Oct 11th 2016

Survey of Music Technology (Coursera)

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How can we use computers to create expressive, compelling music? And how can we write computer software to help us create and organize sounds in new ways? This course provides a hands-on introduction to the field of music technology as both a creative musical practice and an interdisciplinary technical research pursuit. Students will be able to compose music in digital audio workstation software using both audio and symbolic representations; to write code to algorithmically generate music, analyze sound, and design sound; and to describe the essential theory and history behind these activities as well as their connection to cutting-edge computer music research.

Through the exploration of topics such as acoustics, psychoacoustics, digital sound, digital signal processing, audio synthesis, spectral analysis, algorithmic composition, and music information retrieval, we will explore the deep relationships between art and science, between theory and practice, and between experimental and popular electronic music.

We will learn about these topics in the context of digital audio workstation (DAW) software, the multi-track editing paradigm that has been dominant in music production since the 1980s. As we learn about the foundations behind such software, we will use this knowledge to more effectively create music with it, and we will also write a series of short software programs that extend the software’s ability to manipulate, transform, and analyze sound.


Week 1: Module 1: Introduction and the Basics of Sound

Week 2: Module 2: Digital Audio Workstations

Week 3: Module 3: Working With MIDI

Week 4: Module 4: Algorithmic Composition Basic Techniques

Week 5: Module 5: Algorithmic Composition Advanced

Week 6: Module 6: Future Directions