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Effective: Summer 2014

Grade Type: Letter Grade Only
Not Repeatable.
FHGE: Non-GE Transferable: CSU/UC
4 hours lecture, 1 hour laboratory. (60 hours total per quarter)

Description -
Explore the emergence of electronic music styles, instruments and recording techniques as dominant forces in the music world of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Widespread incorporation of electronic instruments in recorded music, television, film and live performance. Development and popularization of portable music synthesizers. Emergence of new musical styles including ambient, techno and trance. The effect of advances in computer technology on the creation, recording and performance of electronic music. Comparison of analog and digital music synthesis techniques. In addition, students will analyze historically significant works of the time period, ranging from academic experiments to popular hits.

Course Objectives -
The student will be able to:
  1. Describe and discuss the history of electronic music from 1970 to the present.
  2. Analyze electronic music instruments and synthesis techniques and their effect on musical content and aesthetics from 1970 to the present.
  3. Identify electronic music styles, instruments and synthesis techniques utilized in music production from 1970 to the present.
Special Facilities and/or Equipment -
  1. When taught on campus: classroom sound equipment for compact discs, audiotape and records, screen, overhead projector, slide projector, VCR and DVD.
  2. When taught via Foothill Global Access: on-going access to computer with Email software and capabilities; Email address; Java-script enabled internet browsing software.

Course Content (Body of knowledge) -
  1. Electronic Musical Instruments in the 1970s
    1. The first wave of consumer synthesizers
    2. Analog modular synthesis
    3. Early digital synthesis
  2. Electronic Music in the 1970s
    1. Top 40 and Disco
    2. Progressive Rock and Jazz/Fusion
    3. "Switched-On" and "Space" music
  3. Electronic Musical Instruments in the 1980s
    1. MIDI and affordable digital synthesis
    2. Home computers and pre-production
    3. Drum machines and sequencing
  4. Electronic Music in the 1980s
    1. Technopop and Rave
    2. Hip-hop
    3. New Age and Ambient
  5. Electronic Musical Instruments in the 1990s
    1. Workstations
    2. Digital Audio Recording
    3. Sampling
  6. Electronic Music in the 1990s
    1. Industrial and Digital Hardcore
    2. IDM (Intelligent Dance Music)
    3. Grunge, Nu-Metal and "Invisible Digital" Production
  7. Electronic Musical Instruments in the 21st Century
    1. DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations) for all!
    2. The return of analog synthesis
    3. Audio manipulation and "Auto-tune"
  8. Electronic Music in the 21st Century
    1. EDM (Electronic Dance Music) goes mainstream
    2. Dubstep, footwork and micro-genres
    3. Virtual instruments in commercial music
Methods of Evaluation -
  1. Module quizzes on each of the topic areas.
  2. Essays in response to prompts that ask for critical exploration of a topic related to the parts of the course or concert reviews.
  3. Final Examination or Comprehensive Project: in-depth analysis of an electronic musician including biography focusing on influences, analysis of music example for structural characteristics, personal impact, interpretation of lyrics, etc.
Representative Text(s) -
Manning, Peter. Electronic and Computer Music. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press, 2013.
Kirn, Peter. Keyboard Presents The Evolution of Electronic Dance Music. Milwaukee, WI: Backbeat Books, 2011.
When taught via Foothill Global Access: supplemental lectures, handouts, tests, and assignments delivered via Email and/or Internet; feedback on tests and assignments delivered via Email and/or Internet; class discussion may be delivered in chat rooms, list-serves, and newsgroups.

Disciplines -
Commercial Music
Method of Instruction -
  1. Lecture
  2. Discussion
  3. Laboratory
Lab Content -
Laboratory activities are provided for students to practice and apply their theoretical knowledge regarding music structural characteristics (rhythm, melody, form, instrumentation, and harmony), genre, and style.
The lab content includes:
  1. In-depth, guided listening to music examples.
  2. Additional opportunities are provided through critical analysis of live concerts, films and documentaries.
  3. Learning is assessed in module quizzes and essays.
Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing and Outside of Class Assignments -
  1. Reading Assignments: Reading of modules for each of the module topics plus online summary.
  2. Writing Assignments: Essays responding to a prompt.