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Electronic Music Techniques Used to Enhance Introductory Circuit Analysis

By William Park


To provide not only an interesting challenge but also experience in teamwork and communication skills, honors students in my introductory circuit analysis course are assigned a project involving electronic music synthesis devices. The students are teamed up into pairs, with each pair having responsibility for one of several modules which together compose a working voltage-controlled sound synthesis system. In addition to their individual tasks, each pair of students must collaborate throughout the semester with the others to resolve system integration issues. A typical set of modules built by the students includes voltage-controlled amplifiers, power supplies, envelope (or transient) generators, and simple low frequency oscillators. Basic circuit designs are provided which the students must analyze, construct, integrate into a functional synthesizer, and explain to the class during their final oral report and demonstration. Taken together, these modules demonstrate practical applications of most of the major concepts and components covered in the standard introductory circuits course. They also introduce several more advanced ideas and devices. An audio amplifier and speakers as well as the more complex functions (voltage-controlled oscillators and filters) necessary for a fully functional system are usually provided for the project due to the complexity of these circuits for students at this level

Year: 2011
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