MUS 161-001     Computer Music Applications 1    

Fall Semester:   Aug 26, 2016 to Dec 09, 2016


Catalog Course Description: This course encompasses using computer hardware, software and electronics to produce music. lt is designed to give music majors and students with a strong interest in music a basic understanding of the music production process. This includes the basic knowledge of audio/music production, the fundamentals of sound and microphones, digital and analog technology, MIDI and digital instruments, recording, and mixing.

Instructor Course Description: This course encompasses using computer software and electronics to produce and perform music. lt is designed to give music majors and students with a strong interest in music a basic understanding of the music production process. This includes the basic knowledge of audio/music production, the fundamentals of sound and synthesis, MIDI and digital instruments, as well as network-based interaction and control technologies.     The recording and production details have been moved from this class to a new course focusing on Recording Music and Audio Production.

Prerequisites: Basic Computer operation (copy/paste/save/email/internet) and Some knowledge of Mac OSX operating system (you will know if you are ok on this detail by the end of the first class…). Plus an professional ambition music or a musical background.

Class Location: The Music Lab C1807

Front Range Community College: Westminster Campus

Class Meets: Friday 8:30am until 11:30pm

Office Hours:  by appointment only        


Instructor:  Langdon Crawford    

Recommended Text:    Making Music by Dennis DeSantis  This book is a collection of  inspirational musical experiments, ideas, and practices.  It's a great resource for when you get stuck on an assignment/gig or have momentary writers block.

Additional sources and references:

Theory and History ( Library books)

 Contemporary Technology and Ideas (web)

Required Materials: You will need your own set of headphones and an at least an 64Gig USB 2 portable hard drive for saving and transporting files. Windows users must speak to me about using their own computers for class. Additional software or hardware will be required.  Specifically, you will need to be able to pass MIDI from one application to another,  You can do this with software ( or with a USB MIDI interface plugged back into itself.

The music department has music keyboards and audio production equipment that can be checked out. You will also be expected to have note-taking materials and to take notes during lectures.

Class Objective:

The aim of this class is designed to give music students, as well as those with a strong interest in music and computer technology, a structured and basic knowledge of the various aspects of digital instruments, music synthesis, digital audio production and performance. This includes a working knowledge of recording devices and software, MIDI, digital synthesis, mixing, effects, and networking technology. At the conclusion of the class you should be able to use the computer to produce and perform electronic music as well as constructively discuss the creative work produced.

Nature of class meeting

Everyone brings a different background and experience to the class and you are expected to help each other by sharing your knowledge with others. The material covered in this class might vary somewhat from the following schedule. lt will be adjusted at times depending on conditions and where we are as a group in our collective experience.

Group critiques are meant to be learning experiences for all students. Students must be willing to give and accept constructive criticism as part of the creative process. lf there are special circumstances that need to be taken into consideration, please discuss that with me in private prior to any critique.

Grading Rubric:  

Timeliness and Participation 30%

Labs and Presentations 28%

Projects: 42%   ( 5 projects:  6, 7, 8, 9  and the final is  12 points)

Bonus work: (up to) 10%   but please keep in mind NO LATE WORK IS ACCEPTED!

Project deadlines are absolute, except in extremely extraordinary circumstances (Hospitalization, death in the family, Earthquakes, etc)

Below requires updates for September 2016

Class Policies:

Important Concepts will be presented in each class to help you understand this complex subject. If for some reason you need to miss a Class, it is important that you “catch-up” on your own. I suggest you team up with a couple of class members who will help you it you need to miss a Class.  Since attendance and participation are such a big portion of your grade, we will have to find some make up work for the occasional absence.

No food or drink is allowed near the computers. There will be at least a ten minute break per hour of class.

Cell phones…  we may be using them as part of our computer music projects.  Its best if their batteries are not drained by outside of class activities.

Student rights, freedoms and responsibilities

Students should be aware of their rights, freedoms, and responsibilities as well as the student code of conduct as outlined in the academic catalog and at:

Plagiarism and Copyright Violations: Although in this class, the use of other’s material is allowed and expected from time to time (i.e. royalty-free licensed video, music and sound effects), there should be no plagiarism when producing final Work or presenting one’s own ideas. lf you have a question, talk to me for clarification as to what is allowed for educational use in a Multimedia classroom or refer to the Front Range catalog where it states:

The Humanities Department strives for academic excellence and encourages all students to achieve their best. Moreover, the department promotes academic honesty and does not tolerate cheating or plagiarism. Cheating is defined as the practice of fraud or trickery, to violate rules dishonesty and to act deceiving/y. Plagiarism is defined as presenting ideas or words of another as one’s own. As a college student it is your responsibility to fully understand the concepts of cheating and plagiarism. Instructors are always available to clarify for students the exact definition of cheating and plagiarism. Failure to understand these concepts does not excuse you from potential reprimand. According to Front Range Community College policy, consequences of cheating or plagiarism can result in an F on the assignment or exam, an F in the course, and/or dismissal from Front Range Community College.

In this class it means dismissal from the class and an automatic F.

Students with Special Needs:

Any student who requires accommodations because of a physical, learning, psychiatric, vision or hearing disability must contact the instructor and the Special Services office (303-404-5302) at the beginning of the semester. After the student has documented their disability with Special Services, please make an appointment with the instructor to discuss the accommodations.

Other legal details:

The following actions have eligibility implications for financial aid recipients: non-attendance, dropping courses, withdrawing from courses, repeating courses, academic progress, and the number of credit hours attempted and completed. You are strongly encouraged to seek financial aid advising throughout the term if you have any questions about eligibility implications.

Our college is committed to preserving a safe and welcoming educational environment for all students. As part of this effort, I have an obligation to report certain issues relating to the health and safety of campus community members. I must report to the appropriate college officials any allegation of discrimination or harassment. Sexual misconduct, which includes sexual harassment, non-consensual sexual contact, non-consensual sexual intercourse, and sexual exploitation, is considered a form of discrimination. In addition to reporting all discrimination and harassment claims, I must report all allegations of dating violence or domestic violence, child abuse or neglect, and/or credible threats of harm to yourself or others. Such reports may trigger contact from a college official who will want to talk with you about the incident that you have shared. In almost all cases, it will be your decision whether you wish to speak with that individual. If you would like more information, you may reach the Title IX/EO Coordinator by emailing or calling 303-678-3707. Reports to law enforcement can be made with the local law enforcement agency or you may contact the campus security office at: Boulder County Campus – 303-678-3911 Larimer County Campus – 970-204-8124 Westminster Campus – 303-404-5411 If you would like a confidential resource, please contact Paul Meese, FRCC Executive Director of Human Resources. Further information may be found on the college’s web site at:

Front Range Community College provides faculty, staff and students a resource to report their concern about any member of the FRCC community. If you are concerned about yourself or someone else, please go to and report.