The Electroacoustic Composition/Sonic Art pathway invites you to help map out the next steps in Birmingham’s thirty year history as a world leader in the area of electroacoustic music composition and presentation.
A solid grounding in the field, its aesthetics and traditions is augmented by instruction in the latest techniques and technology.
You will study two core modules:
You will also choose two optional modules from a range which typically includes:
Full descriptions are available below.
Modules are assessed by a combination of practical and written assignments. You will also produce a composition portfolio of new musical works.
Your learning will be enhanced by our extensive facilities, including the Bramall Music Buildingand the Electroacoustic Music Studios and Birmingham ElectroAcoustic Sound Theatre (BEAST).
Support with academic writing
As a postgraduate student in the College of Arts and Law, you have access to the Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) which aims to help your transition from undergraduate to taught Masters level, or back into academia after time away. The service offers guidance on writing assignments and dissertations for your MA/MSc programme with individual support from an academic writing advisor via tutorials, email and the provision of online materials.
Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University.
The University's Careers Network provides advice and information specifically for postgraduates that will help you to develop an effective career and skills development strategy, and to make the most of your time with us at the University. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated careers and employability team to deliver tailored programmes of careers events and local support.
You will have opportunities to: meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs; attend employer presentations and skills workshops; receive individual guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique; and access to comprehensive listings of hundreds of graduate jobs and work experience opportunities.
You will also be able to access our full range of careers support for up to two years after graduation.
Postgraduate employability: Music
Birmingham's Music postgraduates work in a wide range of careers within and beyond the music world. A postgraduate degree in Music develops a broad base of skills including general skills such as communication, problem solving and research, and also specific skills developed by practice and performance such as self-management, team work and presentation.
Over the past four years, 91% of Music postgraduates were in work and/or further study six months after graduation. Whilst some graduates pursue music-related careers, or go on to teaching and lecturing roles, others choose to use their transferable skills to follow career paths in fields including finance and the public sector.
International students can access support for English Language development and skills through the Birmingham International Academy (BIA).
The Masters in Sound Design & Audiovisual Practice provides advanced training in creative practice with sound and audiovisual technologies. The programme offers topics relevant to practicing musicians, artists, and the creative industries, such as sound shaping and design, audiovisual composition, field recording, creative and experimental approaches to technology, live performance, interdisciplinary perspectives on sound, and sonic aesthetics. You then develop an individual portfolio of sonic and audiovisual artwork based on your particular skills and interests.
The programme aims to:
The MSc comprises 180 credits as follows:
Semester 1 compulsory courses (60 credits):
Semester 2 compulsory courses (40 credits):
Semester 2 option (one 20 credit course chosen from):
Additionally you will produce an individual creative portfolio over the summer (60 credits).
Teaching methods include small group tutorials, seminars and workshops, lab and studio sessions, and individual guidance meetings.
The attributes you gain will be attractive to employers from the creative industries, and are particularly relevant for contemporary music, sound design and sound production, games, theatre, film and television. Many of our graduates undertake successful portfolio careers as artists and sound practitioners in their own right. The programme also offers an excellent foundation upon which to progress to PhD studies and an academic career.
As computer and media technologies continue to converge and develop, the creation of music and sound has become increasingly more sophisticated. This course will immerse you in the technical and creative aspects of the latest emerging music technology.
You will explore the skills, techniques and theory behind the tools and technologies used in the production and performance of electronic music and sonic art. We will encourage you to investigate a range of creative areas, including contemporary music, performing arts, visual arts and live installations.
You will create interactive systems using Max/MSP, explore sensor-based interfaces and develop your expertise in sound creation, manipulation and composition. We have designed this course for those with an academic or professional background in the field, as well as those experimenting with sound through composition, sonic art or technology.
Our high-quality facilities and equipment, regular guest speakers from the industry and our links with local and national music, arts and festival organisations will help you get the most from the course.
Research Excellence Framework 2014
Research Excellence Framework 2014: our University demonstrated strength in five emerging areas of research which it entered into the assessment for the first time, including in music, drama, dance and performing arts.
You will have access to a suite of high quality, professional music studios, approved by JAMES, the accrediting body of the Music Producers' Guild and the Association of Professional Recording Services. This, combined with visiting speakers from the music industry and our links to local and national music, arts and festival organisations, ensures that you get the most from your course.
Artist in Residence Programme
The Artist in Residence programme gives our students an opportunity to work with professional artists and gives them a taste of what is it like to work on a professional music project. So far we have welcomed artists Chris T-T, Ian Prowse, I Monster, Tom Williams and Utah Saints.
Your course will equip you with the skills needed for a career in music technology, interactive media or sonic arts practice, research or education. It also integrates well with the wider music and audio industries and will give you the confidence to get ahead in these competitive fields.
The MMus in Sonic Arts is an opportunity to explore a wide range of creative approaches to studio-based music, including fixed-media composition, improvisation systems, sound art installation and composition for video/film.
You have full access to the Electronic Music Studios, which offers advanced facilities for electro-acoustic composition, multi-channel work and live/interactive performance.
You develop a rigorous conceptual framework for your creative practice, and engage critically with contemporary ideas and debates in sound art and computer music. As part of your studies you may choose from a range of options that encompass interactive/generative music, film music and film-making.
Studio composers taking this pathway may elect to take options in notation-based composition, providing they have the requisite prior experience.
Collaborative and interdisciplinary projects, in conjunction with other academic departments and/or external organisations, are also facilitated and encouraged.
The pathway is particularly useful for students wishing to pursue studio and computer-based research or professionals seeking to develop their expertise in technology-based creative practice.
You choose two modules from a selection that currently includes:
The Masters of Design (M.Des) in Sound for the Moving Image offers the opportunity for postgraduate students to engage with the craft and creative practice of sound production applied to film, animation, television, new media, electronic games and visual art, as well as equipping students with the tools required to develop a research project within this field. The programme promotes production of original work, through individual or group-based research, that is conceptually-driven, aesthetically challenging and wide-ranging in its use of sound design and music production/compostion.
The programme is delivered via a series of taught workshops, set and elective projects, lecture and seminar based sessions, and self-directed learning. The emphasis of the programme rationale is the interplay between creative practices underpinned by theoretical research, mediated through the craft elements of sound production within a visual environment. Students will be expected to engage in a high level of self-directed learning, research and independent critical reflection, as well as participating in the taught elements of study.
The programme prepares students for entry into a professional sound production environment, to enhance their creative practice with sound and sonic art, or for further academic study by research. Opportunities for further research can be accessed within The Glasgow School of Art or in the wider academic community, and will be driven by the ethos of research underpinning the programme. Current trends and emerging methodologies in professional practice will be defined by a visiting lecturer timetable bringing students into contact with established practitioners within the field of sound for the moving image.
Past students have won a range of awards including recent wins for Scottish BAFTA New Talent, and Sound Design work on award winning films.
If you enjoy creating sound and experiment with the type of sounds you can make within a musical framework Sonic Arts provides a discipline in which you can explore and develop your knowledge of sonic arts and sound technology. Digital music started to make an impression on society in the pop world but it is now increasingly used across all genres of music to augment the experience for audiences worldwide. Creative practitioners can find niche areas of work which they become known for producing or they can work across the genres and become known for their creative ability in producing recordings, re-recording music, finding a novel creative sound and so on.
You can progress your musical knowledge and range directly from studying at undergraduate level or you may have a combination of training and a portfolio of work which you can continue to progress. You get a wide range of opportunities to advance your skills, experimentation and musicology at Aberdeen to then present a wide ranging portfolio of sonic arts creativity. This area of music is a growth area of the industry due to the wide ranging effects which can enhance any type of musical performance across the recording and performance industry, into theatre, outdoor events, and more. Aberdeen provides the type of environment where you can build your portfolio of work and progress your skills whilst refining your creativity.
The programme prepares you for a career in creative industries in artistic, commercial and academic areas where creative approaches to sound are in demand, offering you a comprehensive overview of sonic arts.
Find out more detail by visiting the programme web page
Find out about fees
*Please be advised that some programmes have different tuition fees from those listed above and that some programmes also have additional costs.
Find out more about:
Find out more about living in Aberdeen and living costs
You will explore the very latest digital music practices, including new and innovative interactive techniques available to today's musicians and artists.
Using the latest in digital technology, you will develop skills in sound design, manipulation and composition to produce sound for a variety of audiences in a range of settings, from live performances to sonic art installations.
As well as being supported by expert academic staff, you will have access to a rich source of learning materials, including our Library's extensive resources and professional-standard software to enable you to fulfil your potential.
You could be a DJ using the latest software to sample sounds from the natural environment to create beats and loops to add to your set, or you could be working with art galleries to create soundscapes for an installation. The flexible nature of this course will enable you to develop both artistically and technically so that you are able to practise confidently, whatever your chosen field.
You will be taught by experienced industry professionals such as site-specific sonic artist Dr Matt Green and multi award-winning electroacoustic composer Dr Nikos Stavropoulos. You will also work with regular visiting speakers from the music and film industries, including BBC sounds recordist Chris Watson.
We have a wide range of postgraduate music courses, ranging from sound design to game audio, and your course will bring you into contact with students with diverse musical experiences and interests. This can provide opportunities for collaboration and networking both during the course and into your career.
You will have access to a suite of professional music studios, including recording rooms, audio booths, instruments, portable audio recorders, audio labs with soundcards and mixers, and computer workstations with software such as Pro Tools, Ableton Live and Max MSP.
In addition, we have fantastic links with local and national music, arts and festival organisations, which will help you get the most from the course.
This course will give you a broad range of skills and the confidence required to work in a variety of fields within the creative industries. It could open up opportunities in music production, TV, film or the arts. You could be producing solo material or collaborating with other artists on film, theatre or music projects.
What kind of learning emerges from and with art practice, and how does such learning further impact upon arts practice? This reflexive question lies at the heart of the MPhil & PhD in Art Practice & Learning.
The programme aims to promote practice research into the dialogical relations between pedagogical and art practices; a central purpose is to expand understanding of what both can become.
The programme anticipates that through an exploration and interrogation of the dialogical relations between arts practices and pedagogies, sites of practice and sites of learning you will engage with areas such as philosophical, political and aesthetic and material dimensions of learning and practice.
The outcomes of the practice research will consist of a practice component with a written thesis of which together articulate a coherent and integrated research study in which both components are viewed equally as contributing to the research. The written component must be able to demonstrate a clearly articulated research project and a rigorous theoretical engagement with the research focus, drawing upon, analysing and applying relevant literature.
The practice component must demonstrate an exploration and articulation of the practice research focus that draws upon domains of practice including visual or other practices to inform the research. The practice is not an 'illustration' to the written thesis. The practice and written thesis should be appropriate to the inquiry and should be considered to complement and support each other and the research question/s that govern the submission as a whole, inclusing the length of the written thesis and the presentation of the practice. The written thesis and the practice will be submitted concurrently and the examined as a whole. The practice component could, for example, take the form of an exhibition/s, a film/video (approximately one hour in length), an installation, a web-based production, a performances, socially-engaged work, sonic work or performance.
A key feature of the MPhil/PhD in Art Practice & Learning is that you will be part of the research community of the Centre for the Arts and Learning that meets regularly each term to discuss/share/debate research and ideas, and to discuss readings and art practice. This research community involves artists, academics, teachers etc. See the CAL webpage.
Find out more about research degrees at Goldsmiths.
The Department of Educational Studies has the theoretical and practical resources to support the anticipated research and it is able to draw upon important alliances and relations with cultural institutions with whom it has worked over many years, including for example, Tate, Whitechapel Gallery, Showroom Gallery, 198 Gallery and Iniva.
The programme draws upon a team of dedicated staff in Educational studies who are committed to developing this research; it will also draw upon part-time contributions from artists of national and international standing who already contribute to the
The programme can be studied full or part-time, and appropriate facilities will be provided.
Written thesis of between 30,000 - 70,000 words with practice, negotiated with the supervisor/s and approved by Departmental PGR Committee, appropriate to the terms of the research.
The practice is not an 'illustration' to the written thesis. The practice and written thesis should be appropriate to the inquiry and should be considered to complement and support each other and the research question/s that govern the submission as a whole, including the length of the written thesis and the presentation of the practice. The written thesis and practice will be submitted concurrently and examined as a whole.
Providing a balance of broad-based study and specialist training, this masters course is designed to meet your needs whether you wish to specialise as preparation for future research or take a more varied set of options as a stand along qualification.
Offering four distinct pathways in Composition, Ethnomusicology, Musicology, or Performance, the course allows you to take the initiative in constructing your own study programme with options in areas such as multimedia and film music, performance studies, historical musicology, and acoustic and electronic composition.
You will come away well-versed and well-practised in whatever discipline you choose, verbally and technically fluent, fully conversant with a broad range of issues of concern in current musical and musicological endeavour and able to present your ideas orally, in writing, and through performance and composition.
If taking the Composition Pathway then you will take:
If taking the Ethnolomusicology or Musicology Pathway then you will take:
If taking the Performance Pathway then you will take:
In addition to these mandatory course units there are a number of optional course units available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course units that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.
You will choose four from the following, at least one of which must be related to your chosen pathway:
Elective courses are typically assessed by essay (3,000–5,000 words, or two shorter essays), composition portfolio, or performance. At least one of the electives you choose from this list must be in the same area as your Special Study (i.e. in the broad area of ethnomusicology, music history, etc.). Up to two electives may be substituted for course units taken in other departments at Royal Holloway (such as languages or history).
In addition to the Special Study and the four electives, all students take the core 'Skills in Advanced Musical Studies', which consists of five lectures in the first term (leading to a 2,500-word essay) plus a second component chosen from a wide range of different research training options (including seminars at the Institute for Musical Research or Visiting Lecturer series). This component is assessed mostly by essay but there is scope for other kinds of assignment by agreement.
Our recent graduates have gone into careers as music teachers, composers and musicians. Others have gone into PhD studies at Royal Holloway or other leading universities, and then into academic careers, with some working in the highest-rated research departments in the country.
Composers at Royal Holloway have their music played and recorded regularly by resident and visiting professional musicians, the Royal Holloway Sinfonietta and, of course, by fellow students. Our award-winning Ensemble-in-Residence CHROMA gives you unrivalled workshop and performance opportunities.
Many Royal Holloway graduates are now making careers as professional composers, including: