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A History of Electronic Instruments & the Music They Inspired - Canceled

Department: Music 

Instructor: Pablo Dodero
Instructor Emails:
Dates: July 7 - July 27
Schedule: 9am - 4pm (Lunch from 11:30am - 1:30pm)
Location: TBD
Room: TBD

Course Description

This course will explore the history of the electronic instrument within the 20th and 21st centuries and analyze how these instruments have evolved and impacted the way we make music across different genres and decades. We’re going to analyze how seminal pieces of music equipment influenced a variety of musical genres that could not have existed without them (e.g., hip-hop’s reliance on the MPC and 808, house and techno’s use of the 909 and the 707, etc.), while also making space for student creativity. This class is designed for anyone who wants to learn the practice and history of beat making and production, as well as the history of different electronic music genres like techno, house, dubstep, drum and bass, break beats, etc. While one module will cover early examples of electronic instruments, the class will mainly focus on modern-day examples. This class will include listening and analysis sessions, an introductory course on recording software, and written responses to topics we learn about. Because most of the instruments covered in class are rare and financially inaccessible, we will be focusing on accessible ways to produce music (e.g., open source and free software), while still developing our sonic literacy of these instruments.

Course Goals / Learning Objective

  • Students will leave with a sonic tool kit to distinguish between different musical styles based on the instrumentation
  • Students will learn basic programming skills for synthesizers and drum machines
  • Students will compose their own music, understanding what the building blocks are
  • Students will understand how technology influenced innovation in music

Course Topics

  • Origins of electronics in music.
  • Pioneers in electronic music.
  • Ways to emulate iconic sounds and techniques.
  • Learning the difference between hardware and software.
  • Developing a listening practice.
  • Having a sonic vocabulary to discuss music and its sonic components.


 This course is meant for anyone interested in learning how electronic music is made, no musical background needed.


*Courses vary by experience and exposure to content. Instructors have the ability to change content and pace to serve the needs of students. Courses have been modified for online teaching.