CCOG for MUS 170 Summer 2024

Course Number:
MUS 170
Course Title:
Music Technology: Beats and Basics
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Introduces music technology for musicians and music majors. Covers software-based recording with a focus on the construction of beats and melodies. Presents a foundation in MIDI, sequencing, signal processing, and applied production. Introduces history of electronic music. Recommended: MUS 110. Audit available. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores.

Addendum to Course Description

Per the MSA Advisory Board, the MUS 170, 171 and 172 courses utilize a consistent DAW and outboard controller. In consultation with the Advisory Board, the SAC has selected Ableton Live for the MSA program DAW and the Push for the MSA program controller.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  1. Compose projects using fundamental ideas and practices of electronic music.
  2. Describe and explain artistic and aesthetic choices made in the composition of electronic music with regard to cultural and historical assumptions, associations, traditions, and conventions, and to one's own voice, style and/or identity.
  3. Use current technologies to demonstrate an understanding of electronic music history.
  4. Notate music using technology, utilizing both standard notation and other graphic alternatives.

Integrative Learning

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to reflect on one’s work or competencies to make connections between course content and lived experience.

General education philosophy statement

The study of music provides the opportunity to experience the art form both as listeners and as creators. It is an expression of culture developed from rich historical traditions, each with unique aesthetic and artistic values reflected through organized sound.

Course Activities and Design

  • Electronic Music Composition Projects
  • Complete exercises for the purpose of learning the function of music technologies
  • Engage in group discussions and evaluations of musical works created by established composers and peers
  • Instructor demonstration of music technology and place it within historical and cultural contexts
  • Create artist statement reflecting one's own process and its relationship with the processes and works of others

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Grades will be determined by measuring student competency in the related subject matter. Methods used to determine competency might include:

  • Practical Examinations
  • Quantitative/Qualitative Examinations
  • Individual Projects
  • Group Projects
  • Peer reviews/Evaluations

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)


  • The early pioneers
  • Magnetic tape
  • Musique Concrete
  • Introduction of computers

MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface)

  • Basic MIDI Terminology
  • MIDI Hardware
  • Interfacing Instruments and Computers
  • MIDI Event Lists
  • Sequencers and Sequencing Software


  • Notation and MIDI Language
  • Step Entry Methods
  • Real time Entry
  • Editing and Layout Basics
  • Format Guidelines
  • Transposition and Transposing Instruments


  • Basic Wave forms
  • Low Frequency Oscillators
  • Frequency Modulation
  • Algorithms
  • Sound Parameters
  • Computer-Based Synthesis


  • Conversion and Sampling Rates
  • Loops
  • Basic Manipulation
  • Software-Based Sampling
  • Formats


  • Equalization
  • Limiting and Compression
  • Reverb
  • Cut and Paste Tools
  • Punching-In
  • Synchronization Codes
  • Multi-Tracking
  • Digital File Formats