Project 7 (due Dec 4 at 11:59 PM)


Important dates


Your piece should use techniques you learned throughout the semester. You should make significant use of Nyquist; many of you are familiar with other tools such as FL Studio, Finale, Reason, Ableton, etc., but the goal of this project is to demonstrate your mastery of techniques from this class, so those should be your focus. We expect you to spend time perfecting your piece. It should sound more like 3 to 5 minutes edited down to 90 seconds than a 30 second piece padded out to fill the time. Grading will be based on: (1) basic techniques - control of amplitude to avoid clipping, envelopes to avoid clicks at onsets and endings, use of stereo, effects, reverb, mixing, and in general you should be in control of all sound parameters; (2) effort - not everyone is a great composer, but your work should at least show that you spent time exploring musical and technical possibilities; (3) use of Nyquist - your code should indicate that you have learned how to use Nyquist effectively; (4) musical quality - your piece should be interesting to listen to, achieve the musical goals you describe in your program notes, and generally show some intention and organization (these are vague words because we do not want to say what your piece should sound like); (5) completeness - you should turn in a sound file of appropriate length, program notes, and slide.

Audio Requirements

Submit your audio file in ANDREWID\_p7\_comp.wav. It must adhere to these requirements:

If you compose a longer piece and feel that cutting it down to 120 seconds significantly reduces its quality, you may also submit an extended version, which will be taken into consideration in grading.


In ANDREWID\_p7\_slide.pdf, submit a slide, in the form of a one-page landscape PDF, to be projected while your piece is played. You should include an image in the slide that relates to your music and include the title of your piece, your name, and any additional text you wish. The image can come from anywhere, and does not need to be original work. Keep in mind that text in slides should be large to be legible from the back of the hall. Your complete program notes will be printed in the program, so you do not need a lot of text on the slide. Hopefully, the slides will add an engaging visual aspect to the concert, so please strive for an aesthetic, artistic presentation. If you wish to incorporate a more complex or dynamic visual component, e-mail Danny with your ideas and we will try to work something out.


Include the answers to the following questions in ANDREWID\_p7\_answers.txt:

  1. What is your motivation in this work? Give a short summary.
  2. What special efforts did you make in composing this piece?
  3. What mixing techniques you use in this work? Try to be concise.
  4. What Nyquist programming techniques did you use in this work?
  5. Do you have any additional comments for the graders?
  6. Do you give permission for your piece to be made available online?

Program notes

You should also submit the following in ANDREWID\_p7\_notes.txt:

  1. On the first line: the title of your composition.
  2. On the second line: the name by which you would like to appear in the program.
  3. After that: your program notes. You may use LaTeX syntax if you want to include any formatting.

Extra credit: create a time score

An excellent strategy for finding inspiration for a composition is to analyze existing music that you find interesting. A famous example of this technique is the piano composition "Cheap Imitation" by John Cage. To create this work, Cage examined an existing piece of music, Erik Satie's symphonic drama "Socrate." Cage created a note substitution system to create his score - in every place where Satie had composed a note, Cage would insert a note. The pitch of each note was determined using a table of pitches, and a random operation to select a note from the table. Thus, Cage created a new piece of music while maintaining the rhythm and structure of Satie's music.

For extra credit you may create your final composition using a time score of an existing composition (perhaps something we listened to in class this semester). Your analysis doesn't have to be note-for-note as in "Cheap Imitation" - it can be a broader analysis. What are the different types of instruments or sounds the composer uses? When does each of the instruments and sounds enter and exit? What are the types of processing the composer uses, and how do these evolve over time? How is the music structured in time; are there distinct sections with different emotional feels, or does it slowly evolve from one feeling to another? Create a catalogue of these various elements in the music and diagram them out in a timeline. Now, forget about the piece of music - just focus on the time score you have created. Using your own software, sounds, and mixing techniques, create your final composition using this time score as a map.

For an overview of this technique, here is paper you may refer to which examines graphical representations of time structures in various pieces of music.

Delivering a time score will earn you up to 10 points of extra credit. Your time score will ideally be delivered as an easily readable graphical image, but it could also be a descriptive text. Your time score should include the title and artist info for the work you analyzed. Whether or not you choose to deliver a time score, you may find this to be a good technique for inspiring your work.


Please hand in a zip file containing the following files (in the top level, not inside an extra directory):

  1. Your composition sound file: ANDREWID\_p7\_comp.wav
  2. Your composition source files: in the folder ANDREWID\_p7\_source
  3. Your slide: ANDREWID\_p7\_slide.pdf
  4. Answers to the above questions: ANDREWID\_p7\_answers.txt
  5. Program notes: ANDREWID\_p7\_notes.txt