Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2017-2018 (archived)

Module MUSI2641: Creative Music Technology

Department: Music

MUSI2641: Creative Music Technology

Type Tied Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2017/18 Module Cap 24 Location Durham
Tied to QRV0
Tied to W300


  • MUSI1271 Composition 1: 20th Century Innovations


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To acquire a critical understanding of the practical and creative characteristics of music technology, including techniques of sound recording, editing, processing and synthesis. Studio composition work builds upon foundation skills acquired in the Level 1 module Composition 1, and key skills in music technology in the Level 1 music department programme.


  • Students will study key aspects of the following:
  • The operational characteristics of recording, synthesis and signal processing technologies and their creative application in the context of electronic music composition. These studies extend to key aspects of the history of electronic music composition, and working in multimedia contexts.
  • The nature of musical sounds, their spectral and dynamic characteristics, and the significance of acoustical considerations, provide the foundations for critical enquiry, extending to research-informed perspectives on the ways in which technologies shape and influence the processes of music creativity.
  • The use of Digital Audio Workstation software for audio editing and mixing.
  • The use of a studio, including recording skills.
  • Composition in a multimedia context, e.g. the setting of music to visuals.
  • Research-based knowledge and experience thus acquired is applied and evaluated via a series of studies that directly engage with the practical and aesthetic challenges to be faced in these contexts.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will acquire a critical understanding of the scope and nature of music technology in sufficient breadth and depth to allow them to engage authoritatively and effectively with a range of applications. These include the creative use of the associated resources and techniques for the purposes of electronic music composition, as well as applications in the creation and analysis of sound recordings.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students will be able to demonstrate practical skills in the use of technology for sound recording and editing, including the use of stereo and multichannel audio formats, taking into account the principles of acoustics and digital data representation and also the creative application of these skills in the contexts identified above.
Key Skills:
  • Students will be able to demonstrate the use of advanced information technology skills, the ability to work independently in a research-led context, and show critical self-awareness.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The practical study of music technology demands the acquisition of considerable technical knowledge that is not normally encountered in purely instrumental composition. This knowledge is best taught in a 'hands on' environment, learning specific skills through small group teaching with a lecturer and self-study time at the computer or in the studio, and where the use of the technology is increasingly driven by creative imperatives. This accumulation of knowledge requires a highly interactive teaching and learning environment with a significant degree of immediate feedback through studio-based seminars and supporting tutorials.
  • An additional three listening sessions will place practical and creative work in historical context, ensuring that the short-fat running of this module is still well served by adequate critical reflection.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lecture 10 weekly, term 1 1 hour 10
Practical Seminars 10 weekly, term 1 1 hour (however, timetabled for 2 one hour slots to allow for small group teaching in the studio if a larger cohort takes the module) 10
Listening seminar 3 Term 1, weeks 2, 5 and 8 1 hour 3
Tutorials 4 Two in term 1, one in term 2 offered by a support lecturer, one in term 3 15 mins 1
Preparation and Reading 176

Summative Assessment

Component: Practical Assignment Component Weighting: 30%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Electroacoustic composition 2 minutes plus 500 word critical commentary 100% Yes
Component: Project Component Weighting: 70%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Project 5 minutes plus 1000 word critical commentary 100% Yes

Formative Assessment:

Formative assignments at the beginning of term 1 with feedback in tutorials.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University