Basics of Digital Sound Production and Podcasting
Art 3095 Special Topics
Rob Wittig
Summer 2007
Course 88842-002
08:00 A.M. - 12:30 P.M.
M,Tu,W,Th,F (07/23/2007 - 08/03/2007) SBE  17


Philosophy and Goals

Electronic sound files and the ways in which they are created, collected, exchanged, mixed and remixed are leading a transformation in how we think about all of culture. This transformation includes new ways of thinking about the creative process (scholarship and remixing instead of mystical inspiration), the integrity of single works of art (part of a flow instead of solitary monuments), and creative roles (Selector/DJ connoisseur instead of self-created Romantic genius).

In this course we will explore the capture, creation, duplication and mixing of musical and non-musical sound using recent computer technologies. We will also explore the technical and creative aspects of podcasting. By using Apple's GarageBand, students will be introduced to the basic concepts and techniques of music and podcasting production, editing, mixing and remixing.

Students will produce original creative works using these technologies. Emphasis is placed on exploration beyond students' previous experience, rather than in the mimicking of existing creative styles . . . tempting though that may be. Students will be required to work in unfamiliar styles, experiment vocally and instrumentally, and produce new combinations and new sounds.

We will also survey the history of electronic sound recording and electronic music and its associated cultures.

Throughout the course we will step aside to observe and discuss the theoretical and historical of the techniques and cultures we study, and apply them to the students' own creative fields and creative lives.


Course Policies

Attendance and participation in class for the full class period is mandatory. Studio classes provide the oportunity for interchange between student and teacher and among students. This interaction is vital to the learning process and cannot take place when a student is absent. Late arrival or early depature counts as 1/2 an absence.

Process is a crucial part of what you'll be learning in this class. For that reason, you are required to complete, all preparatory stages of each project, including in-class participatory activities. Projects will not be considered complete without all the working stages; you cannot skip any steps.

Evaluation will be based 50% on in-class participation, 50% assignments and finished projects.

Special needs

If you have any limitation which affects your ability to perform in the class, please see me at your earliest convenience to arrange for equitable participation.


Required Supplies

Stereo headphones or earbuds.

A headphone extension cord and a "splitter" or "Y connection" (same thing) that will allow the instructor and fellow students to connect a second pair of headphones to the machine you are working on. These have been ordered via the Computer Corner at the UMD bookstore and should be available by the first day of class. The two items together should cost about $10.

Approximate Class Outline

Week One

Technical: Intro to GarageBand
Theory: Music leads the way
History: Historical Overview; technologies and techniques
Activity: Drum circle
Project: One slow composition, One fast composition

Technical: Recording Software Instruments
Theory: The accordian and standard tuning
History: Synthesized Sound; classical synthesis and early Techno
Activity: Guest recordings; pooling our skills
Project: All-original composition (no loops)

Technical: Recording Real Instruments
Theory: Copy machines; recorded music; remembered culture
History: Samples and sample culture; hip-hop, house, intelligent techno
Activity: Guest recordings; pooling our skills
Project: Mixed-input composition

Technical: Mixing and Remixing
Theory: Mix-and-match culture
History: Les Paul, multi-tracking and remixing
Activity: Live sample sounds
Project: One mix-down of existing composition; One re-mix of fellow student's composition

Technical: Matching tempos
Theory: Dance and ecstatic experience
History: Religious dance, current dance culture
Activity: Drum circle
Project: New composition for all-class uniform-tempo dance CD

Week Two

Technical: Recording Voices
Theory: Talking Machines
History: Radio, word jazz and the role of the MC
Activity: Doing voices
Project: Composition featuring singing/speaking

Technical: Podcast basics
Theory: Broadcasting and narrowcasting
History: Talk on the pod; store-and-forward technologies
Activity: Doing voices
Project: Basic podcast

Technical: Seeking sounds
Theory: Structured sound beyond 4/4
History: Overview history of sound art
Activity: Sound hunt
Project: Sound Composition, sound beds for podcasting

Technical: Podcast and composition project
Theory: Discussion/interviews
History: Discussion/interviews
Activity: Recording and compositon
Project: Final podcast project

Technical: Podcast and composition project
Theory: Discussion/interviews
History: Discussion/interviews
Activity: Recording and compositon
Project: Final podcast project