Music 25: introduction to sonic arts
What is the relationship between technology and aesthetics? Since antiquity, composers have incorporated new tools to create unique and original artworks. This course will explore the interaction between sound, art, and technology in the recent past. Starting with the birth of electricity, Futurism, and Dada, students will examine the practices and innovations that led to the most current ideas about sonic art, and from here develop contemporary analytical methods for exploring and creating music. Students will be expected to develop a rounded twenty-first-century musicianship through the weekly Tonmeister labs, and the course will culminate in the public performance of an original sonic arts composition utilizing techniques and aesthetic principles learned throughout the course. Students will be assigned weekly reading, listening, and sonic composition exercises, using commercial music production tools.
REQUIREMENTS AT A GLANCE:
- Three creative assignments using the software we will study
- Short written reflections on listening and writing assignments
- Enthusiastic class participation
At the end of this course you will be able to:
1. Exhibit basic literacy in sonic and musical notation.
2. Understand key concepts pertaining to audio signals, technology, and acoustics.
3. Program / create music using common tools for music production and analysis.
4. Describe Sonic Arts in broader historical and cultural frameworks.
5. Compose and perform original sound art.
Week 1: Noise and Technology
1/5 Tuesday: What is Sound Art? (Good question)
Reading: Luigi Russolo, “The Art of Noises Futurist Manifesto”, Henry Cowell “The Joys of Noise”
Listening: Henry Cowell, The Banshee (1925)
IN CLASS: Russolo http://www.ubu.com/sound/russolo_l.html
Introduction to Audacity
Week 2: The Soundscape
Reading: R. Murray Schafer, The Soundscape, Parts III and IV; John Cage, “Credo, the future of music”, Douglas Kahn, Noise Water Meat, pp. 161 – 165;
Listening: R. Murray Schafer, Vanscape; Toshiya Tsunoda Small Sand-Stream on a Beach
Upload Listening and Reading Reflection Response 1 to Canvas before class
Audacity lesson: cutting and arranging.
Reading: Barry Truax, “Sound, Listening and Place: The aesthetic dilemma”, Organized Sound, Vol. 17, 03, December 2012, pp 193 – 201;
Listening: Cage, William Mix
PROJECT 1 DUE Soundscape. Upload your visual score (either pdf of jpg) and reflection paper to Canvas by Wednesday at 11:59 pm.
Week 3: Musique Concrete
Reading: Eric Drott, “The Politics of Preque Rien”, in Sound Commitments: Avant-Garde Music and the Sixties, edited by Robert Adlington, pp. 145 – 164.
Listening: Luc Ferrari, Preque Rien No. 1
Audacity: Recording techniques.
Upload Listening and Reading Reflection Response 2 to Canvas before class
Reading: Pierre Schaeffer, “Acousmatics”, Don Ihde, “The Auditory Dimension”
Listening: Pierre Henry, “Variations pur une porte et un soupir” (1963).
Week 4: Amplification
Reading: Seth Kim-Cohen In the blink of an ear: toward a non-cochlear sonic art, pp. 1 – 30.
Listening: Muddy Waters, I feel like going home; Steve Reich, Pendulum Music; Hildegard Westerkamp, Into the Labyrinth; Berio, Thema (Omaggio a Joyce)
Project 2 Workshop and Critique
1/28 Thursday: Microphones
Reading: Friedrich Kittler, “The Gramophone”, in The Sound Studies Reader; Mara Mills, “Media and Prosthesis”
Listening: Karlheinz Stockhausen, Microphonie 1; Velvet Underground live performance (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBruudQ9bgE)
Download Ableton Live
Week 5: Space
Reading: John Durham Peters, “The Telephonic Uncanny and the Problem of Communication”; Michele Hilmes, “Radio and the Imagined Community”; Brandon Labelle, Acoustic Territories, excerpts
Listening: Xenakis, Pithoprakta; Marianne Amacher, Head Rhythm 1;
Upload Listening and Reading Reflection 3 to Canvas
Reading: Dick Higgins, “A Child’s History of Fluxus”, Allan Kaprow “How to Make a Happening”
Listening: Lamonte Young, The Well Tuned Piano; Nam June Paik, TV Bra for Living Sculpture (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3G3XomkkTPY); Gyorgi Ligeti, Ramifications;
Week 6: Synthesis
Reading: Tara Rodgers, “’What, for me, constitutes life in a sound?’ Electronic Sounds as Lively and Differentiated Individuals” (American Quarterly, Sep 2011, Vol. 63(3), pp. 509-530); Trevor Pinch and Frank Trocco, “Shaping the Synthesizer”
Listening: Jonathan Harvey, Mortuous Plango, Vivos Voce; Pauline Oliveros, I of IV; Karlheinz Stockhausen, Gesang der Jungling; Kraftwerk, Trans Europe Express (1977)
Upload Listening and Reading Reflection 4 to Canvas
Viewing: Mauricio Kagel, Ludwig Van (1969)
In class performances of Pauline Oliveros, Sonic Meditations, Carol Erion, Humming and Whooping.
Week 7: Listening
Reading: Michel Chion, Audio-vision, Part 1
Listening: Merzbow, Wood Pecker; Throbbing Gristle, Industrial Intro; Steven Takasugi, “Letters from Prison”, Matmos, “California Rhinoplasty”
Project 3 due (In Class Happening)
Reading: Don Ihde, “The Auditory Dimension”
Listening: Phillip Glass, Glassworks; Laurie Anderson “O Superman”; Steve Reich “Come Out”;
Week 8: Bodies and Voices
Listening: Robert Ashley, Perfect Lives, part 1; Art Ensemble of Chicago, TBA (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgS_TYh1rO4)
Rick Burkhardt, Great Hymn for Thanksgiving (https://vimeo.com/16750262)
Upload Listening and Reading Reflection 5 to Canvas
Listening: Alvin Lucier, “I am sitting in a room”; Pamela Z, TBA
Week 9: Final Projects
Workshop Final Projects
Workshop Final Projects
Week 10: Final Performance and Workshop TBA