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2020/21 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

MUSS1615 Introduction to Computer Music

10 creditsClass Size: 12

Module manager: Dr Oliver Thurley

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2020/21

Module replaces

MUSS1612 Electronic Music Production and Creation 1

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

The module introduces students to various practical and theoretical approaches to creating computer music, following threads of key historical, technical and social developments. Practical tasks and contextual understanding underpin learning.Please note, this module focuses on computer-based experimental music and offers a creative and critical introduction to musical programming languages (no prior experience necessary). It is NOT, however, a music production or song-writing module.


This module is designed to equip students with core technical skills in and approaches to contemporary experimental computer music, as well as the historical, and creative practices that have led the development of this music. Students are supported to reflect upon their practice through these lenses.

Learning outcomes
1. Demonstrate a practical understanding of key technological developments in computer music.
2. Demonstrate awareness of contemporary issues in relation to technology and practice in computer music (e.g. social, cultural, critical, historical) by addressing these through practical work.
3. Reflect on how practical work is guided by both practical- and literature-based research.


Sessions offer a practical and theoretical approach to a range of topics that are central to contemporary experimental computer music (i.e. electroacoustic, acousmatic, sound art, interactive and algorithmic approaches). The module is taught using one or more music software programming environments and will introduce core concepts of computer music programming. Indicative topics include synthesis design; algorithmic composition; sampling; and software instrument design.
The module also aims to promote awareness of a range of historical and contemporary issues in relation to technology and practice in computer music (e.g. social, cultural, critical, historical).

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Class tests, exams and assessment22.505.00
Independent online learning hours5.00
Private study hours70.00
Total Contact hours25.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

Researching, developing and applying the practical and theoretical skills covered in classes (i.e. through experimentation): 3 hours per week x 10 weeks (30 hours total).
Research, including reading a range of critical, theoretical and technical sources as indicated by the reading list: 2 hours per week x 10 weeks (20 hours total)
Critical listening to existing work: 1 hours per week x 10 weeks (10 hours total)
Preparation for assessment: 10 hours

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students complete regular exercises [LO 1] during and between sessions and are given formative feedback by tutors in class.
Group-listening and discussions [LO 2, 3] also allow for peer and self-directed feedback.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Presentation10-minute reflective presentation on practical work100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Any resits would take place during resit week, giving a presentation (and thus present on campus or recorded). Students need access to multimedia facilities. The resit would take the form of a guided project, scaled-down from the original presentation assignment (allowing a reasonable period for development and assessment.)

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 10/08/2020 08:43:06


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