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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

MUSS1620 Sound, Technology, and Music

20 creditsClass Size: 60

Module manager: Dr Oliver Thurley
Email: O.Thurley@leeds.ac.uk

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

Pre-requisite qualifications

Usually A/AS Level Music or A/AS Level Music Technology (or equivalent). GCSE Music may be accepted with other relevant qualifications (e.g. A/AS Level Music Technology, Physics, Mathematics).
The following are beneficial, though not essential:
• Previous experience with digital audio software
• Previous experience with studio hardware (microphones, mixing desks, etc.)

Module replaces

MUSS1520 Introduction to the Sciences of Music

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module introduces students to the theoretical fundamentals acoustics and audio, as relevant to music, and provides opportunities to develop basic skills in a range of practical techniques that are fundamental for the practice of electronic and computer music. Although not the primary focus, the module also aims to promote awareness of a range of contemporary issues in relation to technology and musical practice (e.g. social, cultural, critical, historical).

Objectives

1) Provide an overview of fundamental theory in acoustics and audio, as relevant to music.
2) Develop basic skills in a range of practical techniques that are fundamental to sound and technology in musical practice.
3) Provide the fundamental theory and practical skills necessary to develop practice within in fields where sound manipulation and interaction with technology play a significant role in creative musical activity, including but not limited to: electronic and computer music, sound recording, interactive multimedia systems, digital live performance tools, etc.
4) Where possible, promote awareness of a range of contemporary issues in relation to technology and musical practice (e.g. social, cultural, critical, historical).

Learning outcomes
On completion of the module, students will:
Understand the basic theory of acoustics and audio as relevant to music;
Possess the basic practical skills that are fundamental to sound and technology in musical practice, as necessary to develop practice in areas such as electronic and computer music, sound recording, interactive multimedia systems, digital live performance tools, etc.

Skills outcomes
Basic theory of acoustics and audio as relevant to music.
Fundamental practical skills necessary to develop practice within in fields where sound manipulation and interaction with technology play a significant role in creative musical activity (including but not limited to: electronic and computer music, sound recording, interactive multimedia systems, digital live performance tools, etc.)


Syllabus

The following is indicative rather than prescriptive.
Lectures address basic theory of acoustics and audio. Indicative topics include: sound waves; the harmonic series; spectrograms; basic room acoustics; microphones and analog audio; digital audio; stereo listening and recording; decibels; mixing desks and signal flow; MIDI.
Practicals and video tutorials address basic techniques, indicatively including sound recording/editing, and other fundamentals addressed via a musically useful programming language (e.g. MaxMSP, Pd, SuperCollider, etc.)
Links between theory and practice will be highlighted as appropriate.
Although not the primary focus of the module, opportunities will be taken where appropriate/feasible to promote awareness of contemporary issues in relation to technology and musical practice (e.g. social, cultural, critical, historical) in preparation for an increased focus on this at Levels 2 and 3.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Lecture101.0010.00
Practical101.0010.00
Independent online learning hours10.00
Private study hours170.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Independent online learning includes a combination of video tutorials (e.g. covering software-based skills) and other online materials (e.g. worked examples to test knowledge of theory; software exercises; studio worksheets) to support the learning of key practical skills and theory.
Private study indicatively comprises:
70 hours course reading, peer-discussion and note-taking on theory, making and revising notes, and exam revision.
100 hours development and application of the relevant practical techniques (i.e. practical work with the technology itself, whether with software or in the studio), including consultation of documentation/manuals etc., plus planning and logistics as required (e.g. organising and scheduling recording sessions, designing and planning, booking and returning equipment, etc.), and preparation of the portfolio submission.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

For the theory: Question and answer sessions during the lectures; online resources including worked examples.
For the practical work: practical help, problem solving, and feedback on worksheets in practicals; in-class tasks under the supervision of a tutor.
In addition, module tutors are available during their advertised ‘office hours’, and via email, and there is a dedicated ‘musictech@leeds.ac.uk’ email address that students can use to get help with technical issues.

Methods of assessment


Coursework
Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
PortfolioPortfolio of practical work with written commentary60.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)60.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated


Exams
Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc) (S1)2 hr 00 mins40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)40.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 10/01/2020

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