(musTh625) project 2: multi-track musique concrète

Due Monday, June 3, at the start of class.


Building on your knowledge of sample processing learned in your two-track collage, create a two-minute work of musique concrète. 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, SoundHack, and Cecilia to process your samples, and use Digital Performer to assemble your piece. You may use EQ, delay and reverb plugins in Pro Tools.

Once again, work in a gestural style, where development and variation of source material is of primary importance. You can use Digital Performer like a tape deck, using “clock” time as your ruler instead of metrical time, or you can organize your gestures in musical/metrical time. Despite what you may think, organizing concrete ideas into meter is harder than working in clock 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 two minutes. You are expected to take advantage of the multi-track capabilities of Digital Performer 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 least 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, projects 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 Digital Performer folder for backup purposes. Digital Performer 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 loops set to repeat 50 times.
  • Title your work.

You will be graded on the following (100 points totals):

  1. Creativity in manipulating your sound material, particularly with regard to creating gestures and motives, and using multiple tracks to create interesting gestures and textures. (45 pts)
  2. Diversity of sound material, and required number of sound sources. (5)
  3. Use of Digital Performer 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 (20), 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 Digital Performer project folder with your name and the number “2.” Digital Performer will add “project” to the folder name. (kothman2 project)
  • 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, at the same directory level as your Digital Performer data file.


Your workflow will change a bit for this project. You will still use Audacity for basic editing of start and end points of clips (although you don’t have to do this in Audacity), but you will do more exporting of selected audio from Audacity, rather than mixing and rendering multiple track in Audacity. In fact, you might not have any Audacity project files at all. It is possible to just end up with exported aiff files from Audacity without the project files.

You like workflow will be something like:

  • Collecting of sound source material.
  • Basic editing in Audacity to trim selections, remove noise, and do some simple speed shifting.
  • Importing selected audio files into DP for use in your project.
  • Placing soundbites into DP tracks.
  • File processing of selected audio files in Cecilia and SoundHack
  • Basic editing in Audacity of Cecilia and SoundHack output.
  • Importing selected audio files into DP for use in your project.
  • Placing soundbites into DP tracks.
  • Continued editing, processing, and arranging soundbites in DP.
  • Automation of mix and effect parameters in DP.
  • Bouncing DP project mix to disk.


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