MSM - Intro to Electronic Music Spring Semester
Spring Class 1: Intro and Aesthetics of Mixed Music
Reading: History of Mixed Music Article
Historical Survey of mixed works:
Instrument + Tape
- Steve Reich
Instrument + Amplification
Instrument + Processing
Static or analog control
Davis, Bitches Brew “Bitches Brew”
IRCAM model (early digital)
Boulez, Repons (1981)
Instrument + AI
Instrument + Commercial Software
Instrument + robotics/physical devices
Instrument + Video
Recent Mixed works
Spring Class 2: Notation of Mixed Music and Technical Riders
The Notation of Electronics
There is no standard way of notating electronics. However, the basic principle one should follow is to notate the electronics in a clear and concise way that provides all of the information the performer needs to synchronize and react musically. Each piece using electronics will require a slightly different approach, but the following list of items to consider may help:
• Rhythmic information
• Dynamic information
• Pitch information
• A time code if using click track or clock synchronization
• Graphical representation of the electronic sound
• Proportional notation
• Markings to differentiate sound files from real-time processes
• Loudspeaker assignment of the sound
• Textual description of the sound file or real-time process
• Cue number that links to the devices/software used (ie where new sound files may begin and end or some process is triggered)
Just like the technical rider, the notation of the electronics should present all necessary information clearly in such a way that the work could be realized without the presence of the composer.
Nina Young provides all the basic information in her score and notates the electronics in the score itself clearly and succinctly for the performer. A separate technical rider is provided that goes into precise details and allows the piece to be realized by a third party technician without any additional information from the composer.
violin and tape
Mary Kouyoumjain provides a detailed Technical Rider in her score and notates the electronic component of the piece clearly. The electronic component is largely drone-like in nature, and is provided with a mixture of traditional and graphic notation.
recorder and electronics
Kokoras uses the combination of stopwatch markings with the visual indications of the spectrogram in the score. This is most effective for pieces that do not require precise synchronization but more of a general idea of the electronic sound.
flute, piano, and electronics
Temple notates the electronics in a hybrid fashion - providing notes, words, and rhythms in traditional notation where possible and embellishing this traditional notation with graphic illustrations.
3 voices and computer
More generalized instructions to a technician who acts as a performer of the electronics.
Electronic sounds are worked into the performers staff as smaller notes with triangle noteheads.
Saariaho uses two microphones with different processing and indicated which microphone the singers should be singing into in the score.
ensemble and electronics
Electronics are clearly notated as a separate staff in the score, using a micture of traditional and box notation to synchronize the musicians with the tape part.
Spring Class 3: Microphones + Recording into Logic
Dynamic microphones use thick diaphragms and tend to accentuate the middle range of the frequency spectrum. These microphones tend to be highly durable and do not require phantom power.
Condenser Microphones have thinner diaphragms than dynamic microphones and are therefor less durable but more capable of capturing high frequencies and generally record with a higher fidelity. Condenser Microphones require phantom power to boost the signal for recording.
RIbbon microphones use a long and thin diaphragm and generally provide a more colored or warm quality in their recordings. Ribbon microphones are usually quite fragile and can difficult to use. Ribbon microphones, like Condensers, require phantom power.
Spring Class 4: Perception of Space and Stereo Recording
Mono versus Stereo Recording
Mono = one audio source
Stereo = two audio sources
Stereo Standard Microphone Techniques:
Spring Class 5: Advanced Editing + MIDI
MIDI piano roll in Logic Pro
Spring Class 6: Basic Synthesis
Analog vs Digital Synthesizers
Frequency Modulation Synthesis
Physical Modeling Synthesis
Spring Class 7: Spectral Techniques + FFT based Effects + Cleaning audio
FFT based effects
Cleaning Audio - gating versus filtering versus spectral approaches
Spring Class 8: Preliminary Scores and Recordings Due
Review of scores, recordings, and technical riders.
Week 9: Synchronization (click) + Listening Session
How to synchronize the lie performer with your electronic part
Week 10: Listening session
Listening and critiquing your works in progress as a class
Week 11: Mixing a multi-track concert recording
Balancing room mics and close mics
Compression and Riding