Music 220b: Winter 2001
Fernando Lopez-Lezcano, instructor
Christopher Burns, teaching assistant
Tamara Smyth, teaching assistant
Week 4: project proposal requirements
Regarding final project proposals:
The following guidelines are designed to help you develop and propose a compositional idea for your final project. If you would like to propose a research-oriented final project, please discuss your idea with the teaching staff before writing your proposal.
For composition projects, we expect you to use the tools taught in class -- and we recommend the use of CLM/Lisp for obvious reasons. If you wish to use another platform, please consult with us prior to making your proposal. We strongly encourage you to explore the domains for which these tools are particularly well suited -- for instance:
- complex pitch spaces:
- microtonal scales
- continuously changing frequencies (glissandi)
- complex rhythmic spaces:
- multiple simultaneous (perhaps continuously changing) tempi or pulses
- music without tempo or pulse
- complex and/or superimposed rhythmic patterns
- rhythmic animation inside a sound object
- complex timbral spaces
- synthesis which doesn't emulate acoustic instruments
- evolving sound objects
- relations between timbre and musical form
- complex textural spaces
- beyond melody and accompaniment: swarms, clouds, clusters
Specify your goals for the project by thinking through the following questions:
- What are the materials of the piece? For instance, you might use some of...
- synthetic sounds (of what character?)
- recorded sounds (from where? with what properties?)
- melodies (using what kinds of contours and pitches?)
- textures (made up of what components?)
- chords (what kinds of pitches/harmonies? are chords made up of similar or differing objects?)
- What are the processes of the piece? To put it another way, how will the music be articulated through time?
- textural transformations: lines to swarms, or clusters to points, or....
- durational processes: how are musical objects arranged in time? how does that change over time? For instance...
- pitch transformations: how do melodies or harmonies evolve over the course of the piece?
- will these processes be perceptible? why? how?
- How will the music create expectations over time? Will those expectations be satisfied, or subverted, or both?
- What are the limitations on the composer?
- What do you typically do, and how can you push yourself to try something new?
- What sounds, phrases, etc. do you not want to hear?
- What are the criteria for success? How will you decide if the piece works?
You are welcome to change your answers to these questions as you work on your project, but they make a useful starting point. Note that it's not necessary to decide which synthesis and/or algorithmic composition techniques you might use at this point -- in particular, there are many different (and more sophisticated) algorithmic techniques left to learn. Thinking through your musical goals will help you to recognize and select the particular tools which will work best for your project.
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