MUSONIC 2905 - Circuit Bending and Hardware Hacking
North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2021
General Course Information
Course Code MUSONIC 2905 Course Circuit Bending and Hardware Hacking Coordinating Unit Elder Conservatorium of Music Term Semester 1 Level Undergraduate Location/s North Terrace Campus Units 3 Contact Up to 3 hours per week Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y Prerequisites MUSONIC 1000 Course Description Circuit Bending and Hardware Hacking is a theoretical and practical course examining electronics and its application to sound and music. In particular, the course approaches the creation, manipulation and use of electronics in music and sound using a performative and exploratory approach. Topics covered include: the background and history of electronics, electronic theory and design, soldering, breadboarding, circuit and hardware manipulation, noise, processing, controls, connectors, sound generation and modulation, and signal flow. The topics will be covered through a series of workshops that include theoretical presentations, practical demonstrations, individual and group work, portfolio development and instrument creation. Further, students will complete reading and listening that reinforce concepts, provide new insights and techniques; and perform practical exercises that promote investigative learning and research. The course has the following learning objectives: extend artistic and technical outcomes in the sonic arts including sound design, composition, performance and instrument development; develop techniques for exploratory and performative research; enhance problem solving skills; provide a reflexive active skill set that can re-imagine past and current technologies and adapt to the rapidly changing technological landscape, its practices and processes.
Course Coordinator: Dr Sebastian TomczakStaff:
Dr Seb Tomczak
The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.
Course Learning Outcomes
The objectives of this course are to:
- Develop practical creative and technical skills that display accuracy, fluency and depth of understanding and application with respect to electronics and music technology.
- Develop creative and technical knowledge that displays a deep and comprehensive understanding of the theoretical, historical and cultural underpinnings in the area of music technology.
- Develop independent, imaginative and creative approaches to problem solving using musical technologies.
- Develop research skills and critical understanding of music technology and its associated areas.
University Graduate Attributes
This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:
University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s) Deep discipline knowledge
- informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
- acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
- accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
1,2 Critical thinking and problem solving
- steeped in research methods and rigor
- based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
- demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
1,2,3,4 Teamwork and communication skills
- developed from, with, and via the SGDE
- honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
- encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
3 Career and leadership readiness
- technology savvy
- professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
- forward thinking and well informed
- tested and validated by work based experiences
1,2,3,4 Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
- a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
- open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
- able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
- Extensive course readings and support material are available on MyUni are of vital importance in gaining an understanding of the content of this course. Please refer to it frequently.
- Students are expected to purchase specific electronic components and equipment for this course. A list including with part numbers and recommended local and interstate retailers will be available on MyUni.
- USB Stick or portable hard drive with enough capacity to store files associated with the course and formatted as "exFAT" to provide suitable compatability between MacOS and Windows.
- Stereo headphones with a 6.5mm male adaptor. Recommended Type: Closed-Back, Over-the-Ear Headphones.
- Note – students must bring both their USB storage and Headphones (with adaptor) to university, as they are required for various classes, completing exercises and for using laboratories and studios.
This course may require using spaces where a dB meter has been installed. If you exceed the set dB limit for the space, the lights will flash. Students found exceeding these levels will have their booking privileges revoked for two weeks, and repeat offenders may have their booking privileges revoked for the remainder of the academic year.
In order to minimise risk in noise-prone situations, the Conservatorium makes both reusable gel ear-plugs and disposable foam ear-plugs available to students and staff free of charge at all times. Students and staff are also urged to consider purchase of customised personal hearing protection.
For more information regarding sound levels, hearing and hearing loss please refer both to the full content of the O'Brien Report and to the excellent publication by Canadian audiologist/academic Marshall Chasin, entitled Hear the Music: Hearing Loss Prevention for Musicians both available here: https://arts.adelaide.edu.au/music/health-safety-and-wellbeing
- Collins, Nicolas. Handmade Electronic Music: The Art of Hardware Hacking. TF-ROUTL, 2006.
- Ghazala, Reed. Circuit-Bending : Build Your Own Alien Instruments. Extremetech. Indianapolis, Ind.: Wiley Publishing, 2005.
- Horn, Delton T. Basic Electronics Theory. Blue Ridge Summit, PA: TAB Books, 1994.
Students can listen to musical works through the library's Naxos subscription (see library catalogue, search using Naxos as the title and limit search to ‘electronic resources’. You will be prompted to enter your uni ID number and password to access the Naxos catalogue). There is a wealth of material available for listening (but not downloading). The link to the Naxos catalogue is as follows:
The Music Collection is located in the Barr Smith Library (Level 1 South) and is an excellent source for music, literature and recordings: https://www.adelaide.edu.au/library/collections/music-collection
Bibliography and references are to be cited according to the Music Referencing Guide: http://libguides.adelaide.edu.au/music_referencing
MyUni is a crucial part of this course and will provide students with access to assessment and learning materials, such as quizzes, discussion boards, slide presentations, readings, links, sound and video. Materials will be provided on a topic-by-topic basis over the semester: http://myuni.adelaide.edu.au.
Learning & Teaching Activities
Learning & Teaching ModesThe course structure and content is delivered through a workshop that includes theoretical and practical components. The workshops in this course use a format where students are presented with theoretical and/or practical materials. The materials create a topic framework that students will expand using out-of-class resources in their own time. The resources will compliment, reinforce and extend the concepts presented.
Workshops will explore a wide range of practical aspects of the course and its associated topics and concepts. Students will be set regular practical tasks as part of their portfolio assessment and be required to present their work during the workshop. Students are required to complete the weekly readings and activities as set throughout the course on a week by week basis.
Furthermore, the workshops will contain a theoretical component that will explore case studies, examples, history and theory relevant to the course content. Students will be examined on their understanding and knowledge of this theory via a series of online quizzes.
The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.
This course consists of up to 48 hours of direct contact and structured non-contact - 4 hours per week over 12 weeks for the workshops, where students will play an active role in the practice, refinement, consolidation and extension of their knowledge and understanding. In addition students will spend a minimum of 108 non-contact hours over the duration of the course on self-initiated learning and research, reading, writing, practice and assessment in order to pass the course, making the minimum workload 156 hours.
Learning Activities SummaryStudents will practicalyl explore, analyse and develop a range of electronic sound processes and techniques. These will cover topics such as:
- handmade electronics
- hacking and circuit bending
- experimental exploration
- instrument design
- audio effects
- microprocessor boards and software.
- hardware / software development and integration,
- data mapping
- physical computing
Specific Course RequirementsEMU Facilities Access Provisions
This course will involve using the resources of the Electronic Music Unit (EMU). This includes facilities such as studios, recording spaces and digital audio workstations.
In order for students to complete the course they must gain ongoing and permanent access to EMU. Access and use of EMU is based upon completing the EMU Access Test.
More information can be found here:Other Expectations
Except where otherwise indicated by the lecturer, tutor or workshop instructor – mobile phones, laptops, PDAs, recording devices and other similar technology must be switched off before lessons or classes begin, and kept off for the duration.
Small Group Discovery Experience
The University of Adelaide has committed to a pedagogical approach that incorporates several aspects of scholarship. A key component of the Beacon of Enlightenment strategic pedagogical approach is that all students commencing in 2014 will experience a "Small-Group Discovery Experience" (or SGDE for short) in at least one course in every year of their degree program.
The Core Concepts upon which the SGDE pedagogical approach is based include goals that students will discover (or rediscover) learning as Intellectual Challenge, and develop a Scholarship of Discovery to inspire them toward learning and lifelong learning.
To accomplish this learning journey, students will develop research skills, and learning and teaching delivery modes used will require students to engage actively with their discipline content. This active learning process will engender a commitment to knowledge for its own sake, and consequently learning to follow an investigation, in a disciplined fashion, wherever it may lead.You will undertake SDGE to discover the various rapidly evolving relationships that exist in the theory, practice and vocation of electronics and its links to current sound practice.
The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:
- Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
- Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
- Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
- Assessment must maintain academic standards.
Name Description Due %
Type Portfolio Students will perform a series of electronic related tasks and create a range of small projects during the semester as part of a portfolio. This portfolio will form the basis of theoretical and practical knowlege required to complete the major creative project. Ongoing 30 1, 2, 3, 4 Summative Exam Students will complete an exam that will assess and evaluate their ability to identify, understand and explain key theoretical and practical concepts in the course. Note - No Late Submissions. Week 14 35 1, 2 Summative Creative Project Students will complete a major creative project. The major creative project will represent a synthesis of creative, technical and theoretical concepts presented during the course culminating in the creation of a hardware device for suitable for music performance, installation or data acquisition for sonification. Note - No Late Submissions. Week 15 35 2, 3, 4 Summative
Due Dates: Specific information regarding due dates is provided on myUni.
Formative Assessment: Classes will contain embedded formative assessment tasks that may include student presentations, discussions, practical exercises, demonstrations and out-of-class work that will enable students to engage with the practical and theoretical concepts presented in order to complete their summative assessments.
Due to the current COVID-19 situation, modified arrangements have been made to assessments to facilitate remote learning and teaching. Assessment details provided here reflect recent updates.
1. Exam will be an online exam.
2. All other assessments will remain unchanged.
Assessment Related RequirementsHurdle Assessment
All students must complete the requirements under “SPECIFIC COURSE REQUIREMENTS ‘EMU Facilities Access Provisions’”. Students who fail to complete these items may be deemed to have failed the course.Attendance Expectation & Penalty
Students are expected to attend all classes. If a student fails to attend at least 70% of tutorials or workshops in a course the student may be deemed to have failed that course, irrespective of assessments completed. Students who arrive 10 minutes or later after the start of a class will be marked as absent.Leave of Absence – Sickness, Compassionate and Professional Development
Extenuating circumstances may occasionally affect a student’s ability to participate in a rehearsal, workshop, class, lecture, tutorial or performance. In such cases a student should email their course coordinator regarding the circumstances within 7 days and include the following information:
- Type of Leave: Sick Leave, Compassionate Leave or Professional Development Leave
- Student Name
- Student ID
- Dates of Leave
- Total Number of Days
- Reason for Absence
- Supporting Documentation (e.g. medical certicificate, counsellor note etc)
Refer to “ASSESSMENT SUMMARY”
SubmissionAssessments and Exams
Students must be available during the identified University teaching, academic and examination periods. Students are not entitled to sit an examination or submit an assessment at another time, nor are they entitled to any other concessions if an examination or assessment conflicts with a planned vacation or special event. Results from assessments and examinations are usually sent to students via email and/or myUni.Late Submission
Assignments where late submissions are permitted and that are submitted after the due date and time will incur a 2% penalty (from the assignment total of 100%) per day (24 hour period) for a maximum of 7 days (including weekends and public holidays ).Example:
- an assignment that is 3 days late: raw score of 80% - 6 marks lateness deduction = 74% final mark.
- typically this does not apply to assessments where the assessment is conducted at a fixed time and location, such as an exam, workshop, practical test, performance or presentation – please refer to the individual assessments for further information.
- for work with a formal extension, these penalties will apply from the extended due date.
There will be a cut-off date for each assignment 7 days (including weekends and public holidays) after the original due date unless otherwise stipulated on MyUni. Work will not be accepted after the cut-off date, and a mark of zero will automatically be awarded for the assignment.
Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:
M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme) Grade Mark Description FNS Fail No Submission F 1-49 Fail P 50-64 Pass C 65-74 Credit D 75-84 Distinction HD 85-100 High Distinction CN Continuing NFE No Formal Examination RP Result Pending
Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.
Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.
Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.
The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.
SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.
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Policies & Guidelines
This section contains links to relevant assessment-related policies and guidelines - all university policies.
- Academic Credit Arrangement Policy
- Academic Honesty Policy
- Academic Progress by Coursework Students Policy
- Assessment for Coursework Programs
- Copyright Compliance Policy
- Coursework Academic Programs Policy
- Elder Conservatorium of Music Noise Management Plan
- Intellectual Property Policy
- IT Acceptable Use and Security Policy
- Modified Arrangements for Coursework Assessment
- Student Experience of Learning and Teaching Policy
- Student Grievance Resolution Process
Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.
The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.