History of Media and Technology: Sound, the Minority Report -- Radical Music of the Past 100 Years >> Content Detail



This page presents various course policies and information, followed by a calendar.

The History of Media and Technology Course Group

As a course group, History of Media and Technology addresses the mutually influential histories of communications media and technological development, focusing on the shift from analog to digital cultures that began mid-century and continues to the present. The approach the series takes to the study of media and technology is a multifaceted one that includes theoretical and philosophical works, histories canonical and minority, literature and art, as well as hands-on production issues toward the advancement of student projects and research papers. Each course in the series reflects a particular thematic in the history of media and technology.

Course Description

Sound, the Minority Report: Radical Music of the Past 100 Years looks at the history of avant-garde and electronic music from the early twentieth century to the present. The class is organized as a theory and production seminar for which students may either produce audio/multimedia projects or a research paper. It engages music scholarship, cultural criticism, studio production, and multi-media development, such as recent software, sound design for film and games, and sound installation. Sound as a media tool for communication and sound as a form of artistic expression are subjects under discussion. The artists' work reviewed in the course includes selections from audio innovators such as the Italian Futurists, Edgard Varèse, John Cage, King Tubby, Brian Eno, Steve Reich, Afrika Bambaataa, Kraftwerk, Merzbow, Aphex Twin, Rza, Björk, and others.

Course Requirements

Class attendance and participation are required. Assigned reading must be done in time for the class for which is it assigned. Primary readings are mandatory. All written assignments are to be typed.


The assignments are progressive and will be presented in class as they develop.

  • Audio Recording
  • DJ Mix / Podcast
  • Sound Collage
  • Software Project or Soundtrack Project Draft
  • Remixes of Software Project or Soundtrack Project
  • Radio Mix
  • Final Projects

Note: Students will present work throughout the semester.

Final Media Project

The Final Media Project is either:

  1. A 5-page project description (co-authored) + bibliography, or
  2. A 20 page research paper.

The project shall be presented at the end of the course based on the research interests and technical design of a Working Group. Groups may contain between 2-3 people. Permission is required from instructor for larger groups. A minimum of 2 meetings outside of the class is required of the Working Groups.


Class Participation and Attendance20%
Audio/Media Assignments40%
Final Media Project (Working Groups)40%


The use of another's intellectual work without acknowledgement is a serious offense. It is the policy of the Literature Faculty that students who plagiarize will receive an F in the subject, and that the instructor will forward the case to the Committee on Discipline. Full acknowledgement for all information obtained from sources outside the classroom must be clearly stated in all written work submitted. All ideas, arguments, and direct phrasings taken from someone else's work must be identified and properly footnoted. Quotations from other sources must be clearly marked as distinct from the student's own work. For further guidance on the proper forms of attribution consult the style guides available in the Writing and Communication Center. You may visit their Web site.


1Art of Noises
2What is Radical Music?

Noise and Reproducibility
3Electronic Indeterminacy, Tape Loops: John Cage, Lee Scratch PerryAssignment 1 due: Audio Recording
4Sample Culture: RZA, DJ Spooky

Discussion of Collage Culture and Music Concrète

In-class: Show and Tell-bring a Record into Class and Sample a Section to be Included in Your Sound Collage
Assignment 2 due: DJ Mix / Podcast
5Analogue Synthesis (Guest Speaker: Joe Paradiso)Assignment 3 due: Sound Collage
6Sound Tracking: Spatial and Visual Music

One-bit Synthesis (Guest Speaker: Noah Vawter)
Assignment 4 due: Software Project or Soundtrack Project - Draft
7Radio Training SessionAssignment 5 due: Remixes of Software Project or Soundtrack Project
8Lab Session on Computer Music Technique

Beauty of Speed

View: Come to Daddy, Windowlicker, Aphex Twin/Chris Cunningham
9Beauty of Speed (cont.)

Surround Systems and Generative Sound
Assignment 6 due: Radio Mix
10Field Trip
11Final Project PresentationsFinal projects due
12Final Project Presentations (cont.)


© 2009-2020, All Rights Reserved.
Higher Ed Space ® is a registered trademark of AmeriCareers LLC.