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UVa Offers Class Studying Electronic Music Called Technosonics

By: Suzanne Wilson Email
By: Suzanne Wilson Email

August 28, 2013

The fall semester is underway at UVa. with all the basic classes. But, there's one unique class that is quite popular. It's called Technosonics.

You've probably never head of technosonics because Matthew Burtner, UVa. Professor of Music, Director of Interactive Media Research Group, and Associate Director of the VCCM, coined the term. It describes any music that uses technological tools as musical instruments.

The class has been offered for six years for non-music majors. Burtner said the class keep getting more and more popular with time.

Burtner said, "We're seeing more and more interest. The course could be much larger. There are 240 people in the class but there are 240 on the wait list."

Technosonics covers a wide range of sounds. It can be as simple as stomping you feet or a brand new sound created by a computer.

Steven Jenny, UVa. first year student, said, "I don't like listening to a lot of stuff on the radio a lot of the time. Or, at least I try to mix it up because you just start to hear a lot of the same things."

Burtner said, "They take this class because they are interested in electronic music. Maybe they've heard or been to dance clubs, or they like hip hop, or they like DJ music of turn table-ism."

Burtner explained that UVa. has been experimenting with electronic music for over 100 years.

Burtner said, "It can be dance music, like techno, or it can be music that's just for listening, not dance music. Like ambient music or new age music or the kind of experimental electronic music that we're known for here at the University of Virginia."

Although the students in his class may not become professional musicians, they'll be able to use what they learn in the class, down the road.

Burtner said, "This creative problem solving is universal tool and we can teach creativity to student through music. They will apply that in their business careers, in their medical careers, in their commerce, and in any field the tools from technosonics, I think, could be valuable."

Along with the class, the students have a lab each week where they work on computers to compose their music. Each semester there is a big concert and technosonic festival that the students participate in.

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