(sonicArts) multi-track spectral project

Multi-Track Spectral Project – Due 11/15


Building on your knowledge of sample processing learned in your two-track collage, create a two-minute work of concrete music. You may use sounds from Project 1, sounds from online libraries, sample CDs in Bracken (Education Resources Desk), and/or other recorded sounds of your own choosing.

Use an audio editor (Peak or Audacity) and SoundHack to process your samples, and use Pro Tools to assemble your piece. You may use any plugins you have used before (such as EQ), plus delay and reverb plugins in Pro Tools. In addition to the classic concrete music techniques you have learned so far, this project will focus on manipulating sounds with spectral processing – i.e., phase vocoding and convolution.

Once again, work in a gestural style, where development and variation of source material is of primary importance. Use Pro Tools like a tape deck, using “clock” time as your ruler, not metrical time.

For pieces of this length, form still doesn’t really need to be much of a concern. Almost anything that works moment to moment will work for a two minutes. You are expected to take advantage of the multitrack capabilities of Pro Tools to create layers of activity. It is also expected that each layer of activity will be comprised of multiple tracks. Slow moving background material (derived from the same source material used for quicker gestures at any given point) can help to define a section as much as fast-moving foreground gestures.


  • Length must be at least two minutes. Try not to go much longer than two minutes. Bloat will not help your grade.
  • Use at three different sound source types, i.e., three different sounds of dishes breaking is one sound type (breaking dishes). You would still need two other types of sounds.
  • Build gestures and layers from multiple sound clips in multiple tracks. Although there is no minimum required number of tracks, textures in the range of six to ten tracks will be likely.
  • Keep your files organized! Keep copies of original and processed files in subfolders of your Pro Tools folder for backup purposes. Pro Tools audio files will be imported to the audio files folder of your project.
  • The finished project should be primarily gesture-based (Some repeated patterns are ok, especially repeated gestures with variations, but don’t use Pro Tools loops set to repeat 50 times.
  • Title your work.

Grading Criteria (90 points total)

  1. Creativity in manipulating your sound material, particularly with regard to creating gestures and motives, using spectral processing in creative ways, and using multiple tracks to create interesting gestures and textures. (40 pts)
  2. Diversity of sound material, and required number of sound sources. (5)
  3. Use of Pro Tools to automate mix parameters (Pan, Level, and plugin parameters). (10)
  4. Meeting the required length (2 minutes; definitely not shorter; probably not much longer). (10)
  5. Overall sound quality (15), which includes:
    – proper amplitude levels (no clipping, maximize peak signal to noise ratio)
    – quality of edits (no pops or clicks!!!!)
    – no distortion or over-amplitude samples
  6. Organization of files. (5)
  7. Following the turn-in procedure. (5)

Turn-In Procedure

  • Name your Pro Tools project folder with your name and “Project 2.” (kothmanProject2)
  • Your project folder should also contain any Audacity/SoundHack/Cecilia (A/S/C) files you created (including original source material). Using sub-folders is highly recommended. These subfolders for source and A/S/C-processed files can be at the level below yourname2 project folder.
  • You can turn in your project folder to me via flash drive, external hard drive, or iLocker. If you use iLocker, compress your project folder, upload it to iLocker, and email me the link to download it.
  • Your project folder must contain a mixed (bounced) stereo master file, at the same directory level as your Pro Tools data file.


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