Computer Audio Production Essentials (20 credits)
This module is designed to provide students with a grounding in the applications and techniques of MIDI, synthesis, audio recording and arranging. The module will focus on standard computer-based music recording and production methods and will relate specifically to the practical production of demo-format recordings required for the Semester 2 module Songwriting, Composing and Arranging.
Sampling and Creative Composition (20 credits)
This module is designed to introduce students to essential sampling and sound manipulation practices and the ways in which these techniques can be applied to creative work. Students, both individually and in groups, will create a portfolio of sound studies that focus upon specific sampling and audio manipulation techniques and will be encouraged to develop these processes in a larger sound work or composition.
Software Techniques 1 (20 credits)
Students will be introduced to a range of audio processes that are intended to develop a creative timbral awareness and provide a firm grounding in working with modular software environments. This fluency will be further developed in a sound study and reflected upon in a technical presentation.
Songwriting, Composition and Arranging (20 credits)
This module develops techniques in songwriting, composition and arranging. The module fosters the acquisition of practical skills needed for the creative industries, whilst stimulating students towards the development of an individual style via a creative portfolio. In addition to informing students about the industry conventions of songwriting, composing and arranging, the module also will develop awareness of (for example) extended harmony; ensemble textures and idiomatic instrumental techniques.
Studio Recording and Mixing (20 credits)
The aim of the module is to introduce students to the studio production environment, providing them with a further grounding in audio recording techniques, corrective and creative audio processing and audio mixing principles. Studio Recording and Mixing will expand on techniques discussed in Computer Audio Production Essentials, by focusing on common recording setups and placing emphasis on industry-standard sound production practices.
Music Technology and Culture (20 credits)
This module aims to provide students with an understanding of the historical and cultural context of various styles and genres within contemporary electronic music and sonic art. These will be considered by tracing the development of constituent sonic techniques and their relationship to current practices. In addition, recorded examples from each stage of development will be considered analytically in order to identify their salient characteristics and their relationship to other media and disciplines.
Creative Production Techniques (20 credits)
The aim of the module is to build on the knowledge and skills gained within Computer Audio Production Essentials and Studio Recording and Mixing, by providing comprehensive coverage of the theory and practice of recording, sequencing, digital sound generation and post production processes. Students will have the opportunity to apply both industry-standard practices and creative approaches in the production of original material.
Music Enterprise and Entrepreneurship (20 credits)
This module aims to develop students understanding of the creative, technological and managerial elements of the music business as an industry, becoming aware of key areas of the sector and specific expectations related to employability and career development. It considers a wide range of music industry activities and career possibilities which may include focuses on music publishing, law & copyright, performance & recording management and the release, access and discovery of recorded music, for example.
Creative Sound Design (20 credits)
The aim of the module is to provide a substantial practical overview of studio-based approaches to sound design and electronic composition. A broad and diverse approach will be taken, emphasising the influences of dance music and film sound, academia, the avant-garde and the commercial music industry on the shaping of the contemporary studio composer, and students will be encouraged to reflect on these influences within their creative portfolio of works.
Likely optional modules
Year 2 options
Advanced Studio Recording and Mixing (20 credits)
Building on the skills acquired in previous performance modules this module further develops skills in performance through the study of a specialist instrument/voice. The module focuses on the development of students as soloists or featured instrumentalists, with a continued emphasis on developing an understanding of professional and industry expectations of musical performance practice.
Software Techniques 2 (20 credits)
This course is designed to develop students’ awareness of modular synthesis techniques in a creative context particularly through the use of software such as Cycling 74’s MAX software environment. Students will edit and manipulate existing patches, as well as begin to develop software instruments of their own. In this introduction to the language, students will be encouraged to explore these areas in a series of focussed sound studies.
Live Sound (20 credits)
The module aims to apply some of the sound production techniques to a live performance scenario learnt in Computer Audio Production Essentials and Studio Recording and Mixing.
Media Music (20 credits)
The aim of the module is to give students an introduction to the skills, approaches and insights needed to produce music for various media. Students will develop the ability to compose music that enhances narrative and moving images and will learn to engage those stylistic conventions and techniques most commonly encountered in bespoke media music. Students will develop sequencing and arranging skills needed in the production of smaller-budget media music and will also be presented with opportunities to develop skills in sound design that may be used alongside or as an alternative to more traditional compositional techniques.
Commercial Songwriting (20 credits)
Commercial Songwriting aims to build on the work completed within Songwriting, Composition and Arranging through the study of more advanced and extended songwriting models, whilst encouraging the students to develop their own distinctive ‘voice’ within their creative work. The application of technology within the compositional process will be explored as a means to extend beyond traditional songwriting models. Students will develop arranging skills for a variety of ‘live’ and computer-based instruments and ensembles.
Electronic Music Performance (20 credits)
The aim of this module is to form an electronic ensemble, record, remix and release online content and critically reflect upon electronic music in the live domain. Building upon material covered in modules such as Software Techniques 1 and Music, Technology, and Culture, the module will consider a range of practices and technologies used in the performance of electronic music, enabling students to develop techniques that can be applied in both solo and ensemble settings.
Independent Creative Project (20 credits)
This module will enable students to undertake a creative project agreed with the tutor at the start of the module. The outcomes of this research activity can cover a broad area and may include, for instance, a composition portfolio, an album, sound work, installation, and/or software design project. The work will be supported by a reflective commentary in which students reflect upon their own goal setting and progress in tutorials and individual work.
Year 3 options
Creative Production Project 1
The aim of the module is to build on the knowledge and skills gained through Creative Production Techniques and Advanced Studio Recording and Mixing, to provide students with the opportunity to focus on creative studio technique and develop an integrated approach to the session end-product: a definitive master demonstrating a distinctive approach to recording and production.
Creative Production Project 2
The aim of the module is to build on the knowledge and skills gained through Creative Production Portfolio 1, to provide students with the opportunity to focus on creative studio technique and develop an integrated approach to the session end-product: a definitive master demonstrating a distinctive approach to recording and production.
Sound Art (20 credits)
This module is designed to build upon knowledge developed in Creative Sound Design at Level 5. A strong emphasis on emergent forms of sound design and alternative approaches to composition will be explored. Students will be introduced to a range of professional skills, such as formulating project proposals and creating documentation, whilst new developments in Sound Art will be discussed through a variety of lectures and practical demonstrations. Students will also be encouraged to collaborate with visual media artists, such as photographers or web designers, in the creation of a mixed-media work.
Software Techniques 3 (20 credits)
This module builds upon the basic grounding in Max offered by Software Techniques 2 and applies this knowledge to advanced creative techniques, including the use of surround sound, generative approaches, working with visuals and the use of control surfaces. Recent open source developments will also be considered and students will explore topics such as algorithmic composition and interactivity.
Independent Project A (20 credits)
This module will enable students to undertake the research necessary for an extensive creative or dissertation project in the Independent Project B module. The outcomes of this research activity can cover a broad area and may include, for instance, research towards a composition, dissertation or performance. The module aims to enable students to develop a detailed, critical understanding of their chosen area of study, and to research, refine and present information, techniques, views and opinions in an academic fashion. The work may be either creative with a practice-based focus or a dissertation.
Independent Project B (20 credits)
This module will enable students to continue to develop a creative project or dissertation based on research developed in the Independent Project A module or work that they would like to further develop from other level 6 semester one modules such as Individual Songwriting, Audio and Sound for Games, Instrumental and Vocal Teaching. The work undertaken in this module should represent a significant development in the student’s chosen area of study and the module also aims to fundamentally enhance students’ employability through their focus on creative industry/academic standards.
Film Music (20 credits)
The module aims to give students a sophisticated understanding of the process of writing music for film. A historical survey of the process will introduce students to the development of the language of film music, film scoring techniques and to broader cultural and critical issues. The module will cover a variety of composers working in the industry with a focus upon the detail of influential works.
Film Music Portfolio (20 credits)
Following on from Film Music, this module aims to give students a further understanding of the process of writing music for film aiming to further develop the understanding of the language of film music, film-scoring techniques and broader cultural and critical issues. Students will develop composition, production, and software techniques to a professional level, and apply these skills to the creation of music for film. Students will also be required to produce a show-reel of their work and online portfolio, ready to present to a potential client.
Individual Songwriting (20 credits)
Individual Songwriting aims to provide students with the opportunity to extend and enhance a personal songwriting style whilst fostering an awareness of songwriting in a commercial context. In order to develop students’ practical, creative and technical skills in songwriting to a high level, the module builds upon the work done in Songwriting, Composition and Arranging at level 4 and Commercial Songwriting at level 5 by engaging students with more ambitious projects, such as the completion of an e.p. (extended play). The emphasis of the module is upon encouraging and facilitating creativity and individuality whilst aiming to achieve a professional and convincing level of competence in songwriting and arranging
Sound and Music for Games (20 credits)
This module is designed to introduce students to methods by which music and audio material can be creatively used within game design. Students will review coding and game design and will be encouraged to explore innovative approaches to game soundtrack or game design from a sonic/musical perspective. Especially relevant to this module is the focus upon interactive, non-linear sound design and the ways in which it differs from Film or TV composition.
Music Business Futures (20 credits)
The aim of this module is to develop a clear and deep knowledge of the current music industry with a view to predicting and developing future trends being informed primarily by investigation and practice. The module will focus in detail on the many new and emerging technologies available for promotion, discovery, distribution and consumption of music via the Internet and mobile networks that are currently being explored within the industry. There will be a strong emphasis on current and developing trends and a focus on exploring newly emerging avenues of music access, delivery and discovery in the light of shifts from the ownership towards the subscription business model.