Monthly Archives: January 2014

Assignment 01 listen-record-listen

For this assignment you will need the means by which you can record and playback sound, a way to playback the recorded sound over speakers or with headphones, a notebook, pen, and approximately 20-30 minutes to complete the first part of the listening recording exercise. Ideally you will have a means to capture photos too.

Tools needed:
1 portable, high fidelity recording device.
iPhone/iPod Touch v2 or later will work
Portable recorders are available from the 8th floor monitor
High capacity digital voice recorders usually do not have the fidelity necessary for this assignment.
Pen and paper

Go outside to a location (other than Washington Square Park) where you can sit for 20 minutes. Note the time and location. After approximately 3 minutes have passed (after you are accustomed to your new surroundings), start the portable recorder and record for no more than 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes of recording stop and save the file. Please do not take notes while recordings as you may add sounds of writing.

When the recording is finished, take notes of the sounds you hear: How many sounds are present? What are they? Describe the sounds. Draw the sounds if needed. Be specific with regards to frequency, intensity/loudness, timbre, duration, and how the sounds change over time.  Apply vocabulary from the reading.

Go inside to a quiet place where you can talk and record yourself. If working in groups, each person must record him/herself. Start the recording, identifying yourself and the room you are in, and say something you would say the same way in any room.  For example count to 10 and recite the alphabet. Repeat this process in two rooms; one small (dorm, apartment, closet) and one very large (concert hall, lecture hall, gymnasium).

Listen to the recording of the outdoor environment. Again take notes about what you hear. How many sounds are present? What sounds are they? Describe the sounds in terms of frequency, amplitude and spectrum. Also be specific about how sounds change over time.

Listen to the recording of your own voice. Does it is sound different to you? How so? Be specific.  What about the different rooms?

Report your findings, reflections to your blog:

Answer the above questions as complete thoughts in formal English using an essay format. You need not include your listening notes in their entirety, but cite them as needed for your discussion.

Analyze and discuss the differences between your notes from the live listening situation to the notes taken while listening to the recording, trying always to relate your findings and observations to the theory discussed in class and the demo sessions.

Post your recordings if it supports the points you make in your blog post. Also consider posting photos of your recording locations and/or drawings.
Posts are due:
Online before our next meeting.
Put the links to your posts as comments at the bottom of this assignment.


Course Description (spring 2014)

Albert Description:
A general introduction to the fundamental concepts of music technology, including: sound propagation, the principles of microphone operation, the use of speakers & mixers, the MIDI standard & its implementation, the basics of digital systems, waveform editing & audio file formats & compression. The lectures will be complemented by practical assignments & demonstrations, through which students will gain a basic understanding of how to use technology to enhance & demonstrate their musical work.

Instructor Description:
This class is meant to help student develop a deeper understanding of music technology via three areas of focus:

1. Introduction the scientific concepts at the root of Music Production Technology

2. Development of formalized critical listening and analysis skills as they apply to music technology and music production

3. Rudimentary application of music production and research methodologies via video production

Weekly presentations and discussions will be supplemented by extensive reading as well as hands-on assignments.  Students will be expected to take on challenges that will required developing new skills and understandings as their projects come to fruition.   Students will conclude the semester with a video presentation of a research topic or original music production.   At that time they will have gained  at least rudimentary skills in all of the fundamental areas of music technology.  Successful students will overcome technical challenges and gain a new respect for their own abilities to engage new topics and technologies.


I will assume in this class that you are reasonably comfortable with mobile computing devices and personal computers (knowledge of how to open change and save documents, such as word or finale, move documents around on the computer as well as email and internet applications).   I do not assume and prior experience with with any specific electronics or music technology.  That said, I expect those who do not have experience to engage each topic and assignment with intensity and vigor such that essential understanding is quickly acquired.

Reading and Sources

Spring 2014:
Required Reading:
Understanding and Crafting the Mix, by William Moylan
ISBN-10: 0240807553
The Producer as Composer, by Virgil Moorefield
ISBN-10: 0262514052

Online Reading:

Suggested Reading:
Sound and Recording, by Rumsey and McCormick
Computer Music Tutorial, by Curtis Roads

Grading Ruberic

Spring 2014:
Assignments & Labs                  28%   weekly experiments and/or reports posted on blog
Attendance & Engagement   28%   arrive on time, answer some questions, ask many
Mid-term Exam                            20%    approx. 10 questions, short essay answers
Final Report & Video                 24%   3-5 minute video

Tentative Schedule of Topics

Tentative schedule of topics


In Class Topic




Intro, Sound, Waves


online, Moylan



Amplitude vs Loudness

online, Moylan




online, Moorefield


Mixers, Mixing

Mixer Proof

online, Moorefield, Molyan


Digital Signals


online, Moylan



Reverb Experiments/report

online,  review


Mid-Term exam (20%)

Choose work to analyze



Critical Listening

Critical listening exercises




Analysis exercises



Plotting, Notation, MIDI

Reproduction project 1



Recording Tech

Project outline



Sampling and Looping

Arranging via loops

amen break, Moorefield, self assigned



Project draft

TB303, Moorefield, self assigned


Audio Effects, Remixing

Final draft/Script/shot-list

Moorefield, self assigned


Video Presentations

Edit and share final video