MusB Music / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Fixed and Electroacoustic Composition

Course unit fact file
Unit code MUSC20061
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? No


A course dealing with a broad range of compositional techniques involving the use of cutting-edge technology and building upon studio-based electroacoustic composition concepts and methodologies encountered in other related course-units, extending into a wide range of material contexts, practical techniques, performance issues and advanced sound processing.


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Sonic Invention A MUSC10311 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Sonic Invention B MUSC10312 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
MUSC10311 or MUSC10312 are pre req of MUSC20061

Pre-requisite: The Electroacoustic component of MUSC10311/MUSC10312


  • To develop studio-based compositional methodologies
  • To provide enhanced skills in sound capture, processing and manipulation, including FFT and live electronics MaxMSP environments
  • To explore concepts of live sound diffusion and interpretation
  • To create software-based environments for interactive sonic creativity with human interface devices and computers
  • To introduce issues related to performance as encountered in the medium

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Apply enhanced skills in sound processing and electroacoustic composition
  • Increase imagination and techniques in developing sonic material
  • Develop skills in creating and performing fixed-media electroacoustic music


Representative Example (will vary each year):


  • Course-unit aims and objectives, course structure.  
  • Project brief and example repertoire
  • Sound sources /recording
  • Software resources

Advanced sound processing techniques

  • Granular synthesis and Cecilia, Soundhack plug-ins
  • Sonic intersections: glitch and noise

Advanced sound processing techniques

  • FFT analysis and re-synthesis, MAX  
  • Sonic intersections: ambient and electronica

Live and improvisatory sound development

  • MAX: improvisatory sound development environment; live-electronics approaches  
  • Sonic intersections: live coding


  • phrasing, patterns, time, formal designs
  • Sonic intersections: sonification

Advanced shaping and mixing  

  • mixing and shaping techniques
  • Sonic intersections: audio-visual

In-class improvisation

Delving deeper into plug-ins

  • advanced techniques  

Space form

  • theory and in practice, sound diffusion  
  • Sonic intersections: multi-channel audio

Mastering audio for electroacoustic media

  • compression, limiting, EQ, stereo imaging  
  • Sonic intersections: soundscape

Feedback and assistance on work-in-progress  

  • Final project tips
  • Feedback and assistance on work-in-progress  


Knowledge and understanding

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate more advanced knowledge of studio-based compositional methodologies
  • Understand spectromorphology and space-form as wider contexts for musical and sonic vocabulary and grammar as well as performance
  • Understand methodologies relating to sonic, musical and performance in fixed media-music

Intellectual skills

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Navigate in-depth concepts relating to space and timbre;
  • Develop gesture and texture driven structuring processes.

Practical skills

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Apply a technical knowledge of software techniques and sound recordings in realizing fixed media works
  • Demonstrate enhanced skill in using technology to achieve meaning and expression through sound 
  • Implement at professional level the Format of Composition submission of audio content, designed and approved by the composition staff
  • Prepare and deliver a presentation/performance through coursework as a formative experience toward completing the electroacoustic musical outcomes and tasks
  • Demonstrate enhanced skills in sound processing, visual oriented programming and electroacoustic composition
  • Develop sonic material more imaginatively
  • Utilise a wide range of studio tools in the capture, development and performance of electroacoustic music

Transferable skills and personal qualities

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • 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 if needed, working with technology and preparing recordings and mastering of final works, and preparing an in-class performance
  • Demonstrate attention to detail through the compositional methods and the crafting and editing of recorded and transformed sound, preparing compositions to professional standards
  • Demonstrate the development of dialogue through teaching and workshops, whilst developing communicative abilities and to communicate a specific point of views and compositional strategies during the creative process

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Analytical Skills (surveying repertoire, analysing materials for musical composition)
Group/team working
Team work (during workshops)
Initiative and inventiveness
Interpersonal and Leadership skills and roles within a group (especially in collaborative workshop tasks)
Project management
Working to deadlines (tasks and projects)
Problem solving
Creative problem-solving (especially in the transformation process and when using visual oriented objects to build signal processing systems)
Time management and organisational skills (scheduling studio access and navigating eLearning content). Editing, transforming and mastering sound material

Assessment methods

Electroacoustic Creative Project 100%


Feedback methods

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


Recommended reading

Periodicals held in the library:

  • Computer Music Journal
  • Organized Sound

Books held in the library:

  • Emmerson, Simon. The Language of Electroacoustic Music
  • Manning, Peter. Electronic and Computer Music
  • Roads, Curtis. Computer Music Tutorial
  • Rowe, Robert. Interactive Music Systems
  • Rowe, Robert. Machine Musicianship
  • Wanderley Marcelo M. and Battier, Marc (eds.) Trends in Gestural Control of Music
  • Wishart, Trevor. On Sonic Art

Repertoire examples as indicated in-class


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 22
Practical classes & workshops 22
Work based learning 3
Independent study hours
Independent study 53

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
David Berezan Unit coordinator
Ricardo Climent Unit coordinator

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