MUC7447 :: Advanced Seminar in Electroacoustic Music
Adventures in Electro-Expiation

Syllabus - Fall 2007 (preliminary)

Composition and research in advanced topics in computer music.

Ghazala, Reed. Circuit Bending: Build Your Own Alien Instruments.
(Wiley Publishing Inc., 2005). ISBN: 0764588877
Collins, Nicolas. Handmade Electronic Music: The Art of Hardware Hacking.
(Routledge, 2006). ISBN: 0415975921

Material Required:

    (n) recording media for projects
    (1) Your choice of gear to bend (check with Dr. Sain first - we'll discuss in class)
    (1) Quality soldering iron
    (n) misc. parts for building of sensors (resistors, potentiometers, leds, bend sensors, wire, etc.) - check locally at Radio Shack or online (see below)

Optional Materials:
    (1)Plastic fishing tackle box for your "stuff" (Wal-Mart "Plano" brand is one such tackle box, get size to your needs and desire to carry around)
    20% Class Participation (see Remember #4)
    20% Listening Presentations
    30% micro compositions
    30% Final Project

Office: Office 304/Lab 147/Studio 340
Office Phone No.: 392-0223 ext.240
Office Hours: see schedule
Contact: Dr. James Paul Sain [email]
Graduate Assistant: Jorge Variego [email]
Graduate Assistant: Chet Udell [email]
Listserv (closed):


1) All listening assignments are selections from the Music Library Listening Area; please plan your time accordingly. A lack of planning on your part does not necessarily constitute an emergency on the part of the library support staff.

2) All exams are comprehensive.

3) Late work is not accepted.

4) Attendance is required at all classes. Should a class be missed, it is the student's responsibility to see the lecture notes from the missed class are obtained from a classmate and any work assigned completed by their return (a class list will be supplied to help facilitate this policy). After three (3) class absences your grade will be lowered one grade increment for each absence after three (ie A to B+, or C to D+). Your grade will be lowered one grade increment for each Unbalanced Connection concert missed.

5) The Electroacoustic Music Studio will be reserved at a posted time for use by each electroacoustic music student. Additional time is possible by sign-up every two weeks. Each studio user has a five minute grace period after which the studio will revert to open use; the open use time will be available on a first come, first served basis.

6) Sign-in/out is required when using either the lab or studio. You must return the studio to the normal condition after each use or your use privileges will be removed.

7) Plan early for your final project...things have a way of happening at the last minute.

8) The requirements, emphasis, and timing of this course may be changed or adjusted to meet the specific needs of the class as determined by the instructor.

9) All students of The University of Florida are expected to conduct themselves in a reasonable and professional manner at all times as described in the Student Honor Code; please refer to The Code for specifics.

10) UF Software Coppyright Policy (12 May 1994): All faculty, staff and students of the University of Florida are required and expected to obey the laws and legal agreements governing software use. Failure to do so can lead to monetary damages and/or criminal penalties for the individual violator. Because such violations are also against the University policies and rules, disciplinary action will be taken as appropriate.

11) UF Counseling Services - Resources are available on-campus for students having personal problems or lacking clear career and academic goals which interfere with their academic performance.

    These resources include:
    1.University Counseling Center, 301 Peabody Hall, 392-1575, personal and career counseling;
    2.Student Mental Health, Student Health Care Center, 392-1171, personal counseling;
    3.Sexual Assault Recovery Services (SARS), Student Health Care Center, 392-1161, sexual assault counseling;
    4.Career Resource Center, Reitz Union, 392-1601, career development assistance and counseling.

12) Students requesting classroom accommodation must first register with the Dean of Students Office in Peabody Hall. The Dean of Students Office will provide documentation to the student who must then provide this documentation to the Instructor when requesting accommodation.

13) My office door is always open; please feel free to drop by to discuss class issues as the need arises.

    Grading Scale:



(look here for assignment handouts as the semester progresses)

Course Outline

    Week 1
    • No Class - Classes started on Thurs.

    Week 2 (Aug 27)

    • Getting Started
    Week 3 (Sept 3)

    • Introduction
      Week Off - Labor Day

    Week 4 (Sept 10)

      Ghazala: Part 1 - Chapters 1-4 (pp. 1-27)
      Ghazala: Part 2 - Chapters 5-7 (pp. 29-82)
      Collins: Part 1 - Chapter 1-2 (pp. 3-10)

    Week 5 (Sept 17)

      Ghazala: Part 3 - Chapter 8-9 (pp. 83-130)
      Collins: Part 2 - Chapter 3-10 (pp. 11-58)

    Friday, Sept. 21, 2007 UnBalanced Connection 40, MUB 120 at 7:30 p.m.

    Listening Presentation 1

    Week 6 (Sept 24)

      Collins:Part 3 - Chapter 11-17 (pp. 59-110)

    micro composition 1

    Week 7 (Oct 1)

      Collins: Part 4 - Chapter 18-24 (pp. 111-162)

    Week 8 (Oct 8)

      Collins: Part 5 - Chapter 25-26 (pp. 163-178)

    Week 9 (Oct 15)

      Ghazala: Part 3 - Chapters 10-12 (pp. 131-196)
      Collins: Part 6 - Chapter 27-30 (pp. 179-210)

    Friday, Oct. 19, 2007 UnBalanced Connection 41, MUB 120 at 7:30 p.m.

    Week 10 (Oct 22)

      Saratronics Synthesizer: Part 1

    micro composition 2

    Week 11 (Oct 29)

      Saratronics Synthesizer: Part 2
      Rehearsal for UnBalanced Connection concert of seminar works

    Listening Presentation 2

    Appointments for discussion of final project

    Week 12 (Nov 5)

      Ghazala: Part 4 - Chapter 12 (pp. 197-206)
      Final Rehearsal for UnBalanced Connection concert of seminar works

    Outline for final project due

    Friday, Nov. 9, 2007 Unbalanced Connection 42 - "SEAMUS Electroacoustic Music Month Event," MUB 120 at 7:30 p.m.

    Week 13 (Nov 12)

      Week Off - Vetran's Day

    Week 14 (Nov 19)


    microcomposition 3

    Week 15 (Nov 26)

    • Review and individual assistance on finishing touches of final project

    Listening Presentation 3

    Week 16 (Dec 3)

    • Performance and discussion of final projects

    Listening Presentations: Presentation of assigned listening (can contain review material from CD jacket and other sources as appropriate); grade based on content as well as presentation quality to include handouts, excerpts, and multi-media (PowerPoint, etc.). As in previous semesters, the prose should contain a written critique of compositions on the listening list. These typed reports should contain ample and objective prose describing the works on the listening list demonstrating an understanding of the techniques used to produce the work as well as the aesthetic of the composition. Usually a substantive paragraph, or so, should be sufficient.

    micro compositions: These projects are to be handed in on appropriate media and should be of the highest quality in presentation (CD labels, program notes, program book, biography, and parts/score where applicable).

    UNBALANCED CONNECTION CONCERTS: All students are required to participate in the Unbalanced Connection concerts on Sept. 21, 2007, Friday, Oct. 19, 2007 and Friday, Nov. 9, 2007 (SEAMUS EA Month). Students are encouraged to have compositions presentable for performance on one or more of these concerts. All students will be required to set-up (beginning at 4:30p), attend, and tear-down for each of these concerts. The concerts will be held in MUB 120. Please clear your schedules early to avoid a conflict.

    Final Project: Creative work to demonstrate an understanding and application of the principles and aesthetics discussed and experienced during the course of the semester. All final projects will be considered for performance in the Annual Florida Electroacoustic Music Festival in the spring (April 10-12, 2008). These projects will be retained/archived. Do not hand in your only copy.

    Safety Hints: Always keep several back-up copies of your work on multiple disks; if you have a personal Macintosh you may wish to keep one copy on your personal hard-drive. Do not use the labs'/studio's hard-drives as personal storage devices. All drives are regularly cleaned of all unauthorized software, files, and documents. Do not reorganize any software on the platforms in either the Computer Aided Music Instruction Lab (MUB 147) or the Electroacoustic Music Studio (MUB 340). Please sign in and out each time you use the studio or lab.

    Hearing Safety: It is very important that the student of electroacoustic music be aware of the listening environment in which they are working. The studio environment can, if used improperly, subject the listeners ears to unhealthy sound pressure levels. For more information and links to web sites about hearing health click here .

- last update 17 August 2017 -