CCOG for MUC 201 Spring 2024

Course Number:
MUC 201
Course Title:
Analog Modular Synthesis
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Introduces theories and techniques for electronic music creation with analog and modular synthesizers. Prerequisites: (WR 115 and RD 115) or IRW 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement or instructor permission. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students will be able to:

  • Articulate theories and techniques of sound synthesis.
  • Identify the key parts of a modular synthesizer, their functions and interrelationships.
  • Define the different types of synthesis.
  • Independently patch a modular synthesizer.

Course Activities and Design

  • Lectures
  • Individual and group projects
  • Assignments
  • Exams and quizzes
  • One on one instruction

Outcome Assessment Strategies

  • Instructor and peer review of student projects
  • Evaluation of assignments
  • Exams and quizzes

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Basics of Analog Synthesis

  1. History of modular analog synthesis
  2. Theories of modular synthesis: analog and digital, modules and patching, voltage control
  3. Key parts of a modular synthesizer, their functions and interrelationships (power source, oscillator, filter, envelope, amplifier, sequencer, logic controller, clock etc.)
  4. Overview of synthesis techniques
    1. Switching modes and modulating parameters
    2. Sequencing
    3. Clock signals
    4. Feedback loops
    5. Oscillators/LFOs versus dedicated clock
  5. Overview of Modulation
    1. FM, AM, RM, SSBM (or frequency shifting)
  6. Rhythm in electronic music; liberation of time from meter; rhythm and the electronic medium
    1. Broken clock patterns and polyrhythms
    2. Non-grid sequencing
    3. Chaotic systems and feedback
    4. Algorithmic rhythm generation
  7. Combining control voltages
    1. Obtaining complexity from simple signals
    2. Deriving simplicity from complex signals
  8. Granular Synthesis
    1. Delay
    2. Reverb
    3. Spectral Processing
  9. Analog computation and digital logic
    1. Building patches
    2. Rectification
    3. Voltage mirroring
    4. Slew limiting
    5. Bouncing balls
    6. Envelopes