BA Music and Drama / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Coronavirus information for applicants and offer-holders

For the latest updates on how coronavirus will affect applicants and offer-holders, you can visit our FAQs.

Read our latest coronavirus information

Holding an offer for 2020 entry? Visit our dedicated offer-holders page.

Information for offer-holders

Course unit details:
Interactive Media Composition Environments

Unit code MUSC20072
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Music
Available as a free choice unit? No


A course embracing several forms of digital media, with an emphasis on music and sound for the construction of structured environments in Human-Computer interaction. It provides a framework for the creation, discussion and evaluation of interactive processes using real-time computer technology in sonic-centric scenarios. These may include various areas of interactive music and media composition, such as:

  • acoustic instruments and live electronics
  • game-audio and procedural audio with physic-graphics-sound engines

The course provides ground knowledge and critical thinking in digital-human interactivity, which can be extended toward the discussion of other emerging technologies; e.g. interactive cinematography, interactive television, screencasting, computer-to-computer interactivity and musical interfaces.


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Sonic Invention A MUSC10311 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Sonic Invention B MUSC10312 Pre-Requisite Compulsory


  • To facilitate critical understanding of non-linear thinking for structuring the flow of information in interactive systems with a focus on the aural.
  • To enable students to develop the necessary skills required for constructing audio in media environments to structure, present and share interactive digital compositions and other creative outcomes.  
  • To create software-based environments for interactive sonic creativity with human interface devices and computers.



Week 1: [50 min. lecture]      

Course-unit aims and objectives, course structure, studio procedures and computer systems, sound resources. Fixed media composition techniques. Pro-Tools, bottom-up methodologies, working with timbre, mixing and shaping sound material, repertoire study.

Week 2:[50 min lecture + 50 min. workshop]           

Fixed media composition techniques: timbre and time. Filters. Real-time plug-ins in Pro-Tools, technical criteria, repertoire study

Week 3: [50 min lecture + 50 min. workshop]          

Fixed media composition techniques. Real-time plug-ins in Pro-Tools, repertoire study

Week 4: [50 min lecture + 50 min. workshop]          

Electroacoustic Composition issues: space

Week 5: [50 min lecture + 50 min. workshop]          

Electroacoustic Composition issues review. Technical criteria, finalising and Audio-CD making review.


Week 6 Reading Week

Work on completing non-assessed Fixed Media task



Week 7: [50 min lecture + 50 min. workshop]          

Introduction. Live and Interactive techniques – Max midi and control versus DSP/MSP signal processing [Discussion of Final Assignment]

Week 8: [50 min lecture + 50 min. workshop]          

Live and Interactive techniques – Max midi and control (focus)  + DSP intro

Week 9: [50 min lecture + 50 min. workshop]          

Live and Interactive techniques – Digital Signal Processing – DSP, an introduction.

Week 10: [50 min lecture + 50 min. workshop         

Means of Interaction I

Workshop PART ONE -  for instrument/s & Live Electronics

Week 11: [50 min lecture + 50 min. workshop]        

Means of Interaction II

Workshop PART TWO - for instrument/s & Live Electronics

Week 12:

Project support

Teaching and learning methods

  • 1h x 11-week lectures
  • 1h x 9-weeks seminars
  • 1 x 2hr project support
  • 2 x 1hr Interactive Music workshops
  • MANTIS festival attendance

Electroacoustic Festivals (MANTIS, Sines & Squares) – Last weekend of October

These festivals are specifically designed for the electroacoustic courses in the syllabus

Knowledge and understanding

  • Demonstrate enhanced skills in live sound rendering and real-time processing in the construction of interactive systems.
  • Merge knowledge and aesthetic awareness into the creative process, while developing an original approach to sound and interactivity
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the relevance of responsive and procedural sound in media technologies

Intellectual skills

  • Demonstrate critical thinking and awareness of existing technologies in dynamic media, their body of works, knowledge and future directions
  • Develop an advanced, creative and specialised response to a topic in the context of Interactive Media Systems
  • Demonstrate the ability to envision, design and manipulate audiomedia content for dynamic and responsive media

Practical skills

  • Apply a technical knowledge of software techniques and sound organisation in the construction of interactive environments with a focus on the sonic element
  • Demonstrate enhanced skill in using technology to achieve meaning and expression through interactive tools and non-linear thinking
  • Prepare and deliver a presentation through coursework as a formative experience toward completing the project outcomes

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Collaborate with other students in problem-solving dealing both with technology and creative issues
  • Demonstrate organisational and management skills in making use of studio time and access, booking musicians and equipment if needed, arranging rehearsals, working with technology and preparing sound materials or sound algorithms for the final works
  • Demonstrate attention to detail through the creative methods and the crafting and editing of dynamic sound, preparing and documenting the outcome to professional standards
  • Demonstrate the development of dialogue through teaching and workshops, whilst developing communicative abilities and to share and review specific points of view and structured strategies during the creative process

Employability skills

Analytical skills
surveying repertoire, analysing materials, tools and methods for musical expression
Group/team working
during workshops
in the creation of original sonic material and in system design
Interpersonal and Leadership skills and roles within a group (especially in collaborative workshop tasks)
Problem solving
Creative problem-solving across media
Working to deadlines (tasks and projects) Software programming and hardware awareness Time management and organisational skills (scheduling studio access and navigating eLearning content) Editing, transforming and mastering (when preparing project documentation)

Assessment methods

Assessment task


Weighting within unit

Assignment – Project one including live interactive music

Create a software-based environment using live sound processing modules



Assignment – Project two
advanced interactive media environments (typically game-audio or advance instruments and electronics)

Create a software-based environment using live sound processing modules (typically game-audio project or an extension of project one)




Feedback methods

  • Oral feedback on group presentation
  • Written feedback on final project
  • Additional one-to-one feedback (during consultation hour or by making an appointment)

Recommended reading


Computer Music Journal¿

Organized Sound


Books and eBooks:

Rowe, Robert, Machine Musicianship (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT, 2001).

Rowe, Robert, Interactive Music Systems: Machine Listening and Composing (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT, 1993).

Wanderley, Marcelo M. and Marc Battier (eds.) Trends in Gestural Control of Music (Paris: IRCAM, 2000), Interactive CDROM.

Wishart, Trevor,  On Sonic Art, ed. Simon Emmerson (Amsterdam: Harwood, 1996).

Manning, Peter, Electronic and Computer Music (New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).

Roads, Curtis (ed.), The Computer Music Tutorial (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT, 1996).

Collins, Karen, Game sound: an introduction to the history, theory, and practice of video game music and sound design. Published Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press 2008

Truby, John. The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller. Publisher Faber & Faber, 2010

Thompson, Jim; The computer game design course: principles, practices and techniques for the aspiring game designer. Published London : Thames & Hudson 2007

Marks, Aaron; The complete guide to game audio: for composers, musicians, sound designers, and game developers. Published Burlington, MA ; Oxford : Focal Press/Elsevier 2009

Interactive storytelling for video games: a player-centered approach to creating memorable characters and stories

Lebowitz, Josiah; Klug, Chris- Interactive storytelling for video games: a player-centered approach to creating memorable characters and stories

Emmerson, Simon, The Language of Electroacoustic Music¿(London: Macmillan, 1986).

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 11
Practical classes & workshops 2
Project supervision 2
Seminars 9
Independent study hours
Independent study 176

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Ricardo Climent Unit coordinator

Return to course details