Composing and Producing Electronic Music 2

Author: Loudon Stearns | Course Code: OCWPR-398

Composing and Producing Electronic Music 2: Techno, Trip Hop, and Dubstep will teach you the necessary tools and techniques to create contemporary electronic music in a variety of styles, including techno, trip hop, glitch, and dubstep. The lessons in this advanced level music composition course feature a series of videos describing musical, DAW, and synthesis techniques appropriate to the style. The videos switch between many of the popular DAWs, and it is the student's challenge to apply the techniqueÂ’s described in the lessons to their chosen DAW. For each style, there will also be a research and analysis component, in which students learn to listen critically and adapt to changes in technology and public musical taste. Students are then responsible for creating a complete piece of music for that style. Work can be done in any major DAW that supports AU, RTAS, or VST instruments, including Pro Tools, Logic, Cubase, or Live, or in Reason*.

Sound design is an integral part of producing contemporary electronic music, so it will be a major focus of this music composition course. We will build on the synthesis lessons from Composing and Producing Electronic Music 1 and introduce sampling as another important tool for sound design using the industry standard Native Instruments Kontakt sampler.

By analyzing and composing in a variety of electronic music styles, the student will gain a deep understanding of many aspects of contemporary electronic music, including beats, harmony, bass lines, groove, melodies, synthesis, audio/MIDI editing, effects processing, sound design, form, performance, and mixing.

By the end of the course, the students will be able to:

  • Compose and produce in various styles of electronic music, including techno, trip hop, glitch, and dubstep
  • Analyze electronic music to keep up on current trends
  • Synthesize the major components of electronic music
  • Understand the main aspects of groove
  • Utilize complex signal flow for creative purposes
  • Layer acoustic and electronic elements
  • Use automation effectively
  • Compose with harmony appropriate to electronic music styles

*Much of the course material is demonstrated with Native Instruments' Massive and Kontakt, which are not supported by Reason. An experienced student can take what is demonstrated in these devices and apply them in Reason. Students opting to take the class using Reason must already have a strong foundation in sequencing, synthesis, and sampling with Reason.

Lesson 1: Introduction and Background

  • Productive Sound Design
  • Advanced Synthesis Terminology
  • Your Digital Library
  • Hardware
  • Harmonic and Inharmonic Sounds

Lesson 2: Techno 1, Percussion

  • History of Techno
  • Techno Song Analysis
  • Dynamic Control of Percussion
  • Percussion Synthesis
  • Building a Techno Groove
  • Sequencing a Techno Groove

Lesson 3: Techno 2, Sampling

  • Techno Techniques and Resources
  • Resampling Synth Gestures
  • Sharing Your Gestures
  • Creating a Sampled Instrument
  • Creating a Kontakt Instrument

Lesson 4: Techno 3, Evolution

  • Techno Form Analysis
  • Ambient Textures
  • Creating an Acid Bass Line
  • Evolution and Automation in Kontakt
  • Completing a Techno Piece

Lesson 5: Trip Hop 1, Loop Recording

  • Trip Hop History
  • Trip Hop Tune Analysis
  • Recording and Layering Real Performances
  • V to I Progression
  • Major and Minor V-I
  • Creating a Trip Hop Groove

Lesson 6: Trip Hop 2, Minor Key Progressions

  • Trip Hop Techniques and Resources
  • Cycle 5
  • Exploring Cycle 5
  • Strong and Soft Progressions
  • Building Your Own Minor Key Progression
  • Kontakt Layering
  • Synthesizing an Electronic Piano Sound
  • Developing a Progression

Lesson 7: Trip Hop 3, Multiband Processing

  • Trip Hop Tune Analysis
  • Lines Through the Progression
  • Trip Hop Bass Composition
  • "Vinylizing" a Groove
  • Multiband Processing
  • Multiband Effects
  • Completing Your Trip Hop Project

Lesson 8: Glitch and Audio Manipulation

  • History of Glitch
  • Glitch Artists, Resources, and Techniques
  • Glitch Tune Analysis
  • Creating Glitch Sounds Through Editing
  • Catch and Release Sampling
  • Glitching an Existing Piece

Lesson 9: Dubstep and Half Time

  • History of Dubstep
  • Dubstep Tune Analysis
  • Dubstep Artists, Resources, and Techniques
  • Dubstep Rhythms
  • Dubstep Synthesis
  • Wobble Bass
  • Dubstep Mix
  • Creating a Dubstep Etude

Lesson 10: 4-Bus Mix

  • Four-Bus Remixing
  • Creating Stems
  • Creating Your Mix Template
  • Template Effects
  • The Bottom Bus
  • Percussion Bus Processing
  • Background Stem EQ
  • Setting Levels
  • Master Bus Processing

Lesson 11: Performances and Transitions

  • NI Traktor
  • Ableton Live
  • DJ Techniques and Resources
  • Mixing Two Tracks

Lesson 12: Mastering

  • Level Meters and Loudness
  • Comparing Peak Level and Average Level
  • Level Conclusions
  • Overall Spectrum
  • Spectra Conclusions
  • Stereo Width
  • Track Analysis

Loudon Stearns

Author & Instructor

Loudon Stearns is an associate professor at Berklee College of Music, a course author and instructor at Berklee Online, and an active media-artist. Within the Contemporary Writing and Production department at Berklee College of Music he prepares students to work as independent composers and producers in a technology-laden music industry. Online, he focuses on the latest electronic music styles and music-technology innovations, showing students how to analyze contemporary styles and use the latest music technology in their own works. An innovator in both education and art, Loudon authored a Massive Open Online Class, "Introduction to Music Production," that has provided high-quality free eduction to hundreds of thousands of students, received an award from the University Professional and Continuing Education Association for "Excellence in Teaching" and received the "Excellence in Media Art" award from the Emerson College Visual and Media Art department.

Holding a Bachelors of Music in Contemporary Writing and Production and Bass Performance from Berklee College of Music, and a Master of Fine Arts in Media Art from Emerson College, Loudon pulls from a broad range of skills in the creation of his own multi-media performances that include live music, projection-mapping, dance, visual art and interactivity. Of particular interest is using the entire world as a performance space by using internet streaming to coordinate numerous performers and audiences on vastly different parts of the globe. The technical and aesthetic challenges of this type of performance are new and exciting and require the sort of broad skill-set that Loudon has developed through his extensive institutional and self education in music, sound, performance, motion graphics, photography, programming, and construction.

Prerequisites

Completion of Composing and Producing Electronic Music 1 or equivalent knowledge and experience is required.


Required Textbooks

None required


Software Requirements

  • A Digital Audio Workstation: Logic, Pro Tools, Ableton Live, FL Studio, or Cubase
  • Native Instruments Komplete 10 or Komplete 10 Ultimate

Mac Users

  • OS X 10.9 Mavericks or higher (click here for system requirements)
  • Latest version of Chrome (recommended), Firefox, or Safari

Windows Users

  • Windows 7 or higher (click here for system requirements)
  • Latest version of Chrome (recommended), Firefox, or Edge

Hardware Requirements

  • MIDI keyboard
  • 2 GB RAM (4 GB recommended)
  • 500 MB hard drive space
  • Speakers or headphones
  • Webcam
  • Internet connection with at least 4 Mbps download speed (http://www.speedtest.net to verify or download the Speedtest by Ookla app from your mobile app store)

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Next Term Starts April 3


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