Instructor’s Course Guideline – Winter 2008

Instructor: Daniel Dugas
Course:MADT.203 - Sound I
Office #:
Office Hours: By appointment after 5PM on Thursday

download guideline 119kb


This course is a hands-on studio introduction to sound as an artistic medium with an emphasis on the history and tools of electronic music and an examination of the nature of sound and/or noise. The course introduces artistic strategies; narrative structures and compositional methodologies for the creation of interactive sound installation, sound sculpture, networked media, and live performance projects. Students will investigate digital synthesis programs, sampling, MIDI compositional environments, and live recording with focus on the basics of digital audio design and composition. Students will be encouraged to engage with all ranges of sound and music – from contemporary popularized and persistent models to historical modes, from radical to innovative musical avant-garde, from complexity to simplicity, from creation to invention of tools or electronic musical instruments. Students will utilize a wide range of digital technologies in the production and post-production of their works for real time, digitized output, installation, radio or the web.


Upon successful completion of this course the student will have developed their knowledge and experience of sound as art. The student will have investigated resources (e.g. synthesizers, sequencers, mixers, filters, editing software, sound processing, compositional software, digital samplers) and methods, tools and software, and produced critically resolved and technically proficient works and/or projects.


Evaluation and assignment of grades will be based upon the quality of work produced relative to the objectives of the course. Specific criteria will be stated in writing and distributed by the course instructor normally by the end of the first week of instruction.

Projects / Assignments

Students will be evaluated on assigned work. Evaluation and assignment of grades will be based on the successful completion of assignments and on the student's commitment to the objectives of the course.

Evaluation will be based upon the following breakdown:

Project 1: Building a music instrument10%

Project 2: field recording - sonic journey

Project 3: databaseaudio + demo 10%

Project 4: MIDI 10%

Project 5: List of Numbers 10%

Project 6: Sounds of Dinosaurs 10%

Project 7: Melody 10%

8 QUIZ 15%

9 Attendance and participation: 15%

Total 100%

Attendance Policy: All classes are mandatory.


Present to the class a sound clip or a video clip that you have heard orseen on the Ubu Web Sound. You have chosen this item because you find it inspiring, curious, engaging, an important piece of sound history, etc. The presentations will begin sharply at 9 am. They should be short, 5 - 10 minutes maximum.

JAN 17 Aaron B
JAN 24 Marlena B
JAN 31 Kevin D
FEB 7 Patrick D
FEB 14 Larry D
FEB 28 Jeremy J
MAR 6 - No presentation
MAR 13 Vector K, Brittany L
MAR 20 Jeffrey M, Tomas M
MAR 27 Maegen N, Jordan P
APR 3 Jacob S, Darren S
APR 10 Jennifer V, Tiffany W
APR 17 - No presentation
APR 24 - No presentation

Late assignments:

Assignments will be posted on your blog on the date as indicated above. Assignments late without valid reason, and without consultation with the instructor, will be penalized by one grade point for every day late past the due date.(e.g.: A becomes A-, etc.) An informal mid term evaluation will be given.
Have fun!
Questions are welcomed at all times.


Luigi Russolo: The Art of Noises(PDF), Futurist Manifesto, 1913

Varèse: The Liberation of Sound, 1936

Edgard Varese: The Idol of My Youth, Frank Zappa - 1971

Kim Cascone 'The Aesthetics of Failure' 2000

Plunderphonics, or Audio Piracy as a Compositional Prerogative, 1985

Kim Cascone: Laptop Music counterfeiting aura in the age of infinite reproduction

The Oblique Strategies

Brian Eno Oblique Strategies

R. Murray Schafer: The Soundscape, Our Sonic Environment and the Tuning of the World - 1977, 1994
Destiny Books, Rochester, Vermont ISBN: 0-89281-455-1


download timeline - last update 13 01 08

JAN 10
AM: Syllabus, The earplug test, Audio basics, Free software website

PM: assignment 1:
Create a physical instrument. Come back at 3:30 pm to show and explain your piece to the class - discussions

JAN 17
Sign up for OURMEDIA
Sign up for SPINXPRESS
Sign up for BLOGGER

Demo: Basic Audacity - Input, editing, trimming, output
Reading: Luigi Russolo: The Art of Noises, Futurist Manifesto

JAN 24
Reading discussion
Lecture: History of sound: DADA, Varèse, Pierre Schaeffer, Ubu web sound
Demo: Microtrack
Review from O'Reilly - nov 2005
Demo: Types of Microphones
SoundTransit website
Quiet American website
Acoustic Ecology website
Field recording: Wild Landscape
Handout excerpts: Soundscape: Murray Schafer
How to build your own Binaural microphone
How to build your own hydrophone

assignment 2:
Go out and record a sonic journey through various locations

JAN 31
AM: Present assignment 2: sonic journey

Demo: IXI, Argeïphontes Lyre, Spears, Soundtrack
assignment 3:
Go to the databaseaudio website, choose a freeware and create a sound piece with it. You will show your piece on February 7 and give a demo to the class.
Reading: Varèse: The Liberation of Sound, 1936

Reading discussion
Present assignment 3: databaseaudio + demos
SCREENING: Forbidden Planet, The Theremin, Moog

PM: Lecture MIDI, what is it and what can you do with it

FEB 14
SCREENING: Pierre Hébert and Bob Ostertag video + Rider sheet


FEB 28
Deep Listening
Oblique Strategies
view: The Zen of Screaming (DVD): Vocal Instruction for a New Breed
assignment 4:
Make a sound piece that is created with MIDI information only.

PM: Individual Meetings

AM: Visit Cantos
Reading: Plunderphonics, or Audio Piracy as a Compositional Prerogative

MAR 13

Reading discussion
Present assignment 4: MIDI

Lecture: Remix and Copyright
Show: Plunderphonics, Good Copy Bad Copy, Targets, Creative Commons
assignment 5:
Create a sound piece with a list of numbers

MAR 20
Present assignment 5: list of numbers
Lecture: Sound Effects
Show: Funny Noises for the Connoisseur

Experimentation in creating sound effects.
assignment 6:
In Jurassic Park the sound of the Dilophosaurus was made by combining a swan, a hawk, a howler monkey, and a rattlesnake together. In this assignment you will create 3 dinosaur sounds made up of a blend of various sounds.
Reading: Kim Cascone 'The Aesthetics of Failure'

MAR 27
AM: Reading discussion
Visiting artists
Lecture: Laptop music

PM: Individual work time

Present assignment 6: dinosaur sounds
Lecture: Distribution - Internet and CD Baby model
- List of record labels
assignment 7:
Create a sound piece that deals with the idea of melody

APR 10
PM: Individual work time

APR 17
AM: Quiz

APR 24
AM: Present assignment 7: Melody

College/Program/Department Policies and Procedures

Students and faculty should refer to the College’s website for up to date information concerning academic and campus regulations. Students and faculty are responsible for familiarizing themselves and complying with all College policies, procedures and regulations as well as specific Program and/or Department regulations as distributed. Program regulations will normally be distributed within the first week of classes.

Storage of Student Artwork

Due to the lack of space to store artwork, all student work must be removed from the College by Thursday, December 21, 2006. Any artwork remaining may be disposed of. Please review Disposal/Storage of Student’s Work attachment.

Fine Arts Department

Instructors are responsible for providing students with feedback on their progress in a Fine Arts course at or before the mid-term of the semester so that students may, on the basis of instructor feedback, make an informed decision to continue or withdraw from the course.
All students whose progress at mid-semester is not satisfactory, must be informed by way of an official “Warning Letter”. The instructor, through the Registrar’s Office, issues warning letters to the student.
It should be noted that it may not be possible to accurately determine a letter grade by mid-term for certain classes. In these instances, faculty should provide feedback as indicated in the second or third choices listed below.
In the spirit of this process, warning letters are most useful to students when issued to them at or before mid-semester, though faculty may choose to issue a “Warning Letter” to a student who is failing to achieve course objectives at any time during the semester.
Fine Arts Departmental Academic Regulations – Grading Procedures – Evaluation
Faculty teaching a Fine Arts course or courses may choose from any of the following methods in order to abide by the College’s grading and progression procedure 500.07.1:
A faculty member may post the grades of a class, providing it is done in such a manner that students in the class can only determine their own grade from the posting.
A faculty member may provide a written evaluation for each of the students in the course. The written evaluation must go only to the student being evaluated.
A faculty member may choose to meet individually with each of the students in the course in order to provide verbal feedback on each student’s progression.

MADT Department

• All MADT instructors will provide students with a clear indication of their academic standing at mid-term;
• Depending on the nature of the courses, this may or may not include grades, but will always indicate excellent, satisfactory, or unsatisfactory progress; and
• In the case of unsatisfactory progress, students will be sent a letter advising them of their failure to meet the standards required in the course.