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Effective: Summer 2015
MUS 84CMUSIC COMPOSITION FOR GAMES4 Unit(s)

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)

Description -
Composing, orchestrating, and implementing music for games and interactive multimedia. Fundamental composition and orchestration techniques for strings, brass, woodwinds, and percussion. Mixing and mastering finished compositions for optimal interactivity. Industry-standard workflows for interactive music implementation with sophisticated audio middleware solutions. Hands-on experience with professional examples of game music on desktop, console, and mobile platforms.

Course Objectives -
The student will be able to:
  1. Install and troubleshoot complex DAW systems including modern orchestral virtual instruments.
  2. Compose, orchestrate, mix, and master music for games and interactive media.
  3. Design sophisticated dynamic music playback systems using audio middleware.
Special Facilities and/or Equipment -
  1. When taught on campus:
    1. Classroom with 31 digital audio workstations and appropriate software.
    2. 31 Apple Macintosh computers or equivalent running appropriate operating system.
    3. Projection system for video and multimedia content.
    4. Loudspeaker system to accurately reproduce audio examples.
  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.
    4. Digital audio workstation and appropriate software.

Course Content (Body of knowledge) -
  1. Study and analysis of music composition for games.
    1. The History of the Orchestra (Lec, Lab)
    2. Composing and sequencing for Strings (Lec, Lab)
    3. Composing and sequencing for Brass (Lec, Lab)
    4. Composing and sequencing for Woodwinds (Lec, Lab)
    5. Composing and sequencing for Percussion (Lec, Lab)
    6. Mixing and mastering finished compositions (Lec, Lab)
    7. Creating stems from mixed compositions for optimal interactivity (Lec, Lab)
    8. Implementing stems using audio middleware (Lec, Lab)
    9. Playtesting game levels to assess effectiveness of music implementation (Lec, Lab)
Methods of Evaluation -
  1. Written assignments that analyze music composition and orchestration techniques.
  2. Tests on composition, orchestration, sequencing, mixing, mastering, and implementation as presented in the course materials.
  3. Multiple projects delivering completed music compositions demonstrating understanding of class material and assignments.
Representative Text(s) -
Paul Gilreath. The Guide to MIDI Orchestration. Waltham, MA: Focal Press, 2010.
Schütze, Stephan. FMOD Studio 101. Victoria, Australia: Sound Librarian Pty. Ltd., 2013.

Disciplines -
Music
Commercial Music
 
Method of Instruction -
  1. Lecture presentations and classroom discussion of the techniques for composing music for games.
  2. In-class viewing of historically significant video games followed by instructor-guided interpretation and analysis.
  3. Presentations of major composition projects followed by in-class discussion and evaluation.
 
Lab Content -
Lab content includes topics such as orchestration techniques, sequencing techniques, printing music notation, working with tempo, mixing and mastering, printing audio to stems, exporting file types, and implementation with audio middleware. Other topics may include subjects such as digital audio workstation system configuration and optimization, virtual instrument selection, and plug-in processing considerations.
 
Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing and Outside of Class Assignments -
  1. Written critiques and analysis of music composition projects including classical music, film soundtracks, video games and interactive media.
  2. Written summaries documenting technical and artistic elements for corresponding submitted composition projects.
  3. Hands-on exercises and guided tutorials to practice music composition and orchestration concepts and techniques.