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 (Essay, Portfolio)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 20 hours of contact time and about 130 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

This module is running in the academic year 2021/22. We also plan to offer it in future academic years. However, we are constantly looking to improve and enhance our courses. There may be changes to modules in response to student demand or feedback, changes to staff expertise or updates to our curriculum. We may also need to make changes in response to COVID-19. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: