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Electronic Music Techniques Used To Enhance Introductory Circuit Analysis

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.237.1 - 3.237.12



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William Park

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1532

Electronic Music Techniques Used to Enhance Introductory Circuit Analysis

William Park Clemson University


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.


When I was assigned to teach the introductory circuit analysis course (ECE 202), I was informed that I would have to provide an “honors component” for those students taking it as an honors course, ECE H202. (There is insufficient demand to offer a stand-alone honors course, so ECE H202 is taught as an “add-on” course, with the honors students attending a standard section.) I decided to adapt the work I was involved with during the late 1970’s in electronic music synthesis as a project for ECE H202.


In the mid-1960’s, Robert Moog began marketing the first commercially successful voltage-controlled electronic music synthesis equipment. Following the release of Walter Carlos’ ground-breaking album Switched On Bach, sales of Moog’s synthesizers soared. Several competing companies jumped on the bandwagon, and by the mid-seventies, most popular music groups used such equipment in addition to many avant garde and classically oriented

Park, W. (1998, June), Electronic Music Techniques Used To Enhance Introductory Circuit Analysis Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/1-2--7076

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