Preparing video…

Introduction to Digital Sound Design

Sounds and music are embedded in almost every aspect of daily life. This course will provide an overview of the fundamental principles of sound and the factors that determine our audio perception. It will also explore techniques of recording, mixing, processing, synthesis, sampling, analysis, and editing of digital audio.

Sessions

Course at a Glance

About the Course

Sound has always been a significant part of human experience. It shapes and transforms our everyday world.  Sounds and music are embedded in almost every aspect of daily life, from communication and artistic expression to commerce, politics, and our social and cultural identities.

This course will provide an overview of the fundamental principles of sound and the factors that determine our audio perception. It will explore techniques of recording, mixing, processing, synthesis, sampling, analysis, and editing of digital audio using freely distributed audio production software for both PC and Mac. Students will also learn an array of sound design and editing techniques for use in film and web-based media, art installations, soundscape creations, or live and internet music performances.

Course Syllabus

Week 1: THE NATURE OF SOUND

Sound

  1. The Human Ear
  2. The Six Properties of Sound
    Pitch
    Loudness and Amplitude
    Timbre
    Perceived Duration
    Envelope and Articulation
    Spatial Location, Diffusion, Reverberant Environment
  3. Timbre and the Overtone Series
  4. Music and the Human Condition
  5. SOFTWARE Tutorial: Sonic Visualizer
  6. Music and the Environment
Week 2: MUSIC TECHNOLOGY - BASICS

Recording

  1. Microphones
  2. Mixer Basics
  3. Digital Audio File Formats
  4. Musical Instrument Digital Interface MIDI
  5. Digital Audio Effects
  6. SOFTWARE Tutorial: Audacity Audio Processing
Week 3: MUSIC TECHNOLOGY - SYNTHESIS
1. Synthesis:
     Oscillators
     Filters
     Envelope Generators
     Modulation with LFOs
     Amplitude Modulation
     Frequency Modulation
     Granular Synthesis
     Physical Modeling

MIDTERM EXAM

Week 4: TUNING AND TEMPERAMENT / SOUNDATION
  1. Soundation Web-based Digital Audio Workstation
  2. Sound Project Using Soundation
  3. Tuning and Temperament
Week 5: DIGITAL AUDIO WORKSTATIONS

  1. Logic Pro (Mac only)
  2. Avid ProTools
  3. Reaktor
  4. Kyma
  5. Hydrogen
  6. Mammut
Week 6: CREATIVE STRATEGIES
Sonification
Sound for Visual Media
Ableton Live
Max
Pure Data
Supercollider
Mobile Interactions

FINAL EXAM

Recommended Background

No background is required; all are welcome!

Suggested Readings

The course is designed to be self-contained.  However, links to original source material, such as articles and papers in conferences and journals, will be provided. 

Course Format

The class will consist of lecture videos of 10 to 15 minutes each. There will also be reading and listening assignments, digital audio recording and design assignments, and exams.

FAQ

  • Will I get a certificate for this course? Yes. Students who successfully complete the class will receive a certificate signed by the instructor.
  • What resources will I need for this class? You need access to a Windows or Mac computer with a built-in microphone. All software used in this course can be downloaded for free and is available for both PC and Mac.