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California Institute of the Arts

Foundations of Music Technology

California Institute of the Arts via Kadenze Program


  • Understanding of the fundamentals of digital audio, mixing, and production
  • Understanding of sound synthesis theory and history
  • Ability to utilize computer music programming knowledge to create original works


Courses under this program:
Course 1: Sound Production in Ableton Live for Musicians and Artists

This course provides hands-on experience in producing, mixing, and sound design with a digital audio workstation. Students will learn the fundamentals (physics)of sound and digital audio, proper gain staging, where and how distortion enters recordings and mixes, how to set levels and panning, effective sub group mixing, and an introduction to signal processing such as equalization, compression, delay, and reverb. In addition to core audio and mixing concepts, students will learn various…

Course 2: Sound Synthesis Using Reaktor

This course provides an introductory overview of audio synthesis and visual programming using Native Instruments' Reaktor Software. Students will receive an in-depth look into various audio synthesis methods, including: additive, subtractive, sampling, wavetable, physical modeling, and granular synthesis, as well as the various types of modulation synthesis. Students will also learn about the history of the synthesizer and electronic music, and will take a look at many of the current sound…

Course 3: Introduction to Real-Time Audio Programming in ChucK

The course, lecture, and examples build on each other to teach the fundamentals of programming in general (logic, loops, functions, objects, classes) and also deals with advanced topics including multi-threading, events and signals. Throughout the course, students create meaningful and rewarding expressive digital “instruments” that make sound and music in direct response to program logic. The ChucK language provides precise high-level control over time, audio computation, and user interface…

Course 4: The Modern Music Technologist

The role of the music technologist has changed throughout history, though one trait has stayed consistent: the necessity for the individual to operate across multiple mediums and disciplines. This project-based course provides an opportunity to synthesize the key concepts and skills learned in the Foundations of Music Technology Program, and enables students to establish meaningful connections between the contents of each course. The course will have students acquire real-world artistic…

Taught by

Yoojin Oh, Jordan Hochenbaum, Lisa Barr, Jennifer Hutton, Brian Harlan, Harmony Jiroudek, Daniel Lemer, Parinaz Yazdanparast, Elliot Yokum, Lina Christie, Owen Vallis, Ajay Kapur, Max Jaffe, Sidney Ortega-Hufana and Spencer Salazar


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