Music 8: Assignment 3

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

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

Due Date

Tuesday, May 9. (But OK to show it on Thursday, May 11, too.)

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


This assignment combines two different techniques into one project: Using a controller like the Matrix sequencer to create sequences, and creating sample instruments using the NN19 and the NN-XT sampler.

Assignment Goals

  • Demonstrate the ability to create sample instruments from basic samples using  the Reason samplers (NN19 and NNXT).
  • Demonstrate the use of the Matrix sequencer to control devices in the Reason rack.


  • Use at least one NN19 sampler and one NN-XT sampler. (Optionally use more than two samplers if you wish.)
  • On each sampler, create an instrument that you build from individual samples.
  • At least one of the two instruments must use a minimum of 6 key zones. This instrument must make use of “pitched” samples (e.g. – notes like C2, F#3, and so forth) and you must adjust the “root keys” to be within the respective key zones and to match the pitch of the samples. It is normal – and expected here – that you will use the same type of sound (e.g. – trumpet, etc.) in all six key zones.
  • On the NN-XT your sample instrument must use velocity layers in some manner – using different samples at different keyboard velocities.
  • On the NN-XT your sample instrument must also create a “layered” sound somewhere on the keyboard – where two samples play simultaneously on the same keys.
  • Be prepared to explain the construction of your sample instruments – what samples are used, etc.
  • After you finish building your sample instruments, set up different sequences on the two matrix sequencers to control two synths. The two synths may either be the NN19 and NNXT from the previously described portion of this assignment or they could be two different synths, such as Subtractors.
  • Additionally you must:
    • create a 30-60 second sequence using your instruments in your rack. This sequence could simply consist of your two samplers being played by patterns from their respective Matrix Pattern Sequencers and switching among patterns based on the series of pattern numbers you enter in their respective pattern lanes. Optionally, you could create something more complex, perhaps adding additional tracks and instruments to those required by this assignment. For example, instead of controlling your samplers with the Matrix Pattern Sequencers, you could add a couple of Subtractors (or other instruments) and control them with the Matrix sequencers.
    • Add at least one additional “part” that you play on the keyboard – using one of the above instruments or some other instrument that you add to the rack.
    • Add signal processors if desired.
    • Use additional instruments if desired.
  • Save the project as “Firstname Lastname 3.”
  • Save individual instruments in your folder on the hard drive of your computer.

There are no limitations on what type of music may be used for the project. The piece may be an original composition, an arrangement, a recorded improvisation, etc. Your grade will be affected by factors including following the project format outlined above, the accuracy of your performance (i.e., pitch and rhythm), the appropriateness of the sounds selected, and other musical aspects. While creativity and musicality will count, the primary factor will be the technical quality of your project.


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

  • Creating all required parts of the assignment
  • Explaining the techniques you used, particularly on the sampler.

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.


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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