Degree Program

The Degree Program

The Sonic Arts Center offers a four-year, Bachelor of Music (BM) degree in Music with a concentration in Audio Technology. The Bachelor of Music degree requirements consist of 120 total credits drawn from the General Education Requirements, Free Electives, and the Music and Audio Technology Courses.

General Education Requirements

The General Education Requirements are found on the City College of New York’s web site.
City College General Education Requirements

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Music and Audio Technology Major Course Requirements
Below is a listing of the required music and audio technology classes in suggested order. Audio Technology courses MUST be taken in this order. A music placement exam is offered each semester to students with previous music training to determine where they fit into our sequence of theory and musicianship classes. All students accepted into the program must take a music placement exam and be exempted from our prerequisite music classes. Please click here for information regarding the music placement exam. Students must be able to register for Music Theory I and Practicum I or higher to begin the program. Therefore, the progression of music classes may be different than the order suggested below.

Required Courses
Term/Year Course Course Name Credits
Spring/1st MUS 13200
MUS 16200
MUS 16400
MUS 21800
MUS 21900
Music Theory I
Aural Skills I
Piano Class I
The Recording Studio Environment
Fundamental MIDI & Audio Production
3
3
2
3
3
Fall/2nd MUS 23100
MUS 26100
MUS 32100
MUS 32500
Music Theory II
Aural Skills II
Synthesis and Sound Design I
Audio Production Techniques I
3
3
3
3
Spring/2nd MUS 23200
MUS 26200
MUS 32200
MUS 32600
Music Theory III
Aural Skills III
Synthesis and Sound Design II
Audio Production Techniques II
3
3
3
3
Fall/3rd MUS 32700
MUS 32701
MUS 36201
MUS 43400
MUS History
Microphone Applications I
Song Production Techniques
Instrumentation and Arranging
Audio & Music Industry Internships
One Course Required *
3
3
3
2
3
Spring/3rd Music 32800
Music 32801
Music 43500
Microphone Applications II
Music & Post Production Mixing
Audio For Moving Images
3
3
3
Fall/4th Music 43600 Advanced Recording, Mixing, & Mastering 3
Music and Audio Technology Credit Total 64

* The music history requirement for the degree is one course. Music history courses include MUS 24100, MUS 24200, MUS 34100, MUS 24400 or the occasional offerings of popular or ethnic music surveys.

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Audio Technology Course Descriptions
Midi and Audio Sequencing:

MUS 21800 (The Recording Studio Environment) – Introduction to the recording studio. Studio layout, signal flow, gain staging, patchbays, headphone mixes and talkback. Digital audio recording practices.  Intro to microphones. Intro to signal processors. Individual and group creative projects. Assigned studio time. Prereq: MUS 21700 or permission of the department. Coreq: MUS 21900. Prereq/Coreq: MUS 13200 and MUS 16200 or permission of the department. 3 credits. 3 hours.

MUS 21900 (Fundamental MIDI & Audio Production) – Conceptual and practical exploration of Digital Audio Workstations/DAWs. MIDI specification, recording, programming, editing and refining.  Audio editing and arranging.  Fundamental mixing practices. Digital audio concepts, formats and practices. Individual and group creative projects. Assigned studio time. Prereq: MUS 21700 or permission of the department. Coreq: MUS 21800. Prereq/Coreq: MUS 13200 and MUS 16200 or permission of the department. 3 credits. 3 hours.

Synthesis and Sound Design:
MUS 32100 (Synthesis and Sound Design I) – Synthesizers in music production and audio sound design. Advanced MIDI techniques. Acoustics review. Voltage and digital control. Oscillators. Modulation and secondary modulation. Envelopes and Low-Frequency Oscillators. Synth filters. Audio-rate modulation, hard sync, width and symmetry modulation. Individual and group creative projects. Assigned studio time. Prereq: MUS 21800 and MUS 21900 or permission of the department. Coreq: MUS 32500. 3 credits. 3 hours.

MUS 32200 (Synthesis and Sound Design II) – Sampler instrument creation and operation. Commercial music and orchestral sample libraries. Articulation switching and expression. Basic techniques in sound design and underscore for picture and games. Advanced synthesis techniques including additive, granular, analysis/resynthesis, wavetable, waveshaping, etc. Vocoding and other sidechain effects processing. Individual and group creative projects. Assigned studio time. Prereq: MUS 32100 or permission of the department. Coreq: MUS 32600. 3 credits. 3 hours.

Audio Production:
MUS 32500 (Audio Production Techniques 1) – Expert use of production tools and functions in audio and MIDI recording, editing, arranging and collaborating.  Thorough examination of signal processing concepts and techniques. Lead sheet creation. Mixing practices, including preproduction, groups, subgroups, sidechain, filtering, levels, headroom and metering. Vocal and acoustic guitar recording. Mixing vocals and small recordings. Flex/elastic time. Pitch correction. Individual and group creative projects. Assigned studio time. Prereq: MUS 21800 and MUS 21900 or permission of the department.  Coreq: MUS 32100. 3 credits. 3 hours.

MUS 32600 (Audio Production Techniques II) – Advanced music production tools, expert use of automation, and advanced MIDI manipulation. Drum and percussion software. Intro to recording electric guitar and bass. Intro to recording drums. Mixing more complex projects. Basic underscore and post-production practices. Intro to game audio middleware. Individual and group creative projects. Assigned studio time. Prereq: MUS 32500 or permission of the department. Coreq: MUS 32200. 3 credits. 3 hours.

Acoustic Recording Techniques:
MUS 32700 (Microphone Applications I) – Review of microphone technology. Microphone positioning and sound source acoustics. Matching microphones to microphone preamps. Recording session procedures and documentation. Advanced recording techniques for electric guitar, piano, electric and acoustic bass. Individual and group creative projects. Assigned studio time. Prereq: MUS 32200 and MUS 32600 or permission of the department. Coreq: MUS 32701 and MUS 36201. 3 credits. 3 hours.

MUS 32800 (Microphone Applications II) – Recording techniques for drums, horns, strings, vocals and voiceover. Basic tracking and overdubs with various ensembles. Perception of surround and stereo sound fields. Stereo and surround sound microphone techniques. Individual and group creative projects. Assigned studio time. Prereq: MUS 32700 or permission of the department. Coreq: MUS 32801 and MUS 43500. 3 credits. 3 hours.

Song Production and Mixing Techniques:
MUS 32701 (Song Production Techniques) – Production Analysis. Song preproduction considerations. Arrangement as a production tool. Developing a production point of view. Electric guitar, bass and synth/sampler preproduction and arranging techniques. Individual and group creative projects. Assigned studio time. Prereq: MUS 32200 and MUS 32600. Coreq: MUS 32700 and MUS 36201. 3 credits. 3 hours.

MUS 32801 (Music and Post Production Mixing) – An advanced examination of mixing techniques for music. Intro to post production mixing techniques and standards. Stereo and 5.1 formats. Development of critical listening skills for mixers including equalization, level, compression, time-based effects, and stylistic considerations. Mixing preproduction, strategies, and techniques. Individual and group creative projects. Assigned studio time. Prereq: MUS 32701 or permission of the department. Coreq: MUS 32800 and MUS 43500. 3 credits. 3 hours.

MUS 43600 (Advanced Recording, Mixing & Mastering) – Students will explore audio techniques presented in previous courses in greater depth and detail. A capstone project is required for each student in this course. These projects are presented to the students and staff of the Center and guest professionals at the end of the semester. An in-depth study of mastering. Also presented will be various production techniques, as well as people, organizational and business skills that will be useful in real world recording and production situations. Individual capstone project. Assigned studio time. Prereq: MUS 32800 and MUS 32801. 3 credits. 3 hours.

Film, Video, Animation, Gaming:
MUS 43500 (Audio for Moving Images) – Advanced synchronization of audio to moving images. Introduction to digital video, film, game, and animation technologies. Video and audio compression codecs. Introduction to video/audio editing software. FX, Foley, narration, dialog replacement, music underscore, and sound design. Location/production recording techniques. Game audio specific considerations. Broadcast television and film audio standards. Individual and group creative projects. Assigned studio time. Prereq: MUS 32700 and MUS 32701. Coreq: MUS 32800 and MUS 32801. 3 credits. 3 hours.

Instrumentation & Arranging:
MUS 36201 (Instrumentation and Arranging for Commercial Music) – A study of the range, tone quality, and transposition of string, horn, and rhythm sections. Arrangement analysis. Introduction to micro and macro level arranging techniques. Creating effective melodies and countermelodies. Reharmonization techniques. String and horn voicings. Creating effective arrangement notation. Individual and group creative projects. Assigned studio time. Prereq: MUS 32200 and MUS 32600. Coreq: MUS 32700 and MUS 32701. 3 credits. 3 hours.

Internships:
MUS 43400 (Audio and Music Industry Internships) – Supervised internships at professional music and audio technology facilities. Students observe and interact with production and business practices in the professional marketplace. Requires a minimal commitment of eight hours per week. May be taken twice. 1 credit. 1 hour.  Permission of the Department.

Electives:
MUS 21700 (Basic Audio Concepts) – Introduction to the basic concepts and technologies of the audio industry. Acoustics (sound generation, frequency and pitch, the overtone series, waveforms, bels and decibels, etc.). Basic electricity (laws of charges, conductors and insulators, voltage/current/resistance, circuits, magnetic induction, etc.). Interfacing analog audio equipment (impedance standards, balanced and unbalanced interconnections, audio connectors, and basic concepts of digital audio (A/D and D/A conversion, quantization, aliasing, dither, DSD,etc.). Lecture course. No studio time provided. Prereq or Coreq: MUS 13100 and MUS 16100 or permission of the department. 3 credits. 3 hours.

MUS 29900 (The Musician Entrepreneur) Developing your music business acumen An intensive exploration of all aspects of music business, marketing, social networking, and law that is required to successfully manage an artist’s career in the 21st century. 3 credit. 3 hour.

MUS 31117 (Studio Design Workshop) An in-depth exploration of the design of recording spaces considering the acoustical, electrical, equipment layout, and ergonomic issues involved. In addition, the course covers installation practices for analog and digital audio, MIDI, and video equipment. The maintenance of computers, computer networks, and servers is also covered. Prereq: MUS 2100.  2 credits. 2 hours.

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Elective Courses for Prospective Candidates

Students interested in the Music and Audio Technology program but do not have enough training in music or audio technology are invited to attend City College and take the elective classes mentioned below. These courses DO NOT have to be taken before applying to the program if the prospective candidate has equivalent experience.

Suggested Music Elective Classes
Some previous music theory and/or musicianship background is required to apply to the program. If you do not have any previous music theory and/or musicianship background, enroll in the courses found below.

Term/Year Course Course Name Credits
Fall/1st MUS 13100
MUS 15400
MUS 16100
Theory Fundamentals
Aural Fundamentals
Keyboard Fundamentals
3
2
3

If you have had some previous music theory and/or musicianship background Please click here for information regarding the music placement exam. Once you complete the exam you will be placed in the appropriate level of music classes.

Suggested Audio Technology Elective Classes
If you need more experience in audio technology, enroll in MUS 21700 (Basic Audio Concepts). This course will give you an excellent grounding in acoustics, basic electricity, and analog and digital audio interfacing. In addition MUS 31107 (Music Production: MIDI & Audio) is also available to those students lacking hands-on experience with creating music with a digital audio workstation. If you have the appropriate level of audio technology experience (see Music and Audio Technology Program Admission – Qualifications) you do NOT need to take these classes.

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