Fall 2009»FYSM 117 Homework 2

FYSM 117 Homework 2

Assigned Date: Friday, Oct. 2, 2009
Due Date: Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2009
Due Time: 9:00am

Last modified on November 20, 2009, at 08:38 AM (see updates)

This is a pair assignment. You must work with a partner.


This assignment focuses on:

  • creating music with computers,
  • gaining experience with audio recording/manipulation software,
  • learning about different file formats,
  • exploring different filters and audio effects, and
  • exporting a mix-down (final audio file).


Use Audacity to create music. You will record and/or import sounds, cut & paste (splice) them, process them (see Audacity Effects menu), and assemble (mix) them into a "musical" composition.

Your composition should be in the musique concrète style:

"Musique concrète (French; literally, "concrete music"), is a style of avant-garde music that relies on natural environmental sounds and other non-inherently-musical noises to create music."

Use Audacity to manipulate and combine sounds, as in the video we watched in class. Be creative, be original.

A great place to find audio files is http://www.findsounds.com/.


Incorporate Fibonacci numbers and/or the Golden Ratio in your project. For example, use the Golden Ratio in the lengths of various parts of your composition.

To get full credit you have to document how you did this (see below).


You will submit your assignment at the beginning of class on the due date. Bring your project on a standard CDROM disk. Be prepared to demo your music to the rest of the class.

The CD should contain:

  1. The class, homework assignment, date, name of your composition, team names written on its surface.
  2. A readme file with:
    • The class, homework assignment, date, name of your composition, team names at the top.
    • Names and descriptions of original sound clips. Also, where you got them (include URLs). The last part is most important (vis. plagiarism tutorial).
    • Description of how you manipulated the raw clips (e.g., effects you applied, etc.), and how you combined them. This part is very important also (the job of an audio engineer depends on it).
    • Format: MS word document (should be .doc and NOT .docx), or PDF, or text - a standard format that can be opened and printed.
  3. Your original audio clips (as named in the readme file).
  4. Your Audacity project file (call it Name_of_Your_Composition.aup, whatever the name of your composition is).
  5. Your final mixed-down audio file (see Audacity's Export menu). The format should be MP3, or OGG, or WAV (in that order of preference).

Before submitting the CD make sure everything is readable from it.

Alternatively, you could submit everything on a memory stick (USB flash drive). Put it in an envelop with the class, homework assignment, date, name of your composition, team names written on its surface.


Your assignment will be graded based on:

  • How interesting your music is.
  • Variety of ideas you tried in your composition.
  • How well you followed the above instructions.


For your in-class demo, you should:

  • Discuss your composition design.
  • Illustrate your design by discussing different components.
  • Play your music.


Each student will vote for the three best projects (excluding their own), in terms of originality, significance, sound appeal, and presentation/demo.

Submitted Compositions

goldentechno.mp3, Youtube Smash Up.mp3, City.mp3, 1 Dune Buggy.mp3, mess around.mp3, movie quotes.mp3, 10 Battlestar Scralatchtica.mp3, African Time Warp.mp3, and Sad Robots.mp3.