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

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Aesthetics and Analysis of Organised Sound

Course unit fact file
Unit code MUSC40221
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 covers approaches and techniques of musical and sonic analysis in the electroacoustic medium, as well as the study of electroacoustic-specific aesthetics and repertoire. Students will be encouraged to develop a critical awareness of issues affecting contemporary research and composition, to question their own assumptions, to confront, explore and assimilate unfamiliar musical sounds, concepts, repertoires and practices, and (where possible) to formulate a sense of their own individuality in relation to current schools of thought and compositional methodologies.



  • To study and apply analytical methods appropriate to a range of electroacoustic repertoire and language including spectromorphology, structuring processes, typomorphology, space-form
  • To engage with supporting background materials including electroacoustic repertoire study, theoretical concepts, historical contexts, developing practices and techniques
  • To understand a range of underlying aesthetics principles within the discipline
  • To engage with contexts of literature and repertoire relating to analysis and aesthetics of electroacoustic music


Knowledge and understanding

  •  Call upon a wide knowledge and experience of the electroacoustic repertoires studied.
  • Understand and discuss with clarity and conviction aesthetic, analytical and technical issues relating to electroacoustic music
  • Understand theoretical and aesthetic systems and relate theory and practice to each other as they pertain to electroacoustic music
  • Assimilate relevant scholarly literature and relate its insights into the practice and experience of electroacoustic music
  • Confront, explore and assimilate unfamiliar musical sounds, concepts, repertoires and practices.

Intellectual skills

  • Plan, implement, evaluate and reflect critically on research in progress
  •  Synthesise inputs (materials, knowledge, instinct, tradition) in order to generate informed and personally owned outputs in written formats.
  •  Recognize direct influences and quotations in one’s own and others’ work
  • Research and explore repertoire, creative and academic research and new techniques in electroacoustic music

Practical skills

  • Engage with a variety of electroacoustic musical traditions and languages (acousmatic, interactive, live electronics or processing, installation) through repertoire and literature study
  • Apply techniques of musical and sonic analysis towards a number of works and traditions
  • Develop and explore in-depth original insights into a given context with the electroacoustic music subject

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Utilize IT skills including word processing, email, and use of online information sources towards research outcomes.
  • Present work- in- progress in feedback and support sessions.
  • Develop awareness of professional protocols (for example, academic writing and presentation)
  • Respond positively to self-criticism and to the criticism of others while maintaining confidence in one’s own work.
  • Work independently and in isolation (ensuring continued individuality, building upon established technique, continuing research)
  • Develop problem-solving skills (reacting to new situations, decoding information and ideas, dealing with complex situations, working under pressure

Employability skills

Research and problem solving skills Writing skills Presentation skills Communication skills Analytical skills Working to deadlines (tasks and projects) Initiative and inventiveness Time management and organisational skills

Assessment methods

Project Essay 100%


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

  • Electroacoustic Resource Site project:
  • Organised Sound (Cambridge Journals):
  • Electroacoustic  Music Studies Proceedings:
  • Canadian Electroacoustic Community eContact!:
  • International Computer Music Conference Proceedings
  • Handbook for Acoustic Ecology:
  • Computer Music Journal
  • Spaces speak, are you listening? : experiencing aural architecture, Barry Blesser and Linda-Ruth Salter, 2007.
  • The Language of Electroacoustic Music, Simon Emmerson, 1986.
  • Electronic Music, Media and Culture, Simon Emmerson, 2000.
  • 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
David Berezan Unit coordinator

Additional notes



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