“Electronic Music” (CP1720 & CP1730)

Instructor: Taylor Brook (taylor.brook@gmail.com)
Office Hours: By appointment only

The two term course “Electronic Music” (CP1720 & CP1730) is an introductory exploration of the tools and techniques involved in composing music with computers. It focuses on creative music making, but also on analytical listening of important electroacoustic and mixed means works. In addition to creating two original compositions (one for each term), students are expected to complete short creative assignments, as well as write a theory and listening test. 

The fall semester (CP1720) essentially revolves around purely electronic pieces (i.e., electroacoustic or acousmatic works). Topics include: fundamentals of sound, digitizing sound, basic studio techniques, microphones, digital signal processing (DSP), and introductory MIDI. The main tool is the digital audio workstation Logic (and Reaper?) and its plugins, along with AudioSculpt. At the end of the term, students present a 5 minute electroacoustic composition in a public concert.

The spring semester (CP1730) builds on the first semester by adding live instrumental performers to the mix. Logic remains our principle tool and we will as explore its more advanced features. Given the presence of a live musician, issues of synchronization, electronic vs instrumental sound relationships, and live sound reinforcement are also addressed. The final project consists of a 5 minute composition for electronics and one live instrument, presented in a public concert. The choice of instrument will be discussed as the year unfolds.


• Gain an introductory knowledge of the acoustic repertoire
• Understand the fundamentals of sound and digital audio
• Fully grasp the main techniques for recording and editing sound in Logic Pro
• Clearly comprehend the audio signal routing chain (i.e., from Logic to the loudspeakers)
• Compose an original (and interesting) multi-channel acousmatic work

• Gain an introductory knowledge of the mixed-means repertoire
• Fully grasp the fundamental techniques for recording in mono and stereo with external microphones in Logic Pro
• Gain a basic understanding of MIDI, Timbre, Synthesis, and Spectral Techniques.
• Compose an original (and interesting) multi-channel work for live performer and electronics
• Know how to effectively explain and notate electronic parts in performance scores


30% Short Assignments (3 assignments, 10% each)
20% Final Test
50% Final Project and Performance

20% Recording Project
20% Final Test
60% Final Project, Performance, and Score (see spring semester schedule)

IMPORTANT: All work must be turned in on time. The grade of an assignment submitted late will be cut by 50%. Work submitted more than a week late will not be accepted and receive the grade of 0%. The final performance is mandatory; non-participation will automatically result in a failing grade. Only absences for extremely serious reasons (sickness, family emergencies, etc) will be accepted. 

There is no required equipment since you can all use the studio computer. If, however, you have a personal computer with Logic Pro X (v10.2.2) you may use it, but need to periodically transfer your work to the studio computer for evaluation. 

Required Textbook
There is no required textbook, though students will frequently need to consult (free) online resources. 
Class Website https://www.taylorbrook.info/msm-electronic-music
You are be required to consult the class website on a weekly basis.

Student Attendance
Students are expected to attend every class. In the event that a student must miss a class due to religious observance, illness, or family emergency, instructors may strongly encourage that students complete additional assignments to help make up for lost class participation. Whenever possible, students should provide advance notification of absence. Students who miss class without instructor permission should expect to have their grade lowered. 

Academic Integrity
Students are responsible for the full citations of others’ ideas in all research papers and projects; they must be scrupulously honest when taking examinations, and must always submit their own work and not that of another student, scholar, or internet agent. Any breach of this intellectual responsibility will not be tolerated.