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Foundations of Music Technology

V. J. Manzo

Publication Date - July 2015

ISBN: 9780199368297

272 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

The basics of music technology taught through hands-on projects and learning applications


Foundations of Music Technology explores the core concepts of music technology and its uses as a mechanism to facilitate musicianship in a way that is accessible to all students--from the musician with limited technology skills to the technology expert with little knowledge in music notation. The text uses a free, customized software application for Mac or PC in order to demonstrate fundamental concepts of music technology germane to all professional applications like recording, synthesis, digital notation, MIDI, automating effects, acoustics, and more. With the concepts grasped using this "software-independent" approach, students can then transfer those learned skills over to the software of their choice.


  • Each chapter introduces and demonstrates universally shared foundational concepts of music technology using hands-on, customized, software-based lessons, which can be applied immediately using the Fundamentals of Music Technology (FMT) software
  • A free, customized software application for Mac or PC demonstrates the basic concepts of music technology germane to all professional applications like recording, synthesis, digital notation, MIDI, automating effects, acoustics, and more. Visit www.oup.com/us/manzo
  • An online Instructor's Manual provides class lecture outlines, illustrations, and suggested assignments that relate to and reinforce concepts introduced in the text

About the Author(s)

V.J. Manzo (PhD Temple University, M.M. New York University) is Assistant Professor of Music Technology and Cognition at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). He is a composer and guitarist with research interests in theory and composition, artificial intelligence, interactive music systems, and music cognition. V.J. is the Oxford University Press author of the books MAX/MSP/Jitter for Music on developing software-based interactive music systems and coauthor of Interactive Composition: Strategies Using Ableton Live and Max for Live. For more information, visit his website vjmanzo.com.


"Foundations of Music Technology offers clear explanations of concepts, excellent examples, and interesting chapter assignments." --Adam Vidiksis, Temple University

"The overall approach is excellent and unique. Foundations of Music Technology is pedagogically efficient with software applications that promote self-learning, exploration, and hands-on experiments." --Frederick W. Bianchi, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

"The software on the book's website is creative enough to solidify the concepts discussed and simple enough that it's not intimidating to people who have limited computer experience." --Scott Velazco, Daytona State College

"The software components provide the most accurate experience for beginning music technologists. They're my favorite part of this book." --Michael Albaugh, Director of Education Operations at Jazz at Lincoln Center

Table of Contents

    *Each chapter ends with a Summary, key Concepts key Terms.
    1. Properties of Sound
    What is Sound?
    The Harmonic Series and Timbre
    Our Hearing Range
    Spectrogram Analysis
    Combining Timbres
    2. Audio
    Before We Begin
    The Signal Path
    Keeping a Uniform Signal
    -- XLR Cables
    -- Balanced and Unbalanced Signals
    -- Balanced 1/4-inch Tip, Ring, and Sleeve (TRS) Cables
    -- Unbalanced Tip and Sleeve (TS) Cables
    -- Other Cables
    Audio Interfaces
    -- Higher Sampling Rates
    -- Compressed Audio
    -- Bit Depth and Sampling Rate
    -- Audio Interface I/Os
    Digital Audio Workstations
    Speakers and Amplifiers
    Microphone Types and Basic Placement
    --Microphone Placement
    --Other Microphones and Techniques
    3. Audio Editing Software
    Basic DAW Functions
    Recording & Editing
    Gain Levels
    Importing Audio
    Overdubbing and Preventing Feedback
    Loop-based DAWs
    4. Synthesis
    Additive Synthesis
    Envelopes and ADSR curves
    Physical Modeling
    Combining Waves
    -- Phase
    -- Multiplying Waves
    -- Ring Modulation
    -- Amplitude Modulation ( AM Synthesis)
    -- Frequency Modulation (FM) Synthesis
    Subtractive Synthesis
    Sample-based Synthesis
    Granular Synthesis
    5. MIDI
    Before MIDI
    The MIDI Protocol
    -- Note On and Note Off Messages
    -- MIDI Programs
    -- Controller Messages
    -- MIDI Channels
    -- Piano Roll
    Other Protocols
    6. Music Notation Software
    Basic Notation Application Functions
    Note Entry
    Importing MIDI Files
    Importing MIDI Files in DAWs
    Future Work
    7. Sequencing MIDI
    -- Basic Setup
    -- The Live Browser
    -- Max for Live
    -- Plug-Ins Device Browser
    -- Other Menus
    -- Places
    -- Adding Book Content
    Working in Live
    Arrangement View
    MIDI and Audio Tracks
    -- MIDI
    -- MIDI Pitch Editor
    -- MIDI Velocity Editor
    -- Loops
    -- Adding Tracks
    -- Inserting A New MIDI Clip
    -- Recording with a MIDI keyboard or the Computer MIDI Keyboard
    -- Changing Tempo
    -- Saving and Cleaning Up the Set
    -- Exporting rendered audio
    8. Acoustics
    The Hearing Process
    Room Acoustics
    Sound Systems
    Phase Cancellation
    9. Effects
    Gain and Distortion
    Tone-Shaping Controls in Effects
    Effects and Performance
    Output Gains in Effects
    Effects Chain
    Effects in DAWs
    10. Sequencing and Performing with Audio
    Session View
    Recording and Editing Clips
    Recording Audio
    Audio Channels
    Adding Effects
    Key and MIDI Mapping
    Record to the Arrangement View
    11. Technology in Performance
    Old Venues with a New Twist
    A Little History: Electroacoustic Music
    Film, Television, Video Games, Multimedia, and the Studio
    Interactive Music
    Interactive Music Systems
    Further Possibilities
    12. Technology in Education
    Technology for a Purpose
    -- Composition
    -- Performance
    -- Education
    Technology-based Musical Instruments
    Interactive Music Systems
    Separating Cognitive Functions of Musicianship from Physical
    -- Technology Dictating Pedagogy
    -- Notation
    Educational Considerations
    Informal Music Learning through Technology
    Technology in Practical Educational Use
    13. Technology in Composition
    Algorithmic Composition
    -- Early American Algorithmic Composition: David Cope
    -- Rule-Based Algorithmic Composition
    -- Data-Driven Algorithmic Composition
    -- Issues of Authorship
    Algorithmic Composition Methods
    Software and Tools
    -- Pre-composed Loop and Pattern Software
    -- Sound Manipulation
    -- Composer of Algorithms and Algorithmic Composition
    14. Introduction to Music Programming
    Programming Languages
    Introduction to Max
    The Max Window
    -- Help Patchers
    -- Arguments
    -- Separating Items in a Message
    -- Numbers: Integers and Floating Points
    -- Aligning
    -- Commenting
    -- Inspector
    Generating Music
    -- The RAT Patch: Creating Random Atonal Trash
    -- Synthesizing MIDI numbers
    -- Adding Timing
    -- Slider Patch
    -- Rat Patch 2
    MIDI Input