This Course at MIT

This Course at MIT pages are part of the OCW Educator initiative, which seeks to enhance the value of OCW for educators.

Course Overview

This page focuses on the course 21M.380 Music and Technology: Sound Design as it was taught by Dr. Florian Hollerweger in Spring 2016.

In this course, students learned how to build sounds and sound effects from scratch, using the open-source graphical programming environment Pure Data (Pd). They also learned how to analyze and synthesize sounds and encapsulate them in dynamic sound objects that can be embedded into computer games animations, movies, virtual environments, sound installations, and theater productions. Their work was guided by Andy Farnell’s book Designing Sound.

Course Outcomes

Course Goals for Students

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  1. Reflect upon and analyze everyday sonic experiences and articulate them to others.
  2. Design and implement computer music applications using essential sound synthesis and programming techniques.
  3. Identify suitable synthesis techniques to develop a design strategy for a specific sound design problem.

Possibilities for Further Study/Careers

This course prepares students for projects and further study in games, film/video, theater, music, and other fields that employ sound.

Curriculum Information

Prerequisites

None

Requirements Satisfied

  • GIR
  • HASS

Offered

21M.380 Music and Technology is offered every fall and spring semester, with topics that vary each term. The Sound Design topic has been taught each spring for the past few years, alternating with a fall course focused on recording techniques and audio production.

 

Instructor Insights

Our process is similar to the work of visual artists, who have always tried to recreate and represent the world around them using various media and tools. Painters use bushes. Sculptors use hammers. We use a programming language.

— Florian Hollerweger

 

Assessment

Grade Breakdown

The students' grades were based on the following activities:

The color used on the preceding chart which represents the percentage of the total grade contributed by written responses to readings. 5% Written responses to readings
The color used on the preceding chart which represents the percentage of the total grade contributed by two quizzes. 20% Two quizzes
The color used on the preceding chart which represents the percentage of the total grade contributed by final project in four parts (FP1-FP4). 25% Final project in four parts (FP1-FP4)

Instructor Insights on Assessment

Read Dr. Florian Hollerweger’s insights about assessing student learning.

Student Information

16 students took this course when it was taught in Spring 2016.

Breakdown by Year

Mostly undergraduates

Breakdown by Major

Students tend to come from a variety of majors, with a significant number from computer science and engineering.

Typical Student Background

Students typically have an interest in the intersection of sound and technology, and the uses of sound in creating environments.

 

How Student Time Was Spent

During an average week, students were expected to spend 12 hours on the course, roughly divided as follows:

In Class

3 hours per week
  • Met 2 times per week for 1.5 hours per session; 25 sessions total; mandatory attendance.
  • Class sessions included brief lectures, group work, discussions, and hands-on sound design experiences.
 

Out of Class

9 hours per week
  • Written assignments
  • Preparation for quizzes
  • Sound Design exercises
  • Pure Data assignments
  • Recording/editing assignment
  • Final project
  • Consultation with instructor during office hours
 

Semester Breakdown

WEEK M T W Th F
1 No classes throughout MIT. Office hours scheduled. Class meeting scheduled. No session scheduled. No session scheduled.
2 Class meeting scheduled. Office hours scheduled. Class meeting scheduled and an assignment due. No session scheduled. No session scheduled.
3 No classes throughout MIT. Office hours scheduled. Class meeting scheduled. No session scheduled. No session scheduled.
4 Class meeting scheduled. Office hours scheduled. Class meeting scheduled and an assignment due. No session scheduled. No session scheduled.
5 Class meeting scheduled. Office hours scheduled. Class meeting scheduled. No session scheduled. No session scheduled.
6 Class meeting scheduled and an assignment due. Office hours scheduled. Class meeting scheduled and an assignment due. No session scheduled. No session scheduled.
7 Class meeting scheduled. Office hours scheduled. Class meeting scheduled and an assignment due. No session scheduled. No session scheduled.
8 No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT.
9 Class meeting scheduled. Office hours scheduled. Class meeting scheduled and an assignment due. No session scheduled. No session scheduled.
10 Class meeting scheduled. Office hours scheduled. Student presentation scheduled. No session scheduled. No session scheduled.
11 Class meeting scheduled. Office hours scheduled. Class meeting scheduled and an assignment due. No session scheduled. No session scheduled.
12 No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. Class meeting scheduled. No session scheduled. No session scheduled.
13 Class meeting scheduled and an assignment due. Office hours scheduled. Student presentation scheduled and an assignment due. No session scheduled. No session scheduled.
14 Class meeting scheduled and an assignment due. Office hours scheduled. Class meeting scheduled. No session scheduled. No session scheduled.
15 Class meeting scheduled and an assignment due. Office hours scheduled. Student presentation scheduled and an assignment due. No session scheduled. No classes throughout MIT.
16 No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT.
Displays the color and pattern used on the preceding table to indicate dates when classes are not held at MIT. No classes throughout MIT
Displays the color used on the preceding table to indicate dates when class meetings are held. Class meetings
Displays the symbol used on the preceding table to indicate due dates. Due dates
Displays the color used on the preceding table to indicate dates when no class session is scheduled. No class session scheduled
Displays the color used on the preceding table to indicate dates when student presentations are held. Student presentations
Displays the symbol used on the preceding table to indicate office hours. Office hours