MusM Composition (Electroacoustic Music and Interactive Media) / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Fixed Media and Interactive Music

Course unit fact file
Unit code MUSC40211
Credit rating 30
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Music
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course unit involves creative music composition with a focus on a ‘fixed media’ outcome and varied methods including live interactive processes for creating or organising sound materials. The student will develop experimental composition techniques involving the use of music technologies and professional skills appropriate to her/his own creative needs through regular exercises, experimental sketches and pieces, not necessarily complete in themselves.

Weekly lectures combine the discussion of composition techniques with the use of technology, with a focus on the case study (e.g. time, space, data sonification and other experimental methodologies) with practice-led exercises to probe creative concepts. Problem solving and discussion of repertoire and compositional examples are employed to contextualise the former. Compositional methodologies are observed, from the use of sound sources to editing, cleaning and classifying them according to typo- morphological criteria. Sound transformation strategies and techniques for organising sound are the core of the discussion. The intention is that the compositions are performed under the new formats allowed for the MANTIS Festival, Sines & Squares and other performative opportunities provided.


  • To research and acquire skills in the use of computer systems, software and other equipment to increase knowledge and a systematic understanding of tape music, live electronic music and computer music and to create musical compositions employing computer music technologies.
  • To compose idiomatically for fixed media employing experimental processes, using technology transparently so that the music or creative idea is heard rather than the processes involved in its creation.
  • To develop awareness of professional protocols and to research the use of computer software for electro-acoustic-related tasks such as sound analysis, transformation and synthesis, mixing and composition, hardware hacking, sound recording, editing and real-time processing.


Knowledge and understanding

  • Understand the technologies and tools necessary for working in fixed media using experimental tools
  • Merge knowledge and aesthetic awareness into the compositional process, given a thematic restriction or compositional enquiry
  • Demonstrate an awareness of technologies required for composition in fixed media and live interactive methodologies

Intellectual skills

  • Demonstrate critical thinking in the use of complex creative technologies ¿
  • Develop an advanced, creative and specialised response to a topic in the context of ¿electroacoustic music ¿
  •  Plan, implement, evaluate and reflect critically on the creative progress
  • Synthesise compositional and technical knowledge to optimise the resources and time during the creative pr
  • Research and explore repertoire, creative and academic research and new techniques in electroacoustic music

Practical skills

  • Develop skills to present and defend work in progress in the context of a small-group presentation in class, under blended forms of representation (virtual or physical)
  • Construct critical technical knowledge of software techniques and sound transformation methodologies
  • Demonstrate enhanced skill in using technology to achieve meaning and expression through ¿sound ¿
  • Engage with a variety of musical languages and aesthetics in computer music and related studies

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Collaborate in problem-solving situations dealing both with technology and creative issues ¿
  • Understand the meaning of creative originality through the method
  •  Demonstrate organisational and management skills in making use of music technology resources, time and access
  • Demonstrate attention to detail at professional standards through the compositional methods and editing
  •  Demonstrate the development of critical judgment over music materials through listening
  • Present work in progress in oral presentations (either physical or virtual)
  •  Respond positively to self-criticism and to the criticism of others while maintaining confidence in one’s own work
  • Work independently and perfectioning methods to work in isolation (ensuring continued individuality, building upon established technique, continuing research)

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Team work under any given circumstances
Initiative, uniqueness and inventiveness (in the process and outcomes) Creative problem-solving attitude
Interpersonal and Leadership skills and roles within a group
Project management
Time management and organisational skills
Editing, transforming and mastering (when preparing fixed media outcomes) Working to deadlines (tasks and projects)

Assessment methods

Etude 1 50%
Etude 2 50%


Feedback methods

Feedback method

Formative or Summative

Written feedback on submitted work


Verbal feedback on work-in-progress


Additional one-to-one feedback (during consultation hour or by making an appointment)



Recommended reading

Provided as a full separate list including reading and listening, for all electroacoustic courses. A few samples below:

  • Living Electronic Music, Simon Emmerson, 2007.
  • Mastering Audio: The Art and the Science, Bob Katz, 2007.
  • Composing Electronic Music: A New Aesthetic, Curtis Roads, 2015.
  • On Sonic Art, Trevor Wishart, 1996.
  • Audible Design, Trevor Wishart, 1994.


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Seminars 22
Independent study hours
Independent study 278

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Ricardo Climent Unit coordinator

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