Sound Design for Interactive Media

Fall 2019

Instructor - Stefan Damian / or.ctanu|naimad.nafets#or.ctanu|naimad.nafets

Credits - 4 ECTS

Course Prerequisites

The course welcomes students coming from different creative and professional backgrounds and it is designed to relate to all levels of proficiency or aesthetic approaches. However, a basic understanding/experience with sound or music should elevate the discussion flow and outcome of the course.

Course Description

This course aims to provide students a high degree of awareness of the creative and expressive role of sound in various forms and mediums of Contemporary Art, New Media, Performing Arts, Music, Sonic Arts, and Installations. The course is designed for two semesters where the first semester is mainly focused around sound creation and transformation in three mediums: air, electric and digital, while the second semester is more oriented towards sound design and synthesis methods. After completion, students are expected to gain creative flexibility and apply their new skills in musical, performing, installations, interactive and New Media applications.
During the two semesters lectures will include notions of acoustics, psychoacoustics, critical listening, spatial sound, digital signal processing, musical discourse, editing and mixing, sonification and interactive sound design.

Course Objectives

Students in this course will pursue:
• Refinement of personal aesthetic taste and style.
• High level of understanding of various DAWs workflows (Steinberg Nuendo, Cycling 74 MaxMSP, Avid Pro Tools, Cockos Reaper, Ableton Live etc.)
• A good understanding of modern DSP Tools and acknowledgement of their creative possibilities
• Good control of recording techniques and diffusion techniques related to spatial audio and immersive sound.
• Sound Design and synthesis literacy.
• Good understanding of Interaction Design and tools (sensors, DIY interfaces, space)
• Ability of using sound design techniques to new media projects.
• Ability to create interactive installations and acousmatic narratives.
• A good understanding of other team members’ work , such as creative programmers, performers, musicians, space designers, light designers, animators, directors.

Course Structure

This course will be comprised of 14 weekly classes per semester, resulting in a final individual semester project proposed by each student. The project may be a blend between sound design, musical, interactive or New Media components. Periodic key assignments should contribute to the development of this final project.
The final grade will consist of 4 components:
• Class attendance and participation (25%).
• Execution of periodic assignments (15%).
• Final project presentation / accompanying description of the creative process involved (10%).
• Final project (50%).

Class Schedule

Week 1: Introduction: Sound Art / Sonic Arts / Acousmatic Music
Week 2: Uses and multi-purpose of sound in Interactive Media and Performing Arts.
Week 3: Sound in the medium of air. Sound propagation and room acoustics.
Week 4: Sound as electrical current. Field and studio recording techniques.
Week 5: Studio Techniques: hardware equipment and digital sound. Fundamentals of DAW software.
Week 6: Studio Techniques: signal flow. Overview of editing and mixing.
Week 7: Studio Techniques: Digital Signal Processing (dynamics and spectral processing).
Week 8: Studio Techniques: Digital Signal Processing (delay lines, reverberation, flange-ing, chorusing and various modulation effects).
Week 9: Studio Techniques: mixing fundamentals for different media: music, film, installations
Week 10: Introduction to Spatial Audio
Week 11: Spatial Audio Techniques: recording techniques (XY, AB, MS, dummyhead, binaural etc.).
Week 12: Spatial Audio Techniques: diffusion techniques (VBAP, Ambisonics, Wavefield Synthesis, binaural etc.).
Week 13: Final project discussions / supervising
Week 14: Final project discussions / supervising
Final: Final Project Presentations.


The Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment And The Tuning of The World, Destiny Books, 1994 – Schaefer, R. Murray.
Spaces Speak, Are You Listening? Experiencing Aural Architecture, MIT Press, 2007 – Blesser, Barry & Salter, Linda-Ruth
The Fundamentals of Sonic Art & Sound Design, AVA Publishing, 2007 – Gibbs, Tony
Acoustics and Psychoacoustics, Focal Press, 2006 – Howard, David M.
On Sonic Art, Harwood Academic Publishers, 1996 – Wishart, Trevor.
Sound and Recording, Focal Press, 2009 – Rumsey, Francis.
Sound Reproduction: Loudspeakers and Rooms, Focal Press, 2008 – Toole, Floyd.
Surround Sound: Up and Running, Second Edition, Focal Press, 2007 – Holman Tomlinson
Music, Electronic Media and Culture, Ashgate, 2000 – Emmerson, Simon.

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