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Page 00000001 Electronic Music: An Interactive CD-ROM for Yong People Chia-Chun Chen MediaTek Inc., Taipei cchcnO6(~)-yhoo corn Abstract The purpose of this project was to create an electronic music CD-ROM for young people. The intent of this project was to encourage young people to learn about the basics of sound production, audio effects and the history of electronic music. The methods used for making this CD-ROM included having interactive demonstrations, animations, graphics, and a variety of colors and text styles. Internet links for further information were also provided. 1 Introduction With the rise of home computers and instant access to the Internet, technology now touches many facets of everyday life in the world, and music is no exception. While there are many music education materials available in various technologically advanced media such as CDs, videos, or CD-ROMs, there is a definite lack of materials in the area of electronic music. Most of the existing materials focus on traditional music theory, music history or techniques for acoustic instruments. This lack of electroacoustic teaching materials was the impetus for this project - Electronic Music: An Interactive CD-ROM for Young People. Both in the United State, where I got my degree, and in Taiwan, where I grew up, music educators seem to only emphasize acoustic music. Upon examining five music curricula from Arizona, Florida, Minnesota, Missouri, and New Hampshire, only two clearly mention about electronic media. This five curricula are Vail School district (AZ), Florida Music Educators Association (FMEA) - a statewide educational organization, The Tesseract School (MN), Oyster River Cooperative School district (NH), and Republic R-III School district (MO). In the State of Florida, out of 11 courses all of which have an average of 10 intended outcomes, only two goals cover the understanding of the elements of music connected to science and identify a variety of electronic applications. The Vail School district music curriculum has two units about the basic physical and scientific properties of the technical aspects of music and electronic media on composition and arrangement. In Taiwan, out of 48 units from grade seven and eight music textbooks, there is no mention of electronic music or music technology. However, with the technological advances being made in the music industry, it seems unfortunate not to increase the significance of this truly unique form of music. The availability of multimedia technology in almost every household allows for easy access by students to computerbased educational materials. Electronic Music: An Interactive CD-ROM for Young People provides an interactive environment to study electronic music. The CD-ROM targets young people 12 years of age and older; roughly middle school age. This project started with the idea of introducing basic elements and concepts of electronic music such as the physics of music, often used sound effects, and electronic music history. Although understanding the concept of the CDROM does not require much prior knowledge of the concepts of mathematics and physics, an average middle school understanding of the two subjects is recommended. Nowadays more and more electronic music is being produced in both popular and experimental music genres. There are increasing career opportunities in the field of electronic music. Basic concepts of digital audio are advantageous whether one is writing electronica, remixing tracks, or composing electroacoustic music. Knowledge of electronic music is also useful for those who seek a career in music engineering, sound reinforcement, sound production, or even experimental performance. Although a textbook can be the starting point for learning, I believe that interactive elements can make this process more enjoyable. A European Commission task force on educational software and multimedia confirmed that when students use interactive CD-ROMs for learning, "they view their learning as more important, they apply themselves more, their selfconcept improves, and consequently, they are more likely to appreciate their work." (Maryse Paquin, 2002) This article discussed another study that showed that when using an interactive learning method, students take less time to gain the same amount of knowledge as compared to using traditional teaching methods. 2 A Review of the Literature Few CD-ROMs and related Internet materials are available for studying electronic music, and these sources are either not tailored for young people or not interactive. A CD-ROM is highly portable and is a medium eminently Proceedings ICMC 2004
Page 00000002 familiar to the young people. Therefore, this format was the best choice of medium for my project. I decided to create an interactive CD-ROM in the hope that it would interest young people. Before designing the CD-ROM, I researched and explored other materials that cover similar subjects. Computer Music, an interactive CD-ROM that contains information about computer music presents the material in the form of video clips of mini-lecture. The drawbacks of using video clips is that one cannot get away from the feeling of being "lectured" by the computer. J0ran Rudi's DSP for Children was developed at the Norwegian Network for Technology (NOTAM) for use in music education. Children can make their own sound files and put together compositions. They also learn about sound effects and basic digital signal processing. There are two especially interesting Internet sites covering electronic music: WOW/EM and Electronic Music Interactive. WO W / EM (Women On the Web/ElectronMedia) was designed by Dr. Kristine H. Burns. This site is broken down into nine sections: ElectronMedia, Homework, In-Forms, Intervew&Viewpoints, No Boys Allowed!, TeleTalk, Schools, Techno Teachers, and Hardware+Software. There is a lot of information on getting further information. While this site inspired this project, the design is not terribly interactive, and it does not discuss some of the basic concept of digital audio making it potentially non-user-friendly to young people. Electronic Music Interactive is directed by Steven McGrew and produced by the University of Oregon New Media Center. This project came closest to the ideas set forth for this CD-ROM. It contains two "catalogs": The Synthesis Process and Control of Synthesis. Information on basic concepts of sound, basic audio terms, basic digital audio effects, synthesizer, controller and MIDI are included. Overall this is a well designed project, especially since the information it contains on each subject is worded clearly to facilitate understanding. The two disadvantages of this project are: (1) the lack of a Help menu, whereby the user must figure out how to navigate the program; and (2) the fact that this is an online program which would only work when the user was connected to the Internet. Several non-music-related Internet sites tailored for young people were also Referenced for designing purpose. These sites include Take Charge pf Your Health, Young People's Trust for the Environment, Discovery Kids. These sites hold educational information but use bright colors, interesting fonts, graphics, pictures, interactive games to make more serious topics interesting. In addition to CD-ROM and Internet resources, a number of books and journal articles were influential in the development of this project. These books and Internet sites were used to provide information on music in general, electronic music, computer music, sound reinforcement, and physics since this CD-ROM is the composite of these subjects. Two music dictionaries, one in English and one in Chinese, were used for basic definitions. 3 Electronic Music: An Interactive CD-ROM for Young People There are four main sections to the CD-ROM: Start, How to..., Credits, References, and Quit. See Figure 1. Figure 1 Overall design "Start" contains three main catalogs - Links of 0,1 & Audio, Cool FX, and The Path of Electronic Music. "How to..." includes the computer system requirements, ways to get around the CD-ROM and the basic structure of the CDROM. All the Internet References have hyperlinks listed on the Reference page for users who want to access further information. Related topics have also been linked within the CD-ROM so that user can move between them freely. Links in this CD-ROM are presented in many different ways, including animated signs, text color, small banners, and underlined words (see Figures 2 and 3). Figure 2 Menu page without animation Proceedings ICMC 2004
Page 00000003 Figure 3 Animation comes on when the mouse is over "Start" From Links of 0, 1 & Audio, the user may access sections on Sound, Frequency, Amplitude, Timbre, Overtones & Harmonics, Wave Forms and Noise. Links of 0,1 & Audio got its name from the Os and Is used in analog to digital audio conversion. There is a full explanation of this process included in the section of the CD-ROM. In Sound, the basic concepts of sound including what sound is, how sound travels, sound wave and the speed of sound are included (see Figure 4). Frequency, Amplitude and Timbre are the three basic elements of sound. In these sections, definitions are given, examples of how these elements alter sound produced are also provided. Overtones and harmonics are one of the main reasons why sounds have different timbres. Interactive audio demonstrations are provided in this section. Figure 4 Example of how sound moves air molecules In Wave Forms, the timbral differences between types of sound waves are explained, and sound and visual demonstrations of each different form are included. The user may click on the speaker sign (see Figure 5) which allows sound playback. The Path of Electronic Music section relates the history of electronic music with a focus on the 20thcentury. The historical narrative is divided in periods of 10 years. The user may enter any selected 10-year time period and use the navigational arrows located at the bottom of each page to move forward or backward. The user may also chose to go back to the time line and "jump" to any of other 10-year period. The narrative takes the form of an historical timeline with significant events highlighted in chronological order. In this way, the user may easily find an event that happened in any given year. Home is the initial page when the user starts the program. Located on every page, the "Start" button provides the user the choice of reading the material either in sequence or going to any specific area of interest. Because hyperlinks between different sections of related topics, the "start" button also helps the user relocated their place. The user may quit the program any time by either click on "quit" from the home page or simply press Command-Q from the computer keyboard. 2.3 Conclusion Electronic Music: An Interactive CD-ROM for Young People is the first CD-ROM of its kind. Aimed at young people and enhanced by interactive design, it is expected that this CD-ROM will make the learning process more interesting and will inspire middle school students to investigate more advanced topics of electronic music. It is also hoped that this CD-ROM will also be a good classroom addition for both music and physics teachers alike. Using this CD-ROM can easily explain the physics of sound and other related topics. Students may better understand these abstract concepts through tangible interactive examples. In a music curriculum, these same examples may help students identify the techniques that are well known to electroacoustic composers. In the current junior high and high school curriculum, very few electroacoustic composers are mentioned. Therefore, students can now be exposed to a wider range of composers and compositions and may become interested in further exploration. When reading avout composer Edgard Varese and his work, Podme Electronique, the music teacher can use this CD-ROM to provide ideas for students who wish to compose electroacoustic music. Because electronic music in my home country, Taiwan, is a fairly new subject, very little material in Chinese is available. I would also like to translate Electronic Music: An Interactive CD-ROM for Young People to Chinese and bring the knowledge that I have gained in the United States back home. There fore, as an educational tool, this CD-ROM may help in the growth, interest, and development of electronic music in Taiwan as well as in the United States. Figure 5 Button for accessing sound playback Cool FX includes sections on frequency modulation, amplitude modulation, panning, envelope structure, reverberation and delay. These are the audio "effects" that are often used for electronic music. By using these effects, a sound can be completely altered. In this section, the function of each effect is discussed, and examples of different effects used on sounds are also supplied. Proceedings ICMC 2004
Page 00000004 3 Copyright Notices References All right reserved Chia-Chun Chen, 2003. Hsu, Hao-Rong. Music Practical Terms Dictionary.Taipei, Taiwan:KeiTan Press, 1996. Randel, Don Michael. The New Harvard Dictionary of Music. Cambridge, MA: The Belnap Press of Harvard University Press, 1986. Maryse Paquin, "Effects of a museum interactive CD-ROM on knowledge and attitude of secondary school students in Ontario." International Journal of Instructional Media 29/1 (Winter 2002): 101-12. Digital Studios. Computer Music: An Interactive Documentary. S.L.: University of California, 1995. Discovery Kids. http://kids.discovery.com/ DSP-for children. http://www.notam02.mo/-journru/DSPforChildren.html Electronic Music Interactive. http://nmc.uoregon.edu/emi/ Fifth-eighth curriculum. http://www.tesseract.pvt.kl2.mn.us/musicupper/fiftheighth%20curriculum.htm Middle School General Music. http://ds.vail.kl2.az.us/curricula/music/middlemusic.html Music Curriculum Guide. http://www.republic.kl2.mo.us/guide/music.htm Music Curriculum(k-12): National Standards for Music. http://www.mv.com/ipusers/orol/district/issues/music/nation al.html Sunshine State Standards Course Descriptions. Http://www.firn.edu/doe/curriculum/crscode/basic612/mus6 8.htm Take Care of Your Health. http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health/nutrit/pubs/winteen/ WOW/EM: Women On the Web/ElectronMedia. http://eamusic. dartmouth.edu/~-wowem/ Young People's Trust for the Environment. http://www.yptenc.org.uk/ Proceedings ICMC 2004