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The Science of Sound: Introduction to Musique Concrète with Audacity part I

October 19, 2019 @ 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm


Registrations are closed.

About the workshop

Musique Concrète was one of the original approaches to electronic music composition, pioneered by Pierre Schaeffer in the 1940s. It relied on recording natural sounds and manipulating them on tape, and its techniques have been incorporated into a wide variety of music ever since, from John Cage to hip-hop DJing/scratching. Today, this approach is no longer dependent on tape recording technology – free audio editing software such as Audacity allows this practice to be explored by anyone with a computer (software information available at https://www.audacityteam.org/).

In this introductory hands-on workshop, participants will:

  • Learn about the history and original tape techniques of traditional Musique Concrète, and their ongoing application in both avant garde classical music and popular culture.
  • Hear examples of how composers have used these techniques to create electronic music
  • Learn how to install and configure the free Audacity software on their laptops
  • Learn the basic techniques of audio editing (cutting, splicing, mixing) and manipulation (pitch/time shifting, reverse, effects)
  • Create their own compositions using found sounds, the aesthetic principles of Musique Concrète, and the powerful editing capabilities of a modern audio editing tool.
  • Learn about how to use these techniques in other contexts, and about other software and educational resources available to expand their practice of electronic music.

About the Science of Sound workshop series

The primary purposes of this series is to provide introductory-level, hands-on instruction in electronic music making over a range of approaches and to demystify electronic music and electronic music composition. This workshop series is not centered around learning specific technologies or electronic music generating equipment as such, or learning the newest technologies for their own sake; instead, they will learn how to learn new tools. Particular technologies and applications introduced in the series will play a supporting role in teaching participants the fundamentals of sound and the physics of sound as it pertains to experimental and electronic music making.

This workshop series is divided into four sections covering the various approaches contemporary electronic musicians and composers take regarding the technologies they prefer to utilize:

  • Fundamentals of physics, mathematics and music
  • Introduction to coding and open source computer applications
  • Exploring electronic music equipment and gear (pedals, controllers, field recording equipment, etc.)
  • Using the iPad to make music

This workshop series is supported by an Arts Partnership grant from the Ohio Arts Council.

About the instructor

Bbob Drake has been creating experimental music and audio in Cleveland for the last 45 years. From a start as a guitarist, his current focus is on electro-acoustic improvisation in both solo and group settings. His solo work spans a range from “lowercase” or “onkyokei” aesthetics (quiet, minimalist, abstract), to free jazz and more aggressive noise genres. He designs and builds the majority of his own instruments, both electronic synthesizers and original electo-acoustic designs. bbob has lead workshops in experimental electronics for music at Spaces and other venues, and he designs and sells printed circuit boards for DIY synthesizer enthusiasts. bbob’s most recent recorded releases are “Failure Cake” (solo CD) and “Curiouser” (with Cleveland drummer J. Guy Laughlin)