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Page 00000001 TWO NEW COURSES IN COMPUTER MUSIC PERFORMANCE @ BERKLEE: ALTERNATE CONTROLLERS AND THE TECHNO/RAVE ENSEMBLE Richard Boulanger firstname.lastname@example.org Berklee College of Music Boston, MA 02115 USA Abstract At the Berklee College of Music in Boston, and with generous support from The Interval Research Corporation, I have added two new classes to the Music Synthesis curriculum - Research in Alternate Controllers for Performance and the Techno/Rave Ensemble. These performance-oriented courses balance my current advanced elective offerings in sound design and composition: Sound Design and Synthesis Theory with Csound; DSP-based Composition and Remixing with SoundHack, Hyperprism, Peak, Pluggo, and Csound; Interactive Multi-Media System Design with Max/MSP; ElectroAcoustic Composition & Aesthetics; and the Over the Edge concert series. In this studio report, an overview of the curriculum for the Alternate Controller class will be presented and several student projects will be showcased. Also, my "spin" on coordinating, managing and "writing" for the Berklee Techno/Rave Ensemble will be discussed and some video and audio footage from their Underground Ambient and Pure Voltage concerts will be featured. INTRODUCTION The Berklee College of Music is the world's largest independent music college and regarded internationally as the premiere institution for the study of jazz, pop, rock, film and electronic music. The emphasis at Berklee is on "making it" - building a successful career in one of the many areas of the music industry. Performing, writing, arranging, producing, recording, managing, marketing, teaching and programming are but some of the career paths for which the Berklee student is trained. More than a music college, Berklee is a mirror image of the music industry. In state-of-the-art recording (Figure 1), film/Foley (Figure 2), post-production studios, and several open-access MIDI and media labs, the 3000 full-time students, from over 75 countries, work day and night under the guidance of an expert technical staff of over 200 graduates and 300 full-time and 100 part-time "gigging" faculty members. At Berklee, there are four divisions: Technology, Education, Performance, and Writing. Under these, one can choose from 22 majors, or choose to declare as a 5-year dual major (Figure 3). Figure 1. One of Berklee's many 24 track "teaching studios." This photo was taken from one of the 24 stadium seats in which the students sit, observe and participate in professional mix, remix and mastering sessions.
Page 00000002 Figure 2. Film/Foley Studio at Berklee. Music Technology Music Production and Engineering Music Synthesis Education Music Business/Management Music Education Music Therapy Professional Music Performance Bass Brass Guitar Percussion Piano Strings Voice Woodwinds Writing Composition Contemporary Writing & Production Film Scoring Jazz Composition Songwriting Michael Abraham Carl Beatty Terry Becker Mitch Benoff Sean Carberry Tony Carbone Alex Case Bill Crabtree Lloyd Dyson Andy Edelstein Marc-Dieter Einstmann Anthony Hoover Rob Jaczko, Assistant Chair Al Kooper Jeff Largent Richard Mendelson Michael Moss Eric Reuter Bill Scheniman, Chair Ivan Sever Dan Thompson Wayne Wadhams Stephen Webber Mark Wessel Figure 4. MP&E Faculty at Berklee Advanced Mix Lab Advanced Production Projects Advanced Recording Techniques Applications of Music Acoustics Audio for Video Postproduction Creative Production Skills Digital Audio Applications Introduction to Music Production and Engineering Masters Engineering Lab Mix Techniques Lab Multitrack Recording Techniques Music Entertainment Law and Contracts Music Production for Records Music Production for Visual Media Music Production Using MIDI Postproduction and Remixing of Records Principles of Audio Technology 1 Principles of Audio Technology 2 Principles of Production for Musicians Principles of Synchronization for Music Technology Production Analysis Lab Production of Acoustic Instrumental Music Sound Reinforcement for Musicians Sound Reinforcement Lab Sound Reinforcement Systems Technical Characteristics of Audio Systems The Business of Music Production Vocal Production Figure 3. Divisions and Majors at Berklee. Music Technology: Music Production and Engineering In the Music Technology Division, the Music Production and Engineering Department offers students the opportunity to build and hone the skills required of today's music producers and engineers under the tutelage of a Grammy and gold record winning faculty (Figure 4). The department's 12 recording studios contain professionallevel equipment and support a busy roster of classes (Figure 5), faculty demonstrations, visiting artist clinics, and nearly 10,000 hours of hands-on student projects. For Music Production and Engineering majors, the department coordinates an internship program and assists with career guidance. Figure 5. Music Production & Engineering Classes. Music Technology: Music Synthesis Under the guidance and supervision of leading industry professionals, the Music Synthesis major receives computer-based training on analog, digital, and hybrid systems in one of 5 multi-station synth labs (Figure 6).
Page 00000003 ALTERNATE CONTROLLERS Jeffrey Baust Henry Beckett Kurt Biederwolf Michael Bierylo Richard Boulanger Michael Brigida David Doms Neil Leonard Jan Moorhead, Chair Chris Noyes Tom Rhea Kai Turnbull Jeffrey Williams For five semesters now, I have been offering a researchoriented class in alternate controllers and C++/Max programming at Berklee. Between 6 to 10 students have enrolled each semester. Their specific performance and programming interests always had something to do with the final projects that they undertook to realize, but they were not given total freedom to devise and pursue their own research. Rather, they were presented with weekly demonstrations and, for most of the semester, were required to do a series of "etudes" based on the presentations (Figure 8). Intro to C++ programming Conducting MIDI files with the Radio Baton Algorithmic Composition with the Improv Program Developing Software for Interactive 3D Sound Design Lightning, PowerGlove & Video Control through Max Interactive real-time software synthesis with Csound Pitch to MIDI with Max/MSP Figure 6. Music Synthesis Faculty at Berklee. The major offers five areas of concentration: 1. Performance - focuses on developing the fundamentals of synthesis and performance skills through participation in ensembles and the preparation and performance of a major recital. 2. Production - emphasizes the creative and technical decisions necessary in synthesis and production for studio environments, while affording you the opportunity to build a portfolio of original work comprised of the sounds you create. 3. Sound Design - explores the world of electronic sound creation and manipulation and offers you an opportunity to build a portfolio of original synthesized or processed sounds for a variety of musical situations and instrumental combinations. 4. Multimedia - teaches the fundamentals of audio production for CDROM, DVD and the Web, and includes introductions to video and programming concepts that will enable you to work collaboratively with other multimedia professionals. 5. Computer Music - emphasizes computer programming skills and their application toward innovation in sound design, performance and composition (Figure 7). Alternate Controllers for MIDI Performance Digital Signal Processing: Theory and Composition Digital Signal Processing for Production & Post Production Directed Studies in Synthesis ElectroAcoustic Composition and Aesthetics Interactive Multimedia Programming & Design Introduction to Multimedia Introduction to Music Technology MIDI Programming and Performance in Max/MSP MIDI Systems I MIDI Systems II Modular Functions and Signal Flow Music Production for Synthesis Physical Modeling and Additive Synthesis Programmable Synthesis I Programmable Synthesis II Sampling I Sampling II Software Synthesis & Composition in Csound Techno/Rave Ensemble Figure 8. Alternate Controller Lecture Topics In addition to these studies, each student is required to do an in-class presentation on a commercial alternate MIDI controller such as the DrumKat, MalletKat, ZenDrum, Guitar and Wind controllers. And each student is required to develop one of their "topical etudes" into a musical composition, installation, performance, improvisation, etc., and give a 15 minute lecture/demonstration on my Beyond MIDI lecture series in the Music Synthesis F12 recital hall (Figure 9). Figure 9. Music Synthesis F12 Recital Hall. The photographer is standing in front of a wall of synthesizer, signal processing, mixing, recording gear and computers along the left and back walls of the stage. Figure 7. Music Synthesis Courses at Berklee.
Page 00000004 THE TECHNO/RAVE ENSEMBLE One of the more popular, interesting and controversial classes that I offer and direct is the Techno/Rave Ensemble. In fact, this class is actually offered in Berklee's Ensemble department. At Berklee, every student is required to declare a principal instrument, take two years of private lessons at the college on that instrument and play in various ensembles during those first two years as well. All students are given ensemble ratings every year, based on their entrance audition, and yearly performance proficiencies. Performance majors generally have ratings of 7's. (Players with 8's are usually gigging with Gary Burton!) Most average musicians have ratings of 3's and 4's. Ensembles in the college focus on musical genres and artist's repertoire. The better ensembles are featured in concert performances with the best being features in the Berklee Performance Center. Since the Music Synthesis Department has our own concert hall (Figure 9), my Techno/Rave Ensemble has a regular venue; Our goal is two live interactive multimedia shows per semester - Underground Ambient and Pure Voltage. The first is more sound-object oriented. The second more illbient, drumNbass, house, and dub. I do not require specific ratings for my ensemble. Rather, I expect them to know the genre, to have done some production and composition in the style, and to have taken my Composition, Max, or Alternate Controller classes. Further, unlike the other ensembles, that play traditional charts or do pop, funk, jazz, metal, new age, hip-hop, and fusion covers or arrangements, all the music performed by the Techno/Rave Ensemble is collaboratively composed originals by the students in the group. For weekly rehearsals and meetings, my ensemble has access to two large "ensemble rooms" that are outfitted with computers, two 5-foot racks of MIDI, Sampling and Recording gear, a stereo PA, 4 guitar amps, turntables, a drum kit, and three MIDI keyboards. Students from the ensemble can sign out these rooms and compose/rehearse their pieces every night of the week from 6-midnight. (And they do!) They are also allowed to sign-out bring downstairs any of the department's "floating" synth and signal processing gear - MIDI guitars, drums, radio-batons, Nords, Rolands, Arps, Korgs, Kymas, Yamahas, etc. During class time we meet, talk, listen, and analyze favorite compositions by Brian Eno, Bill Laswell, Paul Miller, Richard James, Simon Posford, Trent Reznor, Moby, Kim Cascone, BT, Future Sounds of London, Panasonic, Lamb, Underworld, and Orbital. We jam for a few weeks to get to know each other a bit and then we begin to form composing duos and trios that schedule evening and weekend writing sessions and rehearsals. Several weeks before the concert, these core groups bring back their ideas and expand them by adding other members from the group and getting group feedback on the form, structure and content. An all night rehearsal two days prior to each show usually does the trick to work out the program order and the patching and mixing logistics. In the Music Synthesis Department, all our labs and concert halls are equipped with ceiling mounted color LCD projectors. As you might well know, psychedelic lights are pretty important for a successful rave. So, from the very beginning, the idea of accompanying the performance with graphics from Xpose, Nato, Max, Cathuga, Bomb, Pixel Toy and student prepared video collages done for from their Multimedia classes in Premiere is encouraged. These always add a nice complimentary element to all the live tweaking, and spinning on stage during the show. CONCLUSION For more than twenty years now, I have been personally involved in alternate controller research and interactive computer music performance. But in my fifteen years of teaching Music Synthesis at Berklee, I could do little more than demonstrate these exciting and important capabilities in an occasional faculty seminar. Finally, because of the generous support of Interval Research I was able to purchase some "esoteric" Radio-Baton prototypes and some less "mainstream" PC hardware, Lightning and Thunder MIDI controllers, etc., to support student research in this area. Further, the belief in the "commercial" value and career potential of undergraduate research as evidenced by the support of the new Berklee Provost, Harry Chalmiers and VP Dave Mash have allowed me to lay the groundwork for some exciting new directions at Berklee. Acknowledgements Thanks to the Music Synthesis students at Berklee for their inspiring and creative music, programs and performances. As always, their musical works are the proof that my courses work. Thanks to Berklee VP David Mash for his constant and continued support of my "ideas" and Provost Harry Chalmiers for bringing his "new vision" to Berklee and allowing me to be a small part of it. Thanks also to Bill Verplank from Interval Research, and to my good friend Max Mathews from Stanford University whose input, feedback, advice, and inspiring lectures, have been instrumental in this exciting new curricular initiative. Finally, thanks to Interval Research, Inc., whose financial support made possible many of these new approaches to teaching music technology at Berklee.