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Organization, Regulations, and Courses 2022-23

MUS 25 Sonic Arts I: Machine Music

This course explores the impact of music technology on a century of sonic innovators. From room-sized synthesizers to backpack drum machines, from military vocoders to turntable science, we track how electronic tools have scrambled cultural hierarchies on their path from state-funded radio stations to present-day microchips.  Both sites of radical Black resistance and tools of a Eurocentric elite, electronic instruments have shaped auditory cultures in myriad, divergent ways. Tracing these threads, we’ll touch on the birth of Hip-Hop, Italian Futurists, Afrofuturism, Musique Concrète, American minimalism, Detroit Techno, and much more.

Class sessions move from theory to practice, merging group discussions of repertoire and readings with hands-on sonic experimentation in Audacity and Ableton Live. Students are lent a home studio kit (with an audio interface, midi keyboard,  microphone, and headphones) to compose three sonic art projects throughout the term. Weekly X-hour meetings foster studio-based ear-training skills. Music 25 aims to empower the sonic intelligence in everyone. No previous musical training is required.



Degree Requirement Attributes


The Timetable of Class Meetings contains the most up-to-date information about a course. It includes not only the meeting time and instructor, but also its official distributive and/or world culture designation. This information supersedes any information you may see elsewhere, to include what may appear in this ORC/Catalog or on a department/program website. Note that course attributes may change term to term therefore those in effect are those (only) during the term in which you enroll in the course.


  • Fall
  • Spring