Syllabus

MUSIC 101: Introduction to Creating Electronic Sounds
January 06 – March 13, 2020
M/W — 10:30am – 12:20pm
The Knoll, RM 317

Instructors: Stephanie Sherriff
Email: sherriff@stanford.edu
Office Hours: Mondays + Wednesdays, 12:30pm – 2pm, or by appointment

TA: Camille Noufi
Email: cnoufi@stanford.edu
Office Hours:
 TBD
Box Folder

ASSIGNMENTS:
Creative Projects: Creative projects will generally come in the form of weekly sound compilation/composition exercises. All work is expected to be completed on time. Any work submitted after that will not receive feedback. All work must be completed for a passing grade. If you think you have missed any assignments, you must be proactive and consult with the instructors to determine what assignments are incomplete.

  • Project One: Sonic Terrain
    Create a 2-3-minute soundscape using field recordings. Get off campus. Listen to your environment while recording (using headphones!). Experiment with movement and explore sonic transitions as you move between spaces.
    DUE JAN 13
  • Project Two: Voice
    Create a 3-5-minute audio composition that utilizes the voice as a main component of the piece. Voice(s) can be human, non-human, samples, or other conceptual sources. The composition can be narrative, non-linear, and/or musical.
    DUE JAN 22
  • Project Three: Circuit Bending
    Find a battery-powered electronic toy or consumer product that makes sound. Be sure to bring something you can alter permanently. We will open up each product to expose the circuit board and alter the circuit to produce new and unusual sounds.
    DUE JAN 29
  • Project Four: Beats with Daily Sounds
    Create a 2-3-minute audio piece using only daily occurring sounds to create a percussive composition
    DUE FEB 5
  • Project Five: Samples Sampling Samples
    Find an audio composition that samples at least one preexisting recording. Find the original source. Create a new 3-5-minute audio track using samples from your sources.
    DUE FEB 19

Final Project: The final project can be anything you want it to be.  It can be as long as you think it needs to be.  It can use any software or hardware you choose as long as a computer is involved somewhere in the process.

  • Final Project Proposal
    DUE FEB 24
  • Final Project Update
    DUE MAR 2
  • Final Iteration One
    DUE MAR 9
  • Final Presentation
    DUE MAR 11

Online Tutorials:
Tutorials will cover technical details such as music software, hardware use, and sound examples. Tutorials should be complete outside of class time and paced throughout the quarter to aid in production for creative assignments.

Reading and Listening:
Reading and listening assignments are intended to expose students to a wide-range of audio-related concepts and methods for making sound-based work. Most weeks students will be assigned reading and listening examples that should be completed outside of class time. The examples will cover many types of creative sound practices. All reading and listening assignments have an associated response form. These are required and should be completed by each due date listed.

  • Reading Responses are due by the start of class on whichever class day follows the date they are assigned. For example, readings assigned on a Monday are due by the start of class on the following Wednesday with their associated response form… readings assigned on Wednesdays are due the following Monday.
  • Listening Responses are due by 11:59pm on Sundays and will typically be assigned weekly.

Sound Art Presentation:
During week 6, students are required to create a 5-minute presentation on a sound artist of their choice. Presentations should include video and/or audio examples of at least 2 pieces and include information about the artist.
DUE FEB 12

YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE A GRADE IF ANY ASSIGNMENTS ARE MISSING AT THE END OF THE QUARTER


COURSE SCHEDULE:
WK 1:
Listening Response 1
:
DUE 11:59pm, SUN, JAN 12

MON [JAN 6] –
Course Overview

In-class Listening — Survey Playlist


WED [JAN 8] –
Reading Response 1 DUE
Overview Project One:
Sonic Terrain
Create a 2-3-minute soundscape using field recordings. Get off campus. Listen to your environment while recording (using headphones!). Experiment with movement and explore sonic transitions as you move between spaces.



Workshop: Contact Microphones + Field Recording
The class will split into two groups.

  • Group A: Will build a piezo contact microphone in the Max Lab
    Group B: Will receive one audio recorder per person.
    We will take a walk, listen, and record.
    Bring headphones if you have them.Approximately half-way through class time the two groups will switch.
  • Please upload all of your audio files to the shared folder in Box by 11:59pm on Wednesday, JAN 8, using the following naming convention for your files:first-name_last-initial_description-of-sound.wav
    (mp3 or other formats are also fine)Example: stephanie_s_crickets.wav
  • Reading 2:
    Response DUE JAN 13
    A Brief History of Sound Recording, Roger Beardsley and Daniel Leech-Wilkinson
    Recording Technology History, Steve Schoenherr for AES

Tutorial 1 Ardour and Portable Recorders
DUE JAN 13

 

WK 2:
Listening Response 2:
DUE 11:59pm, SUN, JAN 19

MON [JAN 13] –
Reading Response 2 DUE

Lecture: Digital and Analog Cables
How to Properly Roll a Cable

Overview Project Two:Voice
Create a 3-5-minute audio composition that utilizes the voice as a main component of the piece. Voice(s) can be  human, non-human, samples, or other conceptual sources. The composition can be narrative, non-linear,  and/or musical.
DUE JAN 22


WED [JAN 15] –
Listening + Discussion:
Sonic Terrain

Tutorial 2: Ardour Effects

 

WK 3:
Listening Response 3:
DUE 11:59pm, SUN, JAN 26

MON [JAN 20] – No Class (MLK, Jr. Day)
Reading Response 3 DUE

WED [JAN 22] –
Listening + Discussion:
Voice

WK 4:
Listening Response 4:
DUE 11:59pm, SUN, FEB 2

MON [JAN 27] –
Reading Response 4 DUE

Overview Project Three: Circuit Bending
Find a battery-powered electronic toy or consumer product that makes sound. Be sure to bring something you can alter permanently. We will open up each product to expose the circuit board and alter the circuit to produce new and unusual sounds. Using sounds from your circuit bent object, create a 1-3 minute composition. Can be recorded or performed live.
DUE FEB 3

How to Begin a Circuit Bending Project
An Intro to Circuit Bending
Circuit Bent Crying Baby | Noise Dolls
Circuit Bent Toy Organ
Lo-fi Tape Delay

Overview Project Four: Beats with Daily Sounds
Create a 1-3-minute audio piece using daily occurring sounds to create a percussive composition
DUE FEB 10


WED [JAN 29] –
Workshop:
Circuit Bending
Circuit Bending for Beginners (Part 1-4)
BEND: A Circuit Bending Documentary

WK 5:

Listening Response 5:
DUE 11:59pm, SUN, FEB 9

MON [FEB 3] –
Listening + Demo + Discussion:
Circuit Bending
If you are presenting a fixed audio file please upload a copy of your final composition to the class Box folder, by 10am on MON, FEB 3 using the following naming convention for your final piece:

first-name_last-initial_circuit_bending.wav
(mp3 or other formats are also fine)

Example: stephanie_s_circuit_bending.wav


WED [FEB 5] –
Reading Response 5 DUE

Lecture: Sound Art

 

WK 6:
No Listening response this week!

MON [FEB 10] –
Reading Response 6 DUE

Listening + Discussion: Beats with Daily Sounds
Please upload a copy of your final composition to the class Box folder, by 10am on MON, FEB 3 using the following naming convention for your final piece:

first-name_last-initial_daily_beats.wav
(mp3 or other formats are also fine)

Example: stephanie_s_daily_beats.wav

WED [FEB 12] –
Sound Art Presentation DUE
Please export to PDF and name them accordingly:
first-name_last-initial_artist-name.PDF

Example: stephanie_s_zimoun.PDF

WK 7:
Listening Response 6:
DUE 11:59pm, SUN, FEB 16

 

MON [FEB 17] – No Class (President’s Day)

WED [FEB 19] –
Reading Response 7 DUE

Lecture: Ethics + Copyright
Overview Project 5:
Samples Sampling Samples

 

FRI [FEB 21] – Book Report DUE
(only students enrolled in 4 units)

 

WK 8:

MON [FEB 24] – Final Project Proposal DUE

WED [FEB 26] – Individual Meetings
Book Response Audio DUE
(only students enrolled in 4 units)

 

WK 9:

MON [MAR 2] –
Listening + Discussion:
Final Project Update

WED [MAR 4] – Testing + Workday

 

WK 10: 

MON [MAR 9] –
Final Project Iteration One

WED [MAR 11] –
Final Project Presentations

 

 

BOOK OPTIONS:
(students enrolled in 4 units only)

Pop
Mo’ Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove, Ahmir Thompson and Ben Greenman

Hip Hop
Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation, Jeff Chang

DJing
Last Night a DJ Saved My Life, Bill Brewster

Folk
Singing Out: An Oral History of America’s folk music revivals, David King Dunaway, Molly Beer

EDM
Generation Ecstasy, Simon Reynolds

Recording studio
All you need is ears, George Martin, with Jeremy Hornsby

Metal
Louder than Hell, Jon Wiederhorn, Katherine Turman

Noise
Noise/Music: A History, Paul Hegarty

Experimental
A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music, George Lewis

Women in electronic music
Pink Noises: Women on Electronic Music and Sound, Tara Rodgers

Critical studies
The Audible Past, Jonathan Sterne

Radio and Podcasts
Out on the Wire: The Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio, Jessica Abel

Film
Lowering the Boom: Critical Studies in Film Sound, Jay Beck, Tony Grajeda

Foley
The Foley Grail, Vanessa Theme Ament