Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2017-2018 (archived)

Module MUSI3681: Studies in Electronic Music

Department: Music

MUSI3681: Studies in Electronic Music

Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Not available in 2017/18 Module Cap Location Durham


  • MUSI1261 Historical Studies 1 OR MUSI2641 Creative Music Technology


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Excluded Combination of Modules

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  • To facilitate student research into the domain of electronic music, encouraging creativity and critical independence. To enhance the ability of students to reflect conceptually on musical material, forms, and performances. To develop understanding of the relationship of music and technology with respect to the developing research frontier in electronic music.


  • This module explores the varied world of live electronic music, with an especial focus on recent developments in laptop and mobile music performance. As well as critical discussion of electronic music practices, students will take part in practical electronic music activities. Topics will include computer music, electronic musical instruments, live performance of electronic music, historyand analysis of electronic music, and DIY electronic music making. Assessment will involve the completion of a research project in electronic music, which may range from a critically informed performance to a study of a particular part of the electronic music repertoire.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will become familiar with historical and theoretical perspectives on electronic music, as well as the range of practical approaches to its creation. They will understand factors impacting on electronic music production and performance such as technology, compositional and performance planning and the associated contemporary and historical context.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • After taking the module, students will be able to demonstrate critical evaluation of their own and others’ electronic music. They will gain practical skills in computer music in particular, through exposure and training within software such as Max/MSP and SuperCollider, as well as encountering additional assorted practices in electronic music such as hardware hacking.
Key Skills:
  • The module will establish theoretical understanding of electronic music, while developing practical skills in the creation of the same. The module will reinforce flexible and creative IT skills and critical self-awareness.

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

  • Core theoretical teaching will be delivered in weekly lecture/seminars. Fortnightly workshops will concentrate on the development of hands-on experience with computer music software and other relevant practical techniques, and opportunities for critical reflection. Students will be offered one individual tutorial per term.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lecture/Seminar 19 Weekly in the terms 1 and 2 1 hour 19
Workshops 10 Fortnightly in the terms 1 and 2 1 hr 10
Tutorials 3 15 minutes 45 minutes 0.75
Preparation and Reading 170.25

Summative Assessment

Component: Research Project Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Research project in the form of an extended essay, or in the form of a critical commentary and practice-based component. The latter would be submitted as an audio/video recorded live performance or studio composition (the submitted work(s) to be agreed in advance with the module leader) 6,000 word project report OR 3,000 word project report and 10 minute recording 100% No

Formative Assessment:

Students will work in groups to present formative exercises to the class, for critical discussion. There will also be seminar discussion of historical electronic music to provide examples of contextualizing work. By the middle of the second term, students will present their research project in class for early feedback and discussion.

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