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Introduction to MIDI & Synthesis
MUS 181-01  Fall semester 2005
TR 3:30 to 4:45 PM - Coulter 374

Instructor: Dr. Bruce H. Frazier, Coulter 254, 828-227-2400
Email address:
Office hours: CAT 110b, MWF 9:00-9:50 AM, Coulter 254, TR 2:00-2:50 PM, and by appointment

Friday, December 16, 12:00 to 2:30 p.m.

"The MIDI Manual" by David Miles Huber
Rental from the bookstore

Additional Sources
"Finale," software manual from Coda software.
Available as a PDF file on the computers in the Music Tech Classroom, CO 374
"Performer," software manual from Mark of the Unicorn.
Available for use in the music tech classroom, CO 374

Grading System

A = 93-100
A- = 90-92
B+ = 88-89
B = 82-87
B-  = 80-81
C+ =78-79
C = 72-77
C- = 70-71
D+ = 68-69
D = 62-67
D- = 60-61
F = below 60
(For more information refer to the WCU Undergraduate Catalog.)

Graded Elements

Participation 10%
Quizzes 20%
Projects 30% 
Exams 40%


Music Tech Classroom Hours (Coulter 374)
(Subject to Change)

8:00-11:00 PM
7:00-10:00 PM
7:00-10:00 PM
7:00-10:00 PM
7:00-10:00 PM

More Information

What is this class about?
MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is a special data format created so that electronic music instruments can easily communicate with each other,  This course is a beginning class about computers with music using MIDI.  We will survey various music software programs, MIDI devices, and synthesis techniques used in contemporary music technology.  Featured software include Reason, Digital Performer, Garage Band and Finale.  The Kurzweil K2000 is the primary MIDI controller, though others may be demonstrated.

Although this is a laboratory class, lecture based on the reading material will be an integral part, so careful attention to note taking applies.

What materials will I need?
In addition to the text, you will need a binder with paper for note taking and handouts.  Some assignments and quizzes may be submitted as computer files.  You will have access to a computer in Coulter 374 lab.  You should create a personal folder in the "Student Folder"  on this computer. In addition, you can pick-up and drop-off assignments in the appropriate folder on the Coulter 374 server.  The Appserver may be used to transfer files from your home computer as well.  You should back up your work often.  You should have DVDs and CDs with you for this purpose.  Keep them in a protective case.

What is expected of me ?
* Participation.
Attendance and participation are important.  The effectiveness of this class is dependent on sharing of ideas among ourselves.   If you need to be absent for any reason, please let me know in writing or by email.  This includes any field trip forms.  These must be signed by me before the event. After three unexcused absences (a week of class) your overall letter grade will be lowered by a full letter grade per subsequent absence.  Punctuality is a courtesy.  Students arriving late to class will not be allowed to take any quiz in progress and will lose grade points. Material in addition to the assigned readings will be presented in class so careful attention to note taking applies. (For more information about university policy regarding attendance, please refer to the WCU Undergraduate and Graduate Catalogs.)

Is there aWeb CT link?
Yes. A WebCT account has been established for this course.  This is a site for online resources that can assist you in learning material for this class.  Assignments and quizzes will be posted on this site.  To access the site, type the web address  into the URL box of your web browser.  You will prompted for a username and a password.  Your Username is your first initial in lowercase, your last initial in lower case followed by the last four digits of your Social Security Number. (ex: bf1234)  Your Password is your complete Social Security Number.  After logging on, click the Course Title (MUS 469/593).  It will take you to the Web CT home page. The links should be self-explanatory.  To access quizzes, click the "Assessment" button, and then click the assigned quiz link.  Call me if you have problems at 828-227-2400.

Several projects covering a variety of computer-music skills will be assigned the semester.  Sample projects are listed below.

A - Composition - create a variety of original compositions using available hardware and software
B - Looping - create original loops for inclusion in loop-based software programs such as Reason and Garage Band
C - Sequencing - prepare and perform a MIDI orchestration from a notated score.
D - Synthesis - create unique sounds using synthesizers and sytnhesis software.
E - Sampling - create a palette of sounds sampled from an acoustic source.
F - Arranging - write a composition for MIDI ensemble
G - Notation - prepare a score and parts for performance or publication (in combination with sequencing software)
H - Define and complete an equivalent project

Tentative Schedule - Fall 2005

August 25 - Introductions and overview. The MIDI station and the Kurzweil Synthesizer

August 30  What is MIDI; Garage Band
Reading assignment: Huber, Introduction, Forward, and Chapter 1

September 1 - Garage Band software

September 6 -MIDI 1.0
Reading assignment: Huber, Chapter 2

Septermber 8 - Garage Band software
Project 1 (Garage Band) due.

September 13- The Hardware; Performer
Reading assignment: Huber, Chapter 3

September 15 - Performer software

September 20 - The Electronic Musical Instruments - the Kurzweil K2000 VP
Reading assignment: Huber, Chapter 4

September 22 - Performer software
Project 2 (Performer) due.

Septermber 27  - Alternate MIDI controllers - wind and percussion MID TERM EXAM
Reading assignment: Huber, Chapter 4 continued

September 29 - Performer software

October 4 - Sequencing
Reading assignment: Huber, Chapter 5

October 6 - Sequencing contd.  MIDI Librarians and Patch lists
Reading assignment: Huber, Chapter 6
Project 3 (Performer) Due.

October 11 - MID TERM EXAM


October 18 - Music Printing - Finale software
Reading assignment: Huber, Chapter 7

October 20 - Finale software
Project 4 (Notation) Due.

October 25  - Digital Audio in MIDI Production; Reason
Reading assignment: Huber, Chapter 8

October 27 - Reason software

November 1 - Hard Disk Editing Systems

November 3 - Reason software
Project 5 (Reason) Due

November 8 - Multimedia
Reading assignment: Huber, Chapter 9

November 10 - Reason software

November 15- Synchronization
Reading assignment: Huber, Chapter 10

November 17 - Reason software

November 22 - Reason software
Project 6 (Reason) Due

November 24 - NO CLASS - Thanksgiving Holiday

November 29 - MIDI mixing and Automation; Pro Tools LE
Reading assignment: Huber, Chapter 11

December 1 - Pro Tools LE

December 6 - NO CLASS, Reading day

December 8 - The MIDI 1.0 Specification (Last day of Class)
Reading assignment: Huber, Chapter A (page 223)
Project 7 (Pro Tools) Due

December 16, 12:00 Noon- 2:30 PM- FINAL EXAM

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