History and Practice of Electronic Music (W3078)

15 credits, Level 4

Autumn teaching

This module explores what technology can offer in the way of composing tools and materials. It is taught through practical exercises, supported by listening assignments and readings. The module involves an introduction to the basic skills needed for the creation of music using current sequencing and audio software, in a creative and critical context. It encourages an open and questioning approach to composition with technology. How did both the material of music and our compositional approaches change in the 20th and 21st centuries as a result of developing technologies? What resources are available to you now as a composer that were not available to earlier musicians? What is our creative interaction with technology and software, and how much are our compositional expectations and desires influenced by the technology itself?

Practical tuition will be set in context through the study of electronic musical set works and discussion of the aesthetics of the medium from the early 20th century to the present day. Various compositional and aesthetic approaches will be considered, such as musique concrète, electroacoustic music, electronica, soundscapes and sound installations. You will develop your work through the techniques of both analogue and digital synthesis, and explore the creative uses of both electronic instruments and recorded sounds.


50%: Lecture
50%: Practical (Workshop)


100%: Coursework (Group presentation, Portfolio)

Contact hours and workload

This module is 150 hours of work. This breaks down into 24 hours of contact time and 126 hours of independent study.

This module is running in the academic year 2019/20. We also plan to offer it in future academic years. It may become unavailable due to staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of such changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.