Audio Art / Modular synthesis 05: Sound design between studio and on-site

photo: Tanya St-Pierre

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photo: Tanya St-Pierre

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Audio Art / Modular synthesis 05: Sound design between studio and on-site

Pedagogical Assistant: 

Training: 34 hours
Registrations: March 18 to April 15, 2021
Workshop dates: April 16 (5:30pm to 9:30pm), April 17,18, 24, 25 and May 8 (10am to 5pm)

Following on from the workshop Art Audio / Synthèse Modulaire 04: Performed modular and 3D spatialization (given in November 2019), the workshop Modular synthesis 05: Sound design between studio and on-site is of an intermediate-advanced level. It covers the possibilities of applied sound design, improvisation, and recording of modular instruments, as well as the spatialization of audio artworks using synthesis, transformation and modular control approaches. 

In the era of the proliferation of digital technologies, we find that many established technological practices from the past are resurfacing: dedicated or modular circuits in small, portable sound recording equipment, and sound generation and processing that allow for a direct and physical approach to sound matter.

So there is a return to modularity: for sound design, studio composition and use in performance, and increasingly in sound installation.

Why are we interested in this now? The answer is simple: the modular philosophy implies a fusion and an adequacy between sounds and sound signals and control signals, modulation. Also, with the modular wave that has been going on for the last ten years, a second wave is emerging, that is, the existence of software (e.g. VCV RACK) that imitates or is inspired by the foundations of modular hardware. It' s time to address comparative and hybrid perspectives between these two forms of modular manifestations in sound design.

In this course, we will look specifically at the implications of studio production and site-specific creation in sound design. The targeted applications include moving image, performing arts, and installations in exhibition spaces with minimal computer and material resources.

Emphasis will be placed on the following themes, according to the interests and profiles of the participants:

Reflective axis:
- Modular as a practice of encounter: encounter between electronic musicians, media art designers, visual and performing artists.
- Thinking about the modular in general, with or without computer, with external hardware or with meta control with the free software VCV RACK.

Methodological and compositional axis:
- Investigate concepts that can be put into action for a work of applied sound design and production: control signals in relation to material, spatial elements, textures, envelopes, gestures, microscopic and macroscopic time scales in recorded soundtrack design.
- Effects processors including time/delay, loopers, samplers as adjuncts to the performance of recorded audio tracks in real time and as supports for evolving and interactive compositional structures in sound design.
- Integration of acoustic phenomena to support and embody the meaning of sound installations, system calibration and sound mixing in the field.
- From mono to multichannel sound: strategies and findings.

Practical axis:
- Putting it into practice: performing the modular, approaches to recording for image (foley and foley, syncing to image, track by track) strategies for evolving a piece, exploring combinations in control, generating complexity and subtlety.
- Practical application: the workshop will end by listening to the participants' solo and collaborative creations.

Registrations: March 18 to April 15, 2021
Workshop dates: April 16 (5:30pm to 9:30pm), April 17,18, 24, 25 and May 8 (10am to 5pm)
The maximum number of participants is 8.

Cost: $200.00

Contact the New Media Laboratory by phone or by email: 514-844-3250, ext. 230 or

* The workshop will be offered in French, both instructors are bilingual and will answer questions in English.


- Be a professional artist, creator or cultural worker;
- Attend every workshop session;
- Knowledge of the principles and hands-on composition experience of modular synthesis is an asset;
- Be a self-employed worker or a salaried employee in an enterprise not subject to 1 % Training Investment. Two spots available for employees of companies that are subject to the 1% Law. Please contact us for more details.


Reservation / Payment

Reservations can be made by phone or email. Full payment must be made for reservations to be valid. Participants will also have to complete a form on Emploi-Québec's online portal, instructions will be given upon registration. You can pay by credit card (Visa or MasterCard), cheque or cash. Registration for a workshop is non-transferable.

Cancellation / Refund

OBORO does not refund registration fees except in case of illness (with a medical note) or of absolute necessity. In such cases, registration fees are transferable to another workshop or service offered by the New Media Lab.

Workshop Cancellation

OBORO reserves the right to cancel workshops at any time and without advance notice. In this case, registration fees are completely refunded.

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Philippe-Aubert Gauthier

Philippe-Aubert Gauthier is a sound and digital artist, musician, junior mechanical engineer, M.Sc., Ph.D. in acoustics and professor at the Université du Québec à Montréal. The heart of his of his artistic approach is based on the interactions of arts, cultures, sciences and technologies. He navigates in a vision of research and integrated creation in which each of these fields of action and related knowledge is used for the development of artistic and musical pieces that address the social and cultural constructions of technologies.

Stéphane Claude

Stéphane Claude is an electronic_acoustic composer and sound engineer. His research is based on integrating a conceptual and physiological framework of audio recording and sound installation for different diffusion contexts in the electronic arts.