Course Title: Technology, Composition and Perception 1a

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Technology, Composition and Perception 1a

Credit Points: 12

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


340H Art


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 1 2011

Course Coordinator: Darrin Verhagen

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 3718

Course Coordinator

Course Coordinator Availability: Via Appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

This course explores some of the fundamental neurological underpinnings of artistic experience, and the broader ramifications such ideas may have for art. Through the examination of a wide range of genres, we explore the different musical tools employed, often to stimulate similar outcomes. Links across discipline, time and geography are used to challenge prevailing assumptions. These perspectives are then used to inform analysis of the students’ own musical works, composed to address a series of challenges set by the lecturer. (This has previously included composing for the Melbourne Town Hall organ, Federation Bells, pencils & textas, sine tones, and a gamelan created by the ceramics department.)

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

By the end of this course, students will:

1). be able to successfully analyse compositional problems, choices and approaches across a wide range of styles
2). successfully contextualise their own music, analysing its strengths and weaknesses, and become informed, astute and articulate when discussing basic compositional issues
3). Consider and debate the value of biological/neurological and mathematical theories when studying the creation of, and the responses to artistic works.
4). Demonstrate the principles covered in class within their own arts practice.

Overview of Learning Activities

Listening Program:
A series of listening examples will be analysed from a broad selection of musical styles including pop, industrial, ambience, lowercase, glitch, “classic” German electronica, noise, Plunderphonia, drill & bass, rock, postclassical, electronic neoclassical, Indonesian and Japanese classical, and metal. Relationships between these genres will be examined, the influence of developments in technology on the form will be analysed, and a variety of compositional approaches (potentially applicable to the students’ own arts practice) explored.

Fine Art Project/Advanced Studio (2nd & 3rd years):
To further develop concepts and techniques explored in the Technology, Composition & Perception course area within specific projects devised in consultation with their lecturers & course advisers. Students have the opportunity to either cover a wide range of recording, compositional and/or programming skills, or focus on a single area. Areas include can include both electronic and non-electronic composition within or across any genre, live or studio practice, further research and written explorations of issues studied in workshops.

Overview of Learning Resources

Hardware and Software necessary for the course are provided in the Sound Design bays in the Sound lab (14.2.04), with each student allocated a minimum five hours a week access. Home recording is also possible.
Wide listening is encouraged, with the campus audiovisual archives recommended as an adjunct to students’ existing avenues.
Recommended texts are discussed in class, and students are expected to deepen their understanding and broaden their perspectives through access to material in the library, websites and discussion groups.
Students are able to make one-on-one consultation bookings on select mornings throughout the semesters to revise and seek further advice on the methods and processes covered in the technical Workshops, lectures & process workshops

Blackboard is used extensively in this course for announcements, links, recommended texts, forum discussions, and wikis

Overview of Assessment

Assessable tasks are chosen to hone both the students’ technical skillset, as well as their compositional methodology. Projects are designed to allow the students opportunity to demonstrate many of the fundamental issues canvassed in class discussion, as well as to extend the fundamental parameters of their arts practice.
Assessment includes compositional exercises, class presentations, semester reviews and class participation.