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The Music of Sound: Strategies and Tools for Creating Music with Digital Audio Dr. Daniel Hosken Assistant Professor of Music Technology California State University, Northridge Presented at the CMEA/TI:ME Annual Meeting Pasadena, CA March 12, 2003 Contents Motivation Why Not MIDI?

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the music of sound strategies and tools for creating music with digital audio

The Music of Sound: Strategies and Tools for Creating Music with Digital Audio

Dr. Daniel Hosken

Assistant Professor of Music Technology

California State University, Northridge

Presented at the CMEA/TI:ME Annual Meeting

Pasadena, CA

March 12, 2003

contents
Contents
  • Motivation
  • Why Not MIDI?
  • Brief History of Sound Composing
  • Steps in a Sound Composition Project
  • Types of Sound Composition Projects
  • Software for Recording and Manipulating Digital Audio
motivation
Motivation
  • Composition is a fundamental musical skill
  • Traditional methods require music literacy
  • Composing with sound is an alternative
  • Useful for future listeners and future musicians
  • Techniques are in wide use in popular music
  • Related techniques can be found in sound design for film, TV, and other media
why not midi
Why Not MIDI?
  • MIDI is note based
  • MIDI sequencers privilege bars/beats
  • MIDI obscures properties of sound
  • Easily accessible techniques privilege repetition and accretion over development
history of sound composition
History of Sound Composition
  • Limited editing in early recording media
  • 1930s: experiments with turntables
  • 1940s–50s: development of tape recording
    • Musique Concrète (Schaeffer in Paris)
    • Elektronische Musik (Stockhausen in Cologne)
    • Tape Music (Luening and Ussachevsky at Columbia)
  • 1950s: advent of computer music
  • 1960s: synthesizers
  • 1980s: MIDI, cheap synthesizers, PCs
  • 1990s: All in software, Interactivity, Multimedia
steps in a sound composition project
Steps in a Sound Composition Project
  • Acquiring Sound
    • Libraries
    • Custom Recording
    • Synthesis
  • Creating a Plan
  • Choosing a Tool
  • Composing
  • Evaluation and Revision
types of projects
Types of Projects
  • Collage
  • Soundscape
  • Text Piece
  • Remix
  • Sound Design for Multimedia
collage
Collage
  • Record items in pocket or classroom
    • Perhaps use “like” sounds (e.g., paper sounds)
    • Strike, shake, rattle, drop, break the objects into mic
  • What are the properties of these sounds?
    • Pitch: high, medium, low
    • Loudness: loud, medium, soft
    • Timbre: descriptive terms (e.g., “bright, sharp”)
  • How might sounds be organized in time?
    • Rhythm: fast, slow and regular, irregular
    • Plan property “trajectories” to create phrases
  • How might phrases be organized (i.e., form)?
    • Introduce simple concepts such as ABA
collage examples
Collage Examples
  • Bajon’s Collage (Art Student)
  • Bajon’s Audio-Video
  • Devin’s Collage (Art Student)
  • Melanie’s Collage (Music Student)
  • Damon’s Collage (Music Student)
soundscape
Soundscape
  • Record a “Sound Walk”
    • Find a variety of environments
  • What are the characteristics of these environments?
    • Ringing vs. Dry
    • Natural sounds vs. Artificial sounds
  • “Compose” a new environment
    • Juxtapose different spaces and events
    • Use environments to create a narrative
text piece
Text Piece
  • Record a reading of poetry or prose
    • Perhaps use different languages and reading styles
  • Manipulate and process the text
    • Changes of pitch/speed
    • Reordering of words or phonemes
    • Cut into unintelligible chunks of pure sound
  • Create a new reading or an abstract sound piece
    • Enhance existing meanings
    • Create new meanings
    • Organize pure sound as in collage
text piece examples
Text Piece Examples
  • Dorothy’s Text Piece (Music Student)
  • Agnes’ Text Piece (Music Student)
  • Damon’s Text Piece (Music Student)
remix
Remix
  • Acquire sound
    • Use sound from CD
    • Record the band, orchestra, choir, etc.
  • Identify phrases and sections
  • Create a new version of the piece
    • Reorder phrases
    • Create new repetitions
    • Delete elements (perhaps just one beat!)
    • Cut into abstract sounds and treat as collage
    • Combine elements from different pieces
remix examples
Remix Examples
  • Jon’s Remix
  • Matt’s Remix
sound design
Sound Design
  • Watch scenes from film/TV and identify elements
    • Dialog
    • Music
    • “Foley” and Sound Effects
  • Digitize or otherwise acquire a video clip without sound
  • “Spot” the video for foley and effects
  • Acquire sound
    • Custom Recordings
    • Libraries
    • Synthesizers
  • Manipulate sound and “Sync” sound to Digital Video
sound design examples
Sound Design Examples
  • David’s “Whoosh-Slam”
  • Clay’s “Whoosh-Slam”
  • Clay’s Star Wars
  • John’s Star Wars
software for digital audio
Software for Digital Audio
  • Desired Features for Software
    • Mono or stereo recording
    • Multi-track (for layering sounds)
    • Cut, Copy, Paste
    • Effects: Pitch shift, time stretch, filters
  • $$ Software $$
    • Most commercial sequencers (e.g., Cubase, Logic, Performer, Cakewalk, Sonar, Nuendo)
  • Free Software
    • Pro Tools Free (Fits Specs)
    • Sonicworx Artist Basic (Stereo Editor)
    • SoundHack (Sound Processor)
a quick tour of pro tools free
A quick tour of Pro Tools Free
  • Edit Window View (modes, tools, track)
pt free tour
PT Free Tour
  • Transport
pt free tour20
PT Free Tour
  • Mix Window
pt free tour21
PT Free Tour
  • “Plug-in” List
pt free tour22
PT Free Tour
  • Pitch Shift (example of “Plug-in”)
pt free tour23
PT Free Tour
  • Tools: grabber, I-beam, trimmer, fade
pt free tour24
PT Free Tour
  • Volume and Pan Edits
contact info
Contact Info

Email: dan.hosken@csun.edu

Website: http://www.csun.edu/~dwh50750/