Music 51: Assignment 5

Contact Info: Dan Mitchell

Office Hours

Monday & Wednesday
Room A11:
15 minutes before Music 1A
10 minutes after Music 1A
Room A91:
15 minutes before Music 51
10 minutes after Music 51

[Music 51 Assignments: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | Final Project]

Due Date

Due Wednesday, February 26 at start of class.


Modify existing instruments (or create your own from scratch) by altering settings on the ES1 and/or EFM1 Logic plugin synths and save them in your folder for possible use in future Logic projects.


You must follow this format. Read it carefully!

  1. Use 5 tracks in Logic, with each assigned to a separate instrument.
  2. Focus on the ES-1 Subtractive Synth – all five tracks may use this particular virtual synthesizer. (Optional: If you wish, you may make two of your sounds using the EFM-1 synth. If in doubt, I urge you to use the ES-1 exclusively since it is a bit more intuitive than the EFM-1. Option 2: If you wish you may add additional tracks that use other virtual synths — but the basic five must be as described above, using the ES1 or the EFM1.)
  3. Manually edit the plugin synth on each successive track, modifying parameters as desired to obtain “interesting” sounds. Save each sound in a folder in your portion of the hard drive.
  4. Save the edited plug-in synth sounds in a special folder (perhaps call it “sounds” or similar) inside your folder (the one with you name on it) on your computer. (Good practice might be create yet another folder inside your “sounds” folder and to then name this folder after the instrument you are using – e.g. “ES1 Sounds”)
  5. I will ask you to tell me a bit about your sounds on the due date. A portion of your grade on this assignment will be based on explaining how you created your sounds. What knobs, switches, faders did you adjust to create them and in what way do you make/change these settings? STRONGLY RECOMMENDED: Keep some notes about this for yourself – and you may consult the notes when you play back your sounds.
  6. For each sound you must be prepared to either:
    • say that you began with an initialized voice, possibly with teacher’s default alterations, in which case you must be able to identify each parameter that you changed and say something about how it affected the sound, or…
    • identify the specific sound that you used as your starting point, and be prepared to identify any settings in that existing sound that have a significant effect on the nature of the sound you use, and explain what you changed and how the changes altered the sound.
  7. Record a short musical example using at least four of your five plugin instruments. Maximum length 60 seconds. No minimum length requirement. You may augment your piece with additional tracks using other sounds.
  8. Label your project file as follows: “yourname #5.” Save it in your folder on the hard disk. Don’t forget to keep a backup on your own disk.

Assignment Goals

Experiment with manual controls on the ES1 and/or EFM1 instrument and create five instruments resulting from sound editing using these controls. Articulate a basic explanation of some of the parameters you altered to create your sound. Create a short musical example using sounds you devised.


You will be graded on technical aspects of the assignment – but I do not expect you really understand all of the details of how the edited plugin synths work at this point; that is a focus of the intermediate class.

The assignment will not be graded on its musical merits. This is especially try if you opt to not make the optional musical tracks using your sounds, in which case you can simply click on a track and demonstrate the sound you created. However, imagination can’t hurt! The assignment description is intentionally vague so that there is room for you to exercise your imagination. Try to come up with an interesting piece within the guidelines of this project.

A late penalty of 1 letter grade per class session is applied to assignments which are handed in late.

For Intro to Electronic Music: Projects must be saved on your classroom computer before the deadline. You will also need to store a backup copy of your work, using one of the methods we discuss in class.

Your grade will be affected if your project does not follow the format outlined above. If your project is nowhere close to following the format, I will ask you to re-do it and hand in the “fixed” version when you finish.

If you have questions or problems on the assignment please let me know right away – in class or by email, or telephone at 864-8511.

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