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Class Proposal – Introduction to Analog Synthesis

August 15th, 2006 by David Kronemyer · No Comments

Long ago, before MIDI, when dinosaurs still roamed the earth, there was something called “control voltage.” Discovered independently in the early 1960s by Bob Moog and Don Buchla, control voltage enables the musician to vary the pitch of an electronic oscillator over a range. It can be multiplied, divided, inserted, inverted, diverted, reverted, and many other things, too. It also can affect the operation of filters, envelope generators, amplifiers, and other electronic components. This class is about analog modular synthesis – the art of manipulating control voltage to achieve pleasing musical results. We will begin with the fundamentals of sound generation, then proceed forward to more advanced topics. Lab work will be an integral part of the course. Each student will be expected to compose, record (and, depending upon time constraints, possibly perform) an original musical work of approx. three minutes in length, using only “true” analog equipment. Thus, you may not use: midi, sound modules, samplers, or any of the faux analog equipment that lately has invaded the marketplace (through some of it is rather nice). Furthermore, the piece must be rendered as a continuous musical work; thus, overdubbing and multi-tracking will not be allowed (however, the use of analog sequencers is perfectly acceptable and, in fact, will be encouraged). Compositions may (attempt to) simulate other instruments, or be purely aleatoric, or both, it’s up to you. DAWs are OK, but for recording only. Each student will have enough lab time to accomplish the above. Your course grade will be based on the originality and execution of your composition, to be determined by myself and possibly several other faculty members.