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Effective: Summer 2015

Grade Type: Letter Grade, the student may select Pass/No Pass
Not Repeatable.
FHGE: Non-GE Transferable: CSU
3 hours lecture, 3 hours laboratory. (72 hours total per quarter)

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Description -
Creating and editing digital audio with Pro Tools and virtual instruments. Avid Pro Tools plug-ins including Boom, Vacuum, Xpand, Structure and Mini Grand. Third party software includes Native Instruments Kontakt, Reason and Ableton Live. History of sampling and loop based compositional techniques. Create, edit, and arrange drum beats. Configure filters, envelopes, modulation, and arpeggiators. Modify all synthesizer parameters to create unique sounds. Utilize Pro Tools MIDI Editor and Score Editor. Analyze variety of musical styles utilizing MIDI and Virtual Instruments for composition and production. Examples from recording artists including The Beatles, Dr. Dre, Michael Jackson, Peter Gabriel, Radiohead, Herbie Hancock, Rachmaninov and Miles Davis. Organize sound libraries for music production, TV, film, websites and video games.

Course Objectives -
The student will be able to:
  1. Describe and explain the design and function of digital music workstations.
  2. Operate a Pro Tools LE system as a production device.
  3. Analyze and appraise musical recordings according to industry standards.
  4. Apply RTAS and Audio Suite effects plug-ins to a Pro Tools session file.
  5. Design and create stereo master recordings.
Special Facilities and/or Equipment -
  1. When taught on campus:
    1. 30 Macintosh computers, MIDI keyboards and MIDI interfaces.
    2. 30 Digidesign M-Box USB audio interfaces.
    3. Video projector and screen.
    4. 30 Pro Tools software installs.
    5. 30 Reason software installs.
  2. When taught via Foothill Global Access:
    1. on-going access to computer with Email software and capabilities.
    2. Email address.
    3. Java-script enabled internet browsing software.

Course Content (Body of knowledge) -
  1. Theory and design of digital workstations.
    1. Integrated workstation design. (Lec, Lab)
    2. Operation of multitimbral synthesizer/sequencer, and sampler/sequencer workstations. (Lec, Lab)
    3. Design and operation of modular workstations using computer control. (Lec, Lab)
  2. Basic multitrack recording in a sequencing environment.
    1. Evaluating and organizing music in a recording context. (Lec, Lab)
    2. Recording and synchronizing tracks. (Lec, Lab)
    3. Mixing and mastering techniques. (Lec, Lab)
  3. Basic CD production.
    1. Mastering CDs. (Lec, Lab)
Methods of Evaluation -
  1. Graded lab assignments in the operation of hardware and software based sequencers.
  2. Tests and problem solving activities using MIDI sequencers.
  3. Preparing advanced digital sequences to an industry standard from a set of specifications for application in a MIDI environment, and evaluated from those specifications.
  4. A graded final project that demonstrates acquired skill in creating and mixing a master audio file and producing MP3 copies to an industry standard.
Representative Text(s) -
Parsons, Alan. Art & Science Of Sound Recording. Hal Leonard Books, 2014.
Other written materials provided by the instructor and delivered online.

Disciplines -
Commercial Music
Method of Instruction -
  1. Lecture presentations that demonstrate the theory, design and practical applications of digital audio workstations and virtual instruments.
  2. Classroom discussions that compare and contrast historical electronic music production techniques with workflows available with modern technology.
  3. Group presentations followed by in-class discussion and evaluation.
Lab Content -
  1. MIDI
    1. Implementation and drivers.
    2. Velocity and aftertouch.
    3. Multiple routing assignments
  2. Virtual Instruments
    1. Layering.
    2. Volume matching.
    3. Panning.
  3. Audio
    1. Tempo matching via time compression expansion.
    2. Elastic Audio.
  4. ReWire
    1. ReWiring secondary applications via insert tracks and bus assignments.
    2. Plug in applications using internal busses affecting external applications.
Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing and Outside of Class Assignments -
  1. Written critiques and analyses of audio production projects including albums, soundtracks, television, video games and Internet multi-media.
  2. Written summaries documenting technical and artistic elements for corresponding submitted assignments and audio projects.
  3. Written proposals, session logs, learning outcomes and reflections supporting submitted musical works and final master recordings.