Subject: Re: Mixing it...
From: KEVIN AUSTIN (KAUSTIN@vax2.concordia.ca)
Date: Thu May 13 1999 - 07:10:51 EDT
Douglas, in part, prefaced and asked something like ...
>I had a postgraduate student at Newcastle doing our Music Technology
>course, and following an option in electro-acoustic composition. The
>modules are largely directed study, rather than heavily taught. Her
>background was in engineering though her general musical competence, and
>her singing which was her practical study, were of a very high standard.
>She was into opera and dance music(!). She had enormous difficulty, and
>never did really come to grips with what electro-acoustic music was about.
>What strategies have have you used to try and bridge this gap Matthew?
This, IME, will depend to a large extent on what the ea composition
modules cover. An important aspect of education is making contact with
things which are important to the student.
Douglas doesn't say what is in the modules, how many, the degree of
flexibility and the spoken / unspoken expectations.
Being a GOF (Grand Olf Art), I have always started with the idea that ea
is largely about things which occur below the level of "the note". I have
always felt that students need to learn something about the 'elements' of
the sound(s), many of which are below their "threshold of
discrimination". It should also be directly connected to who they are,
and "concrete" [sic] in nature.
<ug> Oh no! not the 'SSSSS' assignment again!
Yessssssss, the SSSSS asssssignment. The student records her voice (onto
1/4" tape!) and has a physical representation of "sound" in her hands.
With physical activity, she is able to 'make the sound do things'. She is
able to map onto a two-dimensional surface, a relationship betwen the
sounds that she made, the nature of her phsical activity (scrubbing), a
physical location, and sound transformation.
There is also the aesthetic aspect of de-constructing the sound ...
voiced, unvoiced, breath ... a slow motion view of her vocal performance.
The ear and mind are engaged.
The underlying model is:
source -> process -> selection -> output
The model is applicable to almost every part of ea (and music in general
for that matter it would seem).
The source could be a voice, an oscillator (real or virtual), a sample
... The concept of processes (change / transformation) is also important
at many levels: microstructural and macrostructural. Some processes are
visible and have physical aspects, some are invisible and have
For an opera singer, at this point, I would propose a brief study of
Visage. It is visceral, engaging, and easily analysed. There could also
be introduced the concept of (word-)play. Amarkhanian's "Rainbow, Chugg,
To introduce some of the aspects of play regarding psychoacoustics
<?huh>, a careful selection of samples from Bregman / Ahad's ASA
Demonstration CD has been found enjoyable. (It's probably necessary to
translate the descriptions in to english first <<<8-()>>>>!!).
The really cute one of the six-eight "galloping rhythm" (quarter - eighth
: daaa-ta) white noise that starts in mono, and then each part of the
daaa-ta daaa-ta moves to its own channel, the so-called "Streaming by
spatial location" (#38), engages almost everyone.
The "hidden tune" and many other engaging examples are hidden in among
words like: "streaming", "segregation", "within and across",
"perceptual", "cumulative", "spectral peak position", "competition of
frequency seperations in the control of grouping" ...
And to get into "digital", have the student learn to lip-synch to
"Daisy". This not only will bring down the house, but also requires that
a set of existing (and useable) skills be brought to bear on the
acquisition of ea related techniques. (Yes, karaoke ... brought to you by
The strength of this is having the person "feel" mouth-position in
relationship to electronic spectrum. A similar exercise is possible by
having the student sing along with Sheperd (sp?) tones.
Many people won't need these 'physical' enticements and connections, and
they just want to git-dawn an' boogie with Cecile and Mr C-Sahn, but even
they may learn a few things about history, psychoacoustics, basic
precepts of ea, and that complex technology called the human body, along
UNIT (module) two of the course could do the same thing in the digital
domain, where the 'sound' has visual representations. (We use SoundEdit
16 'cos its cheap and gives amplitude and sprectral representations
really easily.) usw
Greater detail is probably the domain of a list dedicated to education,
teaching, pedagogy and sound ... if such a list existed.
And oh, by the way ... There has been a great deal of interest over the
years to discuss ea/cm curriculum ....
To this end, two new lists exists <trudi> and <lecaine>, for the
discussion of teaching ea, and issues related to pedagogy, course design
and implementation, curriculum ... in education for the fields of
electroacoustics, computer music, sound design, sonic art, and electronic
audio arts (including film, video, multi-media, transdisciplinary and
theater arts sound).
The <lecaine> list is designed as a 'Canadian' list, and <trudi> is
designed as an international list. Canadians may want to be on both (as
others may want to join <lecaine> as well.
To subscribe, send the following message:
If you know others who teach and/or would be interested in such a list
devoted to issues of education, pedagogy and curriculum, please pass this
information along. (Could someone post to ICMA, oz-computer, SEAMUS-l,
film / theater / video lists etc.)
Clear skies, (dark at night however), coolish (4 degrees last night), but
warming again over the weekend.
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