Music 8: Final Project

Contact Info: Dan Mitchell

Office: A15
Email: mitchelldan@deanza.edu
Phone: 408.864.8511

Office Hours: Spring

 Monday thru Thursday
  8:50 am - 9:15 am
  11:20 am - 11:45 am
 (other times by appointment)

Office Hours: Fall & Winter

Monday and Wednesday
  8:50 am - 9:20 am
  11:20 am - 11:50 am
 Tuesday and Thursday
  8:30 am - 9:20 am
(other times by appointment)

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

Description

The final project is a composition created on the hardware and software in the electronic music studio. Generally, it is a sequencer performance, although you may perform parts live if you wish.

Assignment Goals

The purpose of the project is to demonstrate your ability to apply the variety of techniques that you learn in this class to the creation of a piece. It is a practical demonstration of what you know about the hardware and software in our studio.

Format

The project must have a duration of between 3 and 5 minutes. (You may do several shorter projects that add up to this length.) You must receive approval at least 1 week before the due date if your project is going to be longer or shorter than this.

The project must use Reason and Logic, working in concert via Rewire. Your piece must incorporate at least one example of each of the following – best to think of each as being on its own track.

In Logic:

  1. Two (or more) Logic tracks using different Logic software instruments with preset sounds.
  2. On the Logic mixer (or using the Arrange window) set each Logic channel’s volume and panning. On at least two channels volume and panning must change at least once during the piece by way of track automation.
  3. Also on the mixer, make sure that no tracks “peak” and light the peak level indicator. 

In Reason:

  1. Use at least five different Reason synth/sampler modules. Among the five* you must include the following:
    • At least one of the five must use a sound that you designed or created by “tweaking” existing non-sampler Reason instruments such as a Subtractor. Be prepared to open the instrument in Logic and explain how it works.
    • At least one of the five must be a Redrum drum machine part.
    • At least two parts must use the NNXT and NN19 instruments. (You must include at least one instance of each of the two samplers – e.g., at least one NNXT and at least one NN19.)
    • At least one of the NNXT or NN19 instruments mentioned above must use a sound that you create from your own imported and edited sample(s).
  2. At least two Reason effects modules (such as a reverb, delay, etc.) in Reason, connected in series to Reason Synths. 
  3. Automate at least one parameter in Reason – this could be a knob, fader, or other setting on any Reason module.
  4. Record a minimum of four keyboard tracks in the Reason sequencer.
  5. You may add any number of additional tracks and features as necessary.

Integrating Logic and Reason:

  1. At least two Logic tracks that play the sounds of Reason instruments as if they were plugins – e.g. using the External MIDI track type in Logic. (*You could use two of the Reason Parts described in the “In Reason” section above for this.)
  2. Record MIDI events/notes in Logic for these Reason instruments – assign a Logic “External MIDI” track for each of these instruments.
  3. Also in Logic, bring the audio from your Reason rack into the Logic mixer as individual inputs from each Reason instrument via the Hardware Interface in Reason.
  4. Apply at least one type of automation to each of the Logic “External MIDI” track as per above – for example, automate volume.

Regarding the track requirements: Although you must include tracks with examples of each of the resource described above, it is not required that each track play continuously though the entire piece. It is also possible to combine requirements on a single track, but be prepared to explain where and how you did this.

There are no limitations on what style or genre 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.

Important considerations and requirements

While it is OK to incorporate additional resources into your project, including audio clips, your project must consist almost entirely of tracks whose content you created yourself. Projects in which “borrowed” audio tracks and similar material constitute a substantial portion of the completed project may receive a lower grade. (A simple test: Mute all such additional tracks and play your project back. Is it substantially different? Does it not sound like a complete piece? You may have used to many “additional resources” that you did not create yourself.)

If you use vocal recordings in your project, please be sensitive to your audience. If your primary version of your work requires the use of profane, misogynistic, prejudiced, or offensive language consider creating an alternate version for class playback or consult with the teacher before the final exam session playback. 

Practice playing back your composition before the final exam session. You want to make sure that you have all settings automatically configured or that you know exactly how to configure them manually. Turn of the click tracks in both programs, make sure that all tracks play correctly, then do a final “save” of your project.

Be prepared to do a final mix down to mp3 at the last meeting prior to the final exam session. Please bring a memory stick or other media to this session if you want a copy of your piece or of any other files currently stored on your computer.

Failure to submit a final project may result in a failing grade for the course.

Grading

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 and types of tracks.
  • Inclusion of all required components
  • 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! Especially on the final project, you will likely want to make sure that you have plenty of time for careful adjustment and final editing of your piece. 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

Final projects are due at the scheduled final exam date for this class — Consult the course green sheet and course calendar. Be sure to attend all class sessions while working on the project and let the instructor know immediately if you are encountering problems with the studio equipment or the project itself.

Plan on finishing your project before final exam week. The demand for studio time will be intensive during the week preceding finals. Start your project as soon as possible to avoid the last-minute rush. Your project should be finished by your last tutoring session before final exams.

If you have any questions or problems on this assignment please talk to me as soon as possible.


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