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Fine Arts Center

Latest News

Jan. 19 — Welcome to the Spring 2016 semester. May it be a good one – and not too cold!

Feb. 2 — Just a reminder - Tuesday is Monday on Feb. 16. No school Monday, Feb. 15, no class, Tuesday, Feb. 16.

Feb. 9 — No class next Tuesday. Next week Tuesday is Monday.

Feb. 16 — No class today. The school is on a Monday schedule.

Mar. 15 — Welcome back from Spring Break! I hope yours was a good one.

Mar. 15 — The "soft" due date for the Soundtrack Project is now March 24.

Soundtrack Project

Loop-Based Composition (revised 3/1/16)

The purpose of this exercise is to give you the opportunity to learn more about ACID, GarageBand (if there's time) and the loop-based composition process.

As you complete the project, imagine the possibilities. How would you use this type of composition in your classroom? In your own arrangements and compositions?


  1. Create a soundtrack for a scene from an imaginary movie which follows a description of a scene you write yourself. Take some time to think about the description then write it and email it to JM at the assignements address. The soft due date for your description is March 3. (Submit your description with your soundtrack due March 17. JM 3/1/16.)
  2. Here are some sample descriptions from previous semesters:
    1. "The scene for my movie is someone wandering through the rain forest. They stumble upon a small community that is having some sort of celebration and playing music. This person hangs around the community, then goes on to exploring the rest of the rain forest."
    2. "The scene opens to a prince journeying up a mountain to slay a dragon. Immediately, you are surrounded by the sound of mist, as the music brings us to the top of the mountain where the dragon lives. Both the prince and dragon see each other, and they begin fighting to the death. The prince knows that slaying the dragon is the one thing stopping him from becoming king, and the dragon knows that the only way to keep his life is to kill the prince. Who will win this epically passionate battle? The scene comes to an end as we hear the dragon fall to its death, and the prince walks out in celebration that he is now to become king."
    3. "My movie scene is about a wounded solider in the line of duty. You start to hear a subtle heartbeat becoming more and more intense while a simple tune is being played shadowing his closeness with death. Bombs, helicopters, guns and screams are present throughout the entire scene to resemble an actual battlefield. Towards the end of the scene a quiet trumpet playing a lyrical passage comes in, this resembles the all-familiar taps (which resembles death). Within that a section of strings hold on to one note to resemble a flat line, also signifying death. With death around the solider it is not known if he does pass away at the end, but just a gasp is the last thing you hear."
    4. "A few kids are spray-painting a wall. The cops catch them. The kids run away, they run and climb up and over a fence. They find a wall to hide behind. They see the lights of the police car approaching. The car passes by. They jump on the opportunity to run away. They get to their apartment building climb up the stairs, get inside and lock the door."
  3. If you find that you're having difficulty creating a soundtrack for your original description, you may modify it or change it completely. The original description is just a starting point.
  4. The soundtrack must contain loops from the ACID library. There is no minimum requirement for the number of ACID loops you should use.
  5. The soundtrack MAY contain sound effects, original music or loops, and excerpts from other recorded music.
    1. Ask JM for assistance if you'd like to create your own loops. The process is the same as creating a ringtone but the editing must be very precise so the loop is "seamless", i.e. it repeats in rhythm so you can't hear where the loop begins and ends.
    2. A good source for sounds effects is SoundBible.
  6. The soundtrack must be at least 30 seconds long.
  7. When completed:
    1. If you do your project in ACID, render a 56kbps WMA version and send the file to JM at the assignment address.
    2. If you complete your soundtrack in GarageBand, follow these steps:
      1. Share menu > Export Song to Disk > Export using the AAC encoder at High Quality.
      2. Open the rendered/exported file in Audacity and convert it to 128kbps MP3. Send the file to JM at the assignment address.
      3. GarageBand Users Please Note: we have an older version of GarageBand in the lab. If you work on your project on your own computer you might not be able to open it in the lab.
    3. The due date for this exercise is March 17 (after break) with the description of the scene due March 3. (Submit your description with your soundtrack). Both are soft due dates.