BBC radiophonic workshop techniques

Course Dates: 12/08/20 - 13/08/20
Time: 18:00 - 21:00
Location: Online

Explore and exploit techniques typical of a late 1950s electroacoustic music studio such as the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Oscillators, filters, modulators, tape recorders and mixers will be studied via BERNA emulation software. However, you can apply the techniques in a range of music production programs.

This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.


What is the course about?

Explore the history, context and practice of the mid 20th-century electronic music studio and the wider discipline of musique concrète. You will explore techniques in a practical way using software emulations and pre-recorded 'tape loops' to create your own musique concrète pieces.
Ideally you will use on your own computer the BERNA software (Mac or Windows), available only from its developer Giorgio Sancristoforo [external website-scroll down to BERNA 2] which costs 12 euros (pay by Paypal)
You can download and try it for free first, but the software only runs for 8 minutes at a time until you pay for your licence. There is a demo video [external website].

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

Deconstruction and analysis of early electronic music and key musique concrète compositions
A practical exploration of the components that make up a musique concrète studio
The techniques employed in musique concrète composition.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

Describe the basic principles of music concrète composition relating these to historical context.
Use the components of an early electronic studio (oscillators, envelopes, filters, white noise generators and the mixer and tape loop techniques) to create original sounds
Create your own compositions out of tones generated by oscillators, 'tape loops', envelopes and noise generators.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This course is aimed at anyone who wishes to learn how to put music technology to creative use. Some familiarity with computers is necessary.
You will need to follow written and verbal instructions in English, engage in class discussions and take notes in English.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

Tutor demonstration, class discussion, followed by practical work. You will receive support, encouragement and feedback from your tutor.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

You can study on this course using standard music production software such as Logic or GarageBand.
However, ideally you would purchase the specialist BERNA software (Mac or Windows), a simulator for the 1950s electronic music studio. The software is only available from Giorgio Sancristoforo [external website-scroll down to BERNA 2] and costs 12 euros (pay by Paypal)
You can download and try it for free first, but the software only runs for 8 minutes at a time until you pay for your licence. There is a demo video [external website].

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

You may be interested in other creative courses such as Arduino workshop, Sonic arts, Ableton Live and Max/MSP. Please check our range of Music technology and digital audio production courses.

Tutor Biographies
Max La Villa

Max’s musical training began in New York City where he was lucky enough to have major session musicians as neighbors in his building teaching him guitar as a child. By his early teens he was studying classical guitar, alongside theory and orchestration, at the High School of the Performing Arts. He relocated to Spain to further his classical guitar studies under the esteemed guitarist/ teacher Jose Tomas. While there Max ran a commercial recording studio, where he began immersing himself in the emerging digital technologies. After moving to London, he continued working as a session musician. He has recorded, toured and collaborated with artists including Kevin Ayers, Paul Weller, Perry Farrell (Jane’s Addiction), Jah Wobble, Carl Barat (Libertines) and Marc Almond. In 2011 he was commissioned to compose recitatives and an aria for a production of “The Coronation of Poppea” by the Théatre du Châtelet in Paris which centered around virtual instruments and sampling delivered by multiple computers live on stage with the players. Max continues working with artists of every genre in mixing, sound design, drum programming, bass and keyboards.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.

Book your place

Course Code: MK634

Please choose a course date 

Wed-Thu, eve, 12 Aug - 13 Aug '20

Duration: 2 sessions

Full fee: £79.00
Senior fee: £79.00
Concession: £48.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

Any questions?
or call 020 7492 2630

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.