Music 51: Final Project

Contact Info: Dan Mitchell

Office: A15
Phone: 408.864.8511

Office Hours

Monday & Wednesday
Room A11:
15 minutes before 9:30 Music 1A
10 minutes after 9:30 Music 1A
Room A91:
15 minutes before 12:30 Music 51
10 minutes after 12:30 Music 51.

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


The final project is a composition created with the sequencing software and other equipment in the electronic music lab. It must follow this format. (See very important note regarding the use of samples in the project.*)


  • DURATION: The project must have a duration of between 2 and 4 minutes. If you prefer, you may do several shorter projects which add up to this length. Projects that are shorter or longer than this will receive an automatic grade penalty of a minimum of one full letter grade, unless you request and receive approval at least 1 week before the due dates.
  • AUDIO TRACKS: The project must use at least two AUDIO tracks. Both audio tracks must use source material that has a beat and both must be synchronized to the beat of your project. (2 tracksSee the Important Note on Sampling below on this page.
    • At least one must contain an Apple Loop. It must be an AUDIO loop file – the type indicated by the small blue icon containing the “waveform” image.
    • At least one must contain an audio sample (via Import Audio File…) that fits with the music of your piece.
  • SOFTWARE INSTRUMENT TRACKS: The project must use at least 4 software instruments parts with different software instruments as described below. (7 tracks as described below.)
    • The first three Logic software instrument parts must be individual/different musical parts,  each using a different one of the Logic software instruments. (e.g. – one “instrument” per track using INST 1, INST 2, INST 3) You should use a different instrument sounds for each of these three tracks. (For example, one  track might use a bass, one might use a piano, and a third might uses guitar.) Optionally, you may use more than three such tracks if you want to – three tracks of this type will meet the minimum requirements for this project. 3 tracks)LogicTracksImage
    • In additional a fourth Logic software instrument part must be spread across a minimum of four tracks in the Arrange window. In other words, you will assign the same INST part to four successive tracks that they all use the same plug-in synth or “inst.” Then record a minimum of four musical parts that can share the same sound type on each of these four tracks. (Many students choose to use the multiple tracks for their percussion parts, with one drum instrument per track on each of four tracks – perhaps assigned to INST 4 or similar.) (4 tracks)
  • ORIGINAL “LOGIC BASICS” (VIRTUAL INSTRUMENT) PLUGIN SOUND: The project must included at least one Logic Basics (basic instruments such as the ES1) software instrument track using a Logic software instrument that you design yourself. You must be able to offer a brief explanation of how you modified the sound. (1 track – which may be one of the above tracks)
  • LOOPS, COPIES, ALIASES: In your piece there must be at least one instance of each of the following – and you must be prepared to point them out if asked:
    • Use of an alias.
    • Use of a looping region.
    • Use of an edited copy of a region.
  • VOLUME/PANNING: Mixer volume and panning for every track must at least be set to non-default values. Volume and panning must be automated so that they change as the piece place plays back on at least four tracks.
  • EFFECTS: At least one  effect insert must be selected for each track in the piece.
  • Logistical Details – You must do the following:
    • Name your file (all versions) in the format: LastnameFirstnameFinal. For example, I would name my final project MitchellDanFinal
    • Double check that your project is “playback ready” — click track turned off, cycle turned off, all tracks unmated, etc.
    • Save your file on your local computer as a project in Logic. Under the FILE menu choose Save as Project… Use the same filename: LastnameFirstnameFinal.
  • We will do the following steps together AT THE FINAL EXAM session — you do not need to do them ahead of time.
    • When your project is completely finished… bounce a copy to an mp3 file that you save in your folder. Use the same name for this file that you used for your main Logic file and Logic Project: LastnameFirstnameFinal.
    • Finally, transfer a copy of your entire folder from your computer in the lab to the server – for backup and so that it is accessible at the final exam session, at which projects will be played back from the instructors’ workstation computer.
  • Failure to submit a final project may result in a failing grade for the course.

If you consider all of the parts of this assignment you will see that it must have at least 9 tracks. (Having 9 tracks does not guarantee that you have all of the right kinds of tracks, so check that, too.)

You may use more than nine tracks if you wish.

At some point in the project at least five tracks must play at the same time for one bar or more.

There are no limitations on what type of music may be used for the project – you can create a project in any style you want. The piece may be an original composition, an arrangement , a recorded improvisation, a sound effects piece, etc.

* Important note regarding sampling and audio recordings: While you may sample a variety of pre-recorded audio sources as part of your piece, the final composition must consist substantially and predominantly of music that you created – it must not consist predominantly or substantially of recordings of music created by others. If in doubt, check with the instructor ahead of time. Projects that “step over this line” in the view of the instructor may receive not credit. (Policy begin as of the winter 2008 quarter.)

Assignment Goals

This project demonstrates your ability to create a musical project that uses all of the techniques you have learned in this class.


You will be graded on technical aspects of the assignment. The assignment will not be graded on its musical merits. This includes the following:

  • Correct length
  • Required number of tracks and subsequences.
  • Use of all the required types of tracks.
  • Use of required types of regions.
  • Inclusion of program changes and mixer settings.
  • Accurate rhythm through careful playing, step entry and/or quantizing.
  • No obvious wrong notes.
  • Project plays correctly without manual adjustments at playback.

The musical quality of your piece does not determine your grade. 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.

Due Date

Completed projects are due at the final exam session for this class as listed in the greensheet. All projects will be performed for the class at this time. Attendance at the final exam session is required. (See the course calendar in the syllabus for the scheduled final exam session day and time.)

Let the instructor know immediately if you are encountering problems with the studio equipment or the project itself. Contact the instructor immediately in person, through this web site, by email, or phone (408-864-8511) as soon as you have problems or questions.

Plan on finishing your project before final exam week. Start your project as soon as possible to avoid the inevitable rush as the deadline approaches. Your project should be finished by your last class session during the week before final exams.


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Contact Info: Dan Mitchell

Office: A15
Phone: 408.864.8511

Office Hours

Monday & Wednesday
Room A11:
15 minutes before 9:30 Music 1A
10 minutes after 9:30 Music 1A
Room A91:
15 minutes before 12:30 Music 51
10 minutes after 12:30 Music 51.
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