Course Title: Sound Culture

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Sound Culture

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


340H Art


Sem 2 2006,
Sem 2 2007,
Sem 2 2008,
Sem 2 2009

Course Coordinator: Dr Philip Samartzis

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 5207

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: Bld 9.2.47

Course Coordinator Availability: Via Appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

This course is for Fine Art Students from BP201 only.

Course Description

To introduce students to ways of distinguishing between types of sound, noise & music through an analysis of concepts and practices that have informed and shaped sound culture over a 125-year period.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Class is comprised of a four-hour listening program to introduce students to a broad spectrum of sonic experimentation and research. On weeks 5, 9 and 13 students have the opportunity to present completed or semi-completed compositions for class analysis.

Overview of Learning Activities

A series of listening examples comprising themes including noise, silence, environment, 20th century classical music, appropriation, soundscape, musique concrète, electronic music & sound art will be drawn upon to analyse approaches to composition, exhibition and performance.

Visiting artists and field trips will also be used to support learning activities.

Overview of Learning Resources

The Computer Music Journal, Organized Sound & The Wire.

Bandt, Ros, 2001, Sound Sculpture: Intersections in Sound and Sculpture in Australian Artworks, Craftsman House, Sydney.
Cage, John, 1961, Silence, Wesleyan University Press, Middletown.
Chadabe, Joel, 1997, Electric Sound: The Past and Promise of Electronic Music, Prentice Hall, New Jersey.
Cox, Christoph & Warner, Daniel (ed) 2004, Audio Culture, Continuum, New York.
Eshun, Kodwo, 1998, More Brilliant Than The Sun, Quartet Books, London.
Frith, Simon, (ed.) 1990, Facing the Music: Essays on Pop, Rock & Culture, Pantheon Books, New York.
Gonzalez, Jennifer, Gordon, Kim & Higgs, Matthew, 2006, Christian Marclay, Phaidon, London.
Hamilton, Andy, 2007, Aesthetics & Music, Continuum, New York.
Holmes, Thom, 2002, Electronic and Experimental Music, 2nd Edition, Routledge, London and New York.
Johnson, Steven, (ed.) 2002, The New York Schools of Music and Visual Arts, Routledge, London and New York.
Kahn, Douglas, 1999, Noise – Water – Meat, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA and London.
______ & Whitehead, Gregory, (ed.), 1992, Wireless Imagination: Sound, Radio & the Avant-Garde, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA and London.
Lanza, Joseph, 1995, Elevator Music, Quartet Books, London.
Licht, Alan, 2007, Sound Art: Beyond Music, Between Categories, Rizzoli, New York.
Nyman, Michael, 1974, Experimental Music, Studio Vista, London.
Rich, Alan, 1995, American Pioneers: Ives to Cage and Beyond, Phaidon, London.
Roads, Curtis, 1996, The Computer Music Tutorial, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA and London.
Takemitsu, Toru, 1995, Confronting Silence, Scarecrow Press, Maryland.
Tofts, Darren, 2005, Interzone, Craftsman House, Fishermans Bend.
Toop, David, 2004, Haunted Weather: Music, Silence and Memory, Serpents Tail, London.
_______(ed.) 2000, Sonic Boom: The Art of Sound, Hayward Gallery, London.
______ 1999, Exotica, Serpents Tail, London.
______ 1995, Ocean of Sound, Serpents Tail, London.
Young, Rob, 2002, Undercurrents: The Hidden Wiring of Modern Music, Continuum, London and New York.
Zorn, John, ed. 2000, Arcana: Musicians on Music.: Granary Books, New York.

Overview of Assessment

Students must outline a proposal for a solo project by week 4 of each semester. These proposals must be clearly defined, and all work is undertaken in close communication with lecturers and course advisers. Proposals may involve the student being commissioned to provide content or expertise for another student’s project or an external production. Proposals may also involve work experience and industry placements.

All students attend the workshops and reviews held throughout the year to present their work for group feedback, and/or to listen/see other student’s work.

Assessment is based on the lecturer’s expectation that the student:
1). Thoughtfully engage in issues related to sound culture:
2). Successfully execute all technical tasks of a suitable professional standard up to and including the final presentation of the chosen project:
3). Contribute to class discussions and group projects; &
4). Attend the mid-semester reviews (week 5 & 9) and the end of semester assessment days (week 14) to participate in-group feedback of all work presented.