As a contrast with Light Music, I thought it would be wise to explore electroacoustic music as it could be a curveball in the exam. Strobe has a great deal of repetition with many variations in terms of articulation, which is expected of music in the acoustic realm. When it comes to electroacoustic music, articulation can be the use of effects or using technology to manipulate sounds. Ivan Zavada’s Mirage was developed using software called Quadraloop which he developed that manipulated the sounds of his violin while he played. While this would not be easy to incorporate into the lesson as students would need access to MAX/MSP and the likes, there are ways to achieve similar results using Logic Pro. The problem is, not all students would have access to Logic Pro, therefore, the composition activity will have to be doable within GarageBand.
Zavada’s program note can be seen below (Zavada, 2012).
“Mirage is a real-time composition realised with the Quadraloop software which I developed over the last three years. In this project my goal is to combine my experience as a violinist and my programming skills within the Max/MSP environment to create a piece which reflects the amalgam of my musical ideas. Limiting myself to a specific compositional technique called looping I explore the variability of loop indexing within the recorded violin material on stage… thus creating musical fragments or cells of various duration, which in turn become a unique medium of expression. Depending on the source, the same looping patterns or structure will generate completely different sonic atmospheres.”
After being his composition student for a year, I have developed tricks that I can apply to the classroom. While GarageBand lacks a looping effect, the effect can be replicated using a wet delay. The “Delay Designer” plugin lacks an interface within GarageBand, but the presets are still usable and are mildly manipulatable.
The composition task gives students experiences working with structure and generating many sounds from a small amount of material. It is a problem with HSC compositions when students try to use too many ideas after all.
1. Similarly to Light Music, students can create small patterns with the intention of repetition.
2. Students use GarageBand (or another DAW) to record their few fragments. Students could also explore electroacoustic music more and use software or synthesised instruments.
3. Using effects, students manipulate the sound of the recorded material.
4. Students structure a short composition by using tools such as copy and paste, or other methods that are similar to traditional motivic development. Clips can be shortened to fragment and clips can be combined to make longer ideas.
This process will achieve many things that Light Music achieves, such as sustained notes becoming chords. A single note recorded can become a chord if the delay effect is sounded.
I will create a tutorial and template for this activity so students can jump into it quicker.
Zavada, I. (2012). Music. Retrieved June 16, 2017, from http://www.ivanzavada.com/music.php