Final Project

Final Project

The Final Project consists of music you produce using techniques learned in the course. There are no stylistic restrictions. The goal is to come up with something you like and is the result of a strong effort. This can’t be done well in only a couple of afternoons, so you will need to spend plenty of time on the project.

What to Hand In

You will turn in an AAC file of your final project mix, as well as a project description and your Reason song file. (See the bottom of this page for submission details.)

Your grade will depend on your fulfillment of the technical requirements listed below, your project description, and my evaluation of your musical accomplishment.

Requirements and Advice

  • Your sequence should last at least two minutes and must not exceed four minutes. Seriously, if it’s getting longer than 4:00, you need to edit it down. Careful editing can improve your piece. Excessively long pieces will lose some grade points.
  • Your sequence should have a brief title, which you will add to the AAC file using File > Get Info in iTunes (or a similar method in another program).
  • Your sequence can be your own music or a creative arrangement or remix of music by someone else, whom you must credit in the project description you will submit on Canvas.

    If you do an arrangement or remix, you may not use clips of the original artist’s complete audio recording within your sequence!

    If you make a remix, you may use an a capella — a vocal track from a recording session released by the artist — if you can find one. (Try Acapellas4U.)

  • Do not rely on finished sound recordings or MIDI files made by others. If all you do is take finished music from someone else and play chunks of it in your piece with a few changes, this won’t be adequate. I need to feel that the piece is yours, not somebody else’s.

    In particular, it will take a lot to convince me that even short segments of someone else’s original music, dropped into your own sequence, represents enough work on your part. If you are unsure whether your idea fits into this category, please ask me.

    You should choose a project which lets you employ the synthesis, sampling, sequencing, and mixing skills you have honed in this class. Recording your band or your friend’s folk act and adding a synthesizer part is not going to be enough to demonstrate those skills.

    For anything other than the built-in sounds available in Reason, you must cite sources (in your project description, explained below) for materials you haven’t made yourself, just as you would do for quotations in a term paper.

  • Your sequence must be completely mixed. Some tracks should have changing volume and/or pan.

    NOTE: It’s not likely that using the default fader and pan values for all tracks will be effective musically.

  • Your project should have no clipping! Consult the web page about clipping to find out how to recognize and fix clipping.
  • Your piece should sound like you worked it over and tweaked things until they seemed just right to you. That does not mean that it has to sound smooth — it can sound noisy and rough, as long as these qualities are not the result of negligence.

    If you use audio tracks, listen carefully for pops and clicks at the edges of your audio clips. This happens because of discontinuities in the waveform that can arise when a clip ends abruptly. Clicks can be very distracting, unless they are part of an intentional glitch aesthetic. You can eliminate clicks by using the clip fadein/fadeout handles (described in Working with Audio Clips).

  • WARNING: Please maintain multiple backups of all your data. It’s easy to lose all your work if your only up-to-date copy becomes corrupted somehow. Never work on your only copy of a project. Keep a history of the versions of your project: one for Monday, one for Tuesday, one for Wednesday, etc.
  • LOSS OF WORK DUE TO MEDIA OR FILE CORRUPTION WILL NOT EARN YOU AN EXTENSION! Anticipating problems and learning to back up your work is an important part of working with computers.

Submitting Your Project

Here are the three items you must hand in by the due date. Read these very carefully before submitting anything, as your grade will depend partly on whether the materials you submit are prepared properly.

  1. Turn in an AAC file of your final project music, with your IU user name as the AAC file name. An MP3 file is also acceptable. Please add your title to the AAC or MP3 file using File > Get Info in iTunes. Submit this file, along with the other required files described below, in Canvas, in the Assignments section (instructions here).

    NOTE: Please do not submit uncompressed audio files (Wave or AIFF)!

  2. Submit in Canvas a project description as a plain text (.txt), RTF (.rtf), or Word (.doc, .docx) file, just as you did for Exercise A. You may also type your description into the edit box on the Canvas submission page. Include:
    1. the basic musical idea(s) behind your piece,
    2. some techniques you employed,
    3. anything special you might want me to listen for, and
    4. a complete list of any sound files that are not part of the Reason factory banks (Factory Sounds, Orkester Sounds).
  3. Submit in Canvas the Reason song file you used to generate your project.