Course Syllabus

Music Technology and Computers
Fall 2021
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 12:30 to 1:50 p.m. In-Person location WSH 180.
Discussion Sections: Fridays, 50 minutes. In-Person locations listed below.

Instructor: Kojiro Umezaki
Office: Contemporary Arts Center 3019
Meeting by appointment only.

Teaching Assistants: Chieh Huang, Chris Hadley, JoVia Armstrong, Steven Lewis

Please contact Teaching Assistants via the Canvas Inbox.

Friday Mandatory TA Discussion Sessions:

  • 11am (Section B) - Chieh Huang MM 116
  • 11am (Section C) - Steven Lewis AITR 190
  • 12pm (Section D) - JoVia Armstrong MM 116
  • 12pm (Section E) - Chris Hadley AITR 190
  • 1pm (Section F) - TA rotation MM 116


This course is an introduction to the history, aesthetics, techniques, and theory of computer (digital) technology in music.

Topics covered in this course will likely include (others are also possible):

  • Defining sound (from physical to psychological).
  • Differentiating between analog and digital representations.
  • Digital representation of music and sound and its artistic implications.
  • History and aesthetics of early electronic music.
  • History and aesthetics of early computer music.
  • Modern uses of computers in music (production).
  • Modern uses of computers in music (distribution). [likely not this quarter]
  • Creative practices with music and technology (collaborative).
  • Overview of contemporary digital music tools (digital audio and digital music sequencers).
  • Basic studio techniques.
  • Basic synthesis methods.
  • Sampling and issues of ownership/copyright. [likely not this quarter]
  • New ideas in music-technology-business ecosystem.
  • The future of music and technology.


Follow the Canvas modules for this course to help ensure you complete all assignments on time. 

Inquiry and activity-based learning will be the guiding structure during class time, often resulting in break-out group discussions/activities or use of online engagement tools (Canvas, Zoom, etc.). This requires active in-class participation. Students may be asked to create questions, plausible answers to those questions, and evaluate and "like" others’ posts/questions/answers. Submitting suggestions and ideas will also be encouraged. Peer mentoring in class will be encouraged. The instructor will provide a lecture component for each meeting which will include topics on both technique/theory and history/aesthetics. There will be one or more special events for which attendance will be highly encouraged. There will be no text book, but online readings will be made available. It will be up to the class participant to search for additional reading material to supplement in-class discussion.


  • Audacity (multi-track sound editor).
  • Soundation for Education (digital audio workstation). Please review Soundation's privacy policy and terms of use.

Soundation for Education will be provided for free to all enrolled students. Audacity is freeware.

Course Schedule

PART 1 - Introduction, Microphones, Name and Sound Project, Concert Event
  • WEEK 0 Th - 09/23, Introduction (1st half of course)
    • WEEK 0 F - 09/24, Groups
  • WEEK 1 T - 09/28, Microphones (Part 1)
  • WEEK 1 Th - 09/30, Microphones (Part 2)
PART 2 - Digital Audio: Quantization and Sampling Theory, Rhythm Project; What is a Sound?
  • WEEK 2 T - 10/5, Vibrations, Volts, Bits, and Decibels
  • WEEK 2 Th - 10/7, Digital Audio: Quantization, Part 1, Rhythm Project
    • WEEK 2 F - 10/8, Rhythm Project
  • WEEK 3 T - 10/12, Digital Audio: Quantization, Part 2
  • WEEK 3 Th - 10/14, Digital Audio: Sampling Theorem, Part 1
    • WEEK 3 F - 10/15, Rhythm Project
  • WEEK 4 T - 10/19, Digital Audio: Sampling Theorem, Part 2
  • WEEK 4 Th - 10/21, Quiz review
    • WEEK 4 F - 10/22, Rhythm Project, Quiz office hours
Quiz on Digital Audio (and More)
Date: Open from Thursday, Oct 21 at 2pm until Tuesday, Oct 26 at 12:30pm.
Duration: No time limit.
Acquisition/Return Method: Online quiz on Canvas.
Material Required: Open notes.
PART 3 - Creative Project (Part 1), Studio Techniques
  • WEEK 5 T - 10/28, Introduction (2nd-half of course)
  • WEEK 5 Th - 10/28, Studio Techniques: Compression
    • WEEK 5 F - 10/29, Soundation
  • WEEK 6 T - 11/2, Studio Techniques: Equalization (EQ) and Filters
  • WEEK 6 Th - 11/4, Studio Techniques: Other Effects (Part 1)
    • WEEK 6 F - 11/5, Creative Project (Part 1)
  • WEEK 7 T - 11/9, Studio Techniques: Other Effects (Part 2); Intro to Algorithmic Music and AI in Music
    • WEEK 7 F - 11/12, Creative Project (Part 1)
PART 4 - Creative Project #2, Music Control Protocols: MIDI, and More
  • WEEK 8 T - 11/16, AI and Music: Guest Presentation by Boomy; ZOOM ONLY (NO IN-PERSON CLASS MEETING)
  • WEEK 8 Th - 11/18, Music Control Protocols: MIDI, Part 1; Creative Project (Part 2); ZOOM ONLY (NO IN-PERSON CLASS MEETING)
    • WEEK 8 F - 11/19,  Creative Project (Part 2)
  • WEEK 9 T - 11/23, Music Control Protocols: MIDI, Part 2;  Synthesis; Creative Project (Part 2)
  • WEEK 10 T - 11/30, Electronic Instruments, Part 1; Listening to Creative Project (Part 1)
  • WEEK 10 Th - 12/2, Electronic Instruments, Part 2; Course Coda, Quiz review
    • WEEK 10 F - 12/3, Creative Project (Part 2), Quiz office hours
Quiz on MIDI (and More)
Date: open from Monday, Dec 6 at 12pm until Friday, Dec 10 at 5pm.
Duration: no time limit
Acquisition/Return Method: Online quiz on Canvas.
Material Required: Open notes.


  • 60% - Assignments (including some smaller creative projects and larger quizzes)
  • 15% - Creative Project #1 (due Friday, Week 7)
  • 20% - Creative Project #2 (due Friday, Week 10)
  • 5% - Discussion Session attendance

Note: It is possible that for some groups Audacity will be the software used for Creative Project #1 and #2. The instructor will provide more details about this option if needed.

Late assignment policy: 10% deduction per day after deadline. Deduction starts immediately after deadline (e.g. due date/time Dec 1 at 5pm and submission date/time, Dec 1 at 6pm means 10% deduction; due date/time Dec 1 at 5pm and submission date/time, Dec 2 at 6pm means 20% deduction, etc.)

With one exception (see below), there will be no extra credit option.

While there is no attendance policy for regular class meetings, it is up to the student to keep up with missed course content. The instructor and TAs are not obligated to assist with missed course content. There is a mandatory attendance policy for the Friday discussion sections, however. For the discussion sections, you are permitted one absence without any deductions.

Attendance at an instructor-selected concert featuring music-technology will result in some extra credit. The extra credit will work as follows:

  • An additional 1% added to final course grade.


There is no required purchase of a text book. Most (if not all) reading materials will be online. 

Perusall is the software we will be using to comment together on class texts. Perusall is free for UCI students. Please be sure to use your student ID numbers when creating an account to help make sure you receive credit in the Canvas grading system. 

You will be expected to read the online manuals and tutorials for Soundation for Education and Audacity on your own.

Out-of-class Time

This is a 4-unit course. The meetings total roughly 3 hours per week. The expectation is to spend roughly 2-3 times the amount of "in-meeting" time outside of the regular lecture and discussion meetings. That amounts to 6-9 hours per week outside of regular meetings.

Academic Integrity Statement

Academic honesty is a requirement for passing this class. Any student who compromises the academic integrity of this course is subject to a failing grade. The work you submit must be your own. Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to copying answers from another student, allowing another student to copy your answers, communicating exam answers to other students during an exam, attempting to use notes or other aids during an exam, or tampering with an exam after it has been corrected and then returning it for more credit. If you do so, you will be in violation of the UCI Policies on Academic Integrity <see to an external site.>. It is your responsibility to read and understand these policies. Note that any instance of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Academic Integrity Administrative Office for disciplinary action and is cause for a failing grade in the course.

This Class is an Anti-Racist Space

While we welcome diverse perspectives and respectful disagreement, expressions of discrimination, stereotyping, hate, or violence will not be tolerated.

Sexual Harassment/Title IX Officer

The Sexual Harassment/Title IX Officer (SHO) is responsible for coordinating the University's compliance with federal and state discrimination and sexual harassment laws, as well as investigations of sex offenses. As such, the SHO provides educational programs regarding discrimination, sexual harassment and sex offense prevention for students, staff and faculty on the campus and at the medical center. The SHO responds to, investigates, and/or seeks resolution to allegations of discrimination, sexual harassment or sex offenses, and serves as an information resource on issues of sexual harassment.

Click here for more information on UCI’s Title IX Officer.

COVID-19 Policies 

When physically present in a classroom, other instructional space, or any other space owned or controlled by UCI, all students and all employees (faculty and staff) must comply with COVID-19 related UCI executive directives and guidance. This guidance takes into account federal, state, and local guidelines and is available at The following provides an outline of the basic requirements and includes links to other sites for more information.

Reasonable Accommodations

If you would like to request a reasonable accommodation related to the coronavirus or for any other reason to facilitate your participation in this course, please contact the UCI Disability Services Center (DSC).

How to Contact DSC: 949-824-7974 or

How to Request a Reasonable Accommodation: Students who want to request reasonable accommodations must register with DSC at the DSC Student Registration Page.

Cleaning and Sanitizing of Classrooms and Other Learning Spaces

UCI will clean and sanitize classrooms and other learning spaces according to standards established by the campus and articulated under the heading “Classroom Planning” at: If you find something of concern in this regard, please report it to the instructor and to and

Selling, preparing, or distributing for any commercial purpose course lecture notes or video or audio recordings of any course unless authorized by the University in advance and explicitly permitted by the course instructor in writing. The unauthorized sale or commercial distribution of course notes or recordings by a student is a violation of these Policies whether or not it was the student or someone else who prepared the notes or recordings.

Course Summary:

Date Details Due