Department of Music

Learn from experts in opera, musical theatre and music technology and work with internationally-recognised composers. Whether you're a Masters or PhD student, we have the academic expertise, learning resources and postgraduate support network to help you succeed in your degree and in your future career.

Our Masters courses and PhD degrees: 

MA in Music and Sonic Media

Develop your creative abilities in composition and sound through practical and theoretical work on our Music and Sonic Media MA. 

You learn how to: 

  • compose
  • make sound art
  • write music for the theatre
  • use music technologies, and create film music.

How does the course work if I am a composer or creative performer?

All modules offered by the music department have an option to be assessed through creative practice. You complete a series of creative projects to meet the assessment requirements of each module. Projects can include:

  • original instrumental/vocal music
  • studio compositions
  • sound installations
  • music theatre
  • interactive multi media art.

How does the course work if I am interested in writing?

Most modules have an option to write an essay instead of doing a creative project. 

Currently, the Composition Practice module (which is core) is an exception. If you are interested in writing theory, you can opt out of composition and substitute a more theory-based module from the range of Media, Film and Music modules. This means you can tailor your course to include writing.

How does the course work if I want to mix creative work and writing?

Modules have an option to be assessed by creative project or by essay. This degree is suited to you if you want to combine creative work with writing. 

Find out more about our Music and Sonic Media MA

What can I read to prepare?

Auslander, Philip Liveness: Performance in a Mediatized Culture (Routledge:1999)

Cook, Nicholas. Analysing Musical Multimedia (OUP: 1998)


Bartlet, Bruce & Jenny. Practical recording techniques. (Focal Press: 2013)

Donnelly, K.J. The Spectre of Sound (BFI: 2005)

Grover-Friedlander. Vocal Apparitions: the attraction of cinema to opera (Princeton: 2005)


Rowe, Robert. Incrementally Improving Interactive Music Systems in Contemporary Music Review. 1996, Vol. 13, Part 2, pp. 47-62


Salter, Chris. Entangled - Technology and the Transformation of Performance (MIT: 2010)

Sterne, Jonathan (ed.), The Sound Studies Reader. (Routledge; 2012)

Voegelin, Salomé. Listening to Noise and Silence (Continuum: 2010)

Music PhD

As a PhD student at Sussex, you'll join a community of almost 100 research students and 30 members of faculty.

Our PhD students work on composition, music theatre (practice and theory) and musicology. 

Find out more about our Music PhD

See also

Danny's student perspective

'The MA in Music and Sonic Media has been a very positive experience for me. The modules I’ve studied and projects I’ve developed have reinforced my practice and allowed me to enhance and extend my skills. They have also allowed me to produce work that I might not have had the time or opportunity to do through my professional practice.'

Danny Bright
Music and Sonic Media MA