyse and learn creative techniques from composers and landmark works of electroacoustic music. These ideas are further explored through practical demonstrations and exercise/assignment work.
On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:
• Compose and produce original works of electroacoustic music using both audio and MIDI.
• Analyse, describe and identify techniques and technologies used by electroacoustic composers.
• Compose, record and edit audio and MIDI using the DAW Reaper and Adobe Audition.
• Select appropriate audio programs and software for the creation of specific effects and techniques.
• Appreciate and engage with techniques and ideas associated with the aesthetics of glitch music, soundscape composition, acousmatic music, and spectral music.
Introduction to the DAW Reaper & electroacoustic composition
Audio Hardware/Software Setup and Configuration
Glitch Music & Audio Editing Techniques
Soundscape Composition, EQ and Audio FX
Spectral Music - Spectral Editing & FFT analysis in Adobe Audition
Pitch-Shifting & Alternate Tuning systems
Rhythm in electroacoustic music
MIDI recording, editing and playback
Gesture in Electroacoustic music - automation
Cross-Modulation, Side-chaining/Parameter Modulation
Texture in Electroacoustic music - Synthesis techniques & Time-Stretching
Recommended Reading List
Jaron Lanier: You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto;
Curtis Roads: The Computer Music Tutorial;
F. Richard Moore: The Dysfunctions of MIDI
Simon Emmerson: Living Electronic Music
Denis Smalley: Spectromorphology: explaining sound-shapes
Methods of Teaching and Student Learning
The teaching strategy is a mixture of lectures, audio software tutorials and critique classes on assignments. The lectures will include discussions of particular production techniques and the analysis of various works of electroacoustic music. Tutorials in Reaper and Adobe Audition will be held throughout the semester. During this time, students will review basic audio and MIDI editing and recording techniques, and apply new techniques in tutorial exercises. Students will present their compositions to the class and describe the process of creating the work and techniques used.
Methods of Assessment
Assessment of this module is by practical assignment work. Students are required to create 2 electroacoustic compositions. These assignments are weighted 45% and 55%, respectively. The first assignment will be in the form of a soundscape composition based around original recordings made by the students using portable audio recorders such as MMT’s Zoom devices. For the second assignment, students must create original recordings which are then analysed, edited and augmented using synthesiser plugins and MIDI. Grades are awarded based on a 50/50 split between the technical implementation and the artistic concept and composition.