Our MMus programme is distinctive in its range of musicological, compositional and performance-based elements.
You will benefit from the diversity of our research strengths, numerous ensemble performance opportunities and expertise in a range of musical fields, including contemporary music for the concert hall, popular music, film music, opera, acoustic, electronic and computer-generated music.
The Composition pathway of the MMus Music programme is designed to develop your individual compositional style and technique through tutorial guidance and opportunities for performances, workshops and recordings.
Various stylistic and generic strands can be pursued individually or in combination, including jazz, music for screen and multimedia, contemporary music for the concert hall and computer sound design.
You will take two compulsory research training modules followed by a combination of composition-related options. Having completed the Postgraduate Diploma stage of the programme, you will progress to Masters stage and submit a composition folio.
The programme provides ideal preparation for future research work at PhD level.
This programme is studied full-time over one academic year and part-time students must study at least two taught technical modules per academic year.
Example module listing
The following modules are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that not all modules described are compulsory and may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.
The School welcomes applications from students who wish to undertake one module of study from the Masters programme.
Potential applicants may make an appointment for an informal interview with the Programme Director if practicable. All applicants will be asked either to submit a sample of written work, a DVD of their performance, or samples of their compositional work, or to sit an audition depending on their chosen specialism.
Our work achieves wide international circulation, both through established scholarly channels and, distinctively, through broadcast media (such as BBC TV, Channel 4, BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4, and National Public Radio in the USA).
School staff are much in demand for pre-concert talks at venues such as London’s South Bank and Barbican centres. The research environment at Surrey is sustained by open discussion and debate, and through the regular airing of work-in-progress.
Our work is strengthened by the ready input of our peers and research students at various stages allowing collective engagement to foster innovation.
The MMus (Composition) programme aims to provide students with a high quality education in the creative, re-creative, technical, critical, vocational and academic areas of the subject. It aims to provide students with the necessary skills, techniques and methodologies to work at an advanced level with a critical awareness of the discipline.
The programme aims to reflect current developments within the theory and practice of music composition and, in so doing, to educate students so that they may work confidently and constructively within the musical culture of the present.
The programme aims to offer the necessary preparation for students wishing to undertake doctoral level study in practice-based areas.
The programme provides opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, skills, qualities and other attributes in the following areas:
Knowledge and understanding
Intellectual / cognitive skills
Professional practical skills
Key / transferable skills
We often give our students the opportunity to acquire international experience during their degrees by taking advantage of our exchange agreements with overseas universities.
In addition to the hugely enjoyable and satisfying experience, time spent abroad adds a distinctive element to your CV.
In this dynamic programme you’ll build on your existing musical skills and develop a greater understanding of the theories and techniques of digital composition and performance.
A focus of the programme is bridging the gap between the musical vision and its performance. With this in mind, you will be encouraged to perform your own music in live situations and take your place at the forefront of your music’s realisation.
An emphasis is also placed on the field of digital composition within a wider context, which you will address through seminar work. You’ll learn how to plan a technological project and translate your musical ideas into interactive computer music programmes and/or scores.
Your study will take the form of weekly lectures or seminars, as well as at least 10 hours a week on project work.
You will complete six courses.
In semester 1:
In semester 2:
In addition, over the spring and summer, you will prepare a final digital composition and performance project.
Students will gain in-depth knowledge of:
As this programme involves a wide range of disciplines both technical and artistic, you will gain a number of transferable skills ranging from the core matters of composition, audio production and music programming to more indirect but highly employable skills such as research, documentation, critical thinking, oral presentation, teamwork and software development.
Our graduates have gone on to be employed as composers, performers, researchers, Cirque du Soleil sound technicians, university lecturers, software engineers, BBC sound recordists, web designers, multimedia/ video streaming engineers, and DJs.
See our alumni webpage for details of the careers of recent graduates:
This programme is for students who have a background in digital media, human-computer interaction, artificial intelligence, interaction design, composition, architecture and art or design practice, and wish to extend their study through a series of practical, research-led projects.
Students work in collaborative contexts to develop skills in conceptualising and implementing creative projects that make extensive use of digital technologies.
The compulsory element of the course is Digital Studio Practice, which is supported by postgraduate research methods training and a series of optional, lecture-based courses, reading courses and a final dissertation.
On completion of the degree graduates will be able to contribute knowledgeably and critically to practice-led research that involves advanced technologies. The programme provides an opportunity for you to test your aptitude for PhD study in the area.
The core of the course is Digital Studio Practice (40 credits in semester 2), supported by Postgraduate Research Methods (P00487 in semester 1) and a series of optional lecture-based courses, reading courses and a final dissertation. The MSc in Digital Studio Practice also provides an opportunity for students to test their aptitude and interest for PhD study in the area.
All of our research students benefit from ECA’s interdisciplinary approach and all are assigned two research supervisors. Your second supervisor may be from another discipline within ECA, or from somewhere else within the College of Humanities & Social Science or elsewhere within the University, according to the expertise required. On occasion more than two supervisors will be assigned, particularly where the degree brings together multiple disciplines.
*New for 2017, subject to final approval.
Develop your own signature sound and production style, through this forward-thinking, cutting edge music composition and production course. The MA Sound Production programme is tailored towards individuals who are keen to hone their composition and production skills inside an intertextual and cross-disciplinary framework that pushes at the stylistic boundaries of genre.
The content will cover aesthetic considerations as well as technology and techniques utilised in modern music making. The award is deliberately unbounded by genre and there are opportunities to take an interdisciplinary approach to sound production, including contemporary electronic music, studio and field recording, experimental music and sound design for composition.
The programme encourages interdisciplinary and collaborative working methods with students from the wider music community at Bath Spa, as well as visual media and other departments within the University. While the programme has a music production focus, it also covers key areas of practice such as:
• Sound design
• Electronic music composition
• Soundscape and field recording
• Traditional studio practices
• Sound engineering
• Spatial audio and sound design
• Composition for visual media
You won’t be expected to cover all of these areas. You’ll be able to use the course to develop an individually-tailored portfolio of skills, experience and top-level work across them.
The course is part of a suite of courses available across music and sound, operating alongside ‘sister’ pathways in Sound Design and Sound Arts, which allow further specialism in these areas.
For more information on the 'sister' pathways please refer to the website: https://www.bathspa.ac.uk/courses/pg-sound-production/
In trimester one, you'll gain the skills you’ll need to fulfil the rest of the course. The Skills Portfolio module is built on the idea that you’ll already have technical skills in this area. It therefore allows you to choose a handful of skills projects from a large number of options – these cover skills right across the Sound Arts, Sound Design and Sound Production pathways and include (optional) elements of multimedia.
The Research Methodology and Context module develops skills in postgraduate-level research and writing. It is designed to give you the tools for an onward journey in academia, but not to be, in the colloquial sense, ‘academic’.
In trimester two, you’ll advance the knowledge gained in the the first trimester and begin exploring the intertextual possibilities of music composition. In addition, you’ll develop a creative project that will further extend the work undertaken on the trimester 1 Skills Portfolio module.
The module Intertextuality In Sound Production aims to capture and contextualise emerging trends and innovation at the forefront of sound production and composition, and develop composition skills that extend beyond the limits of genre.
Alongside the Sound Production modules there are additional optional modules that you can study from the other pathways. From the Sound Arts pathway, the Visual Music module explores the idea that musical thinking can be extended to the visual, and encourages students to develop multimedia projects that explore this idea. From the Sound Design pathway the Post Production module explores an industry-level workflow for audio post production for picture.
In trimester three, you'll complete the course with a independent research project. While most Masters level courses consist of a substantial written dissertation component, the MA Sound Production programme focuses more on high-level practical work and the concept of ‘practice as research’ through the creation of a large-scale practical project.
The project will fulfil the same function as the traditional dissertation; you’ll develop individual and original research, but through the creation of a portfolio of works, rather than through the written word.
For more information on modules and course structure please visit the course webpage: https://www.bathspa.ac.uk/courses/pg-sound-production/
Most modules are taught through small-group seminars and workshops, where you’ll benefit from close interaction with tutors and peers. The Major Project and parts of the other modules are taught through individual tutorials where the focus will be entirely on your own practice.
You’ll be assessed entirely on coursework. The majority of this will be practical and creative work, including the dissertation-equivalent Major Project. Some practical projects are accompanied by short informal written assignments, and the for the Research Methodology and Context module you’ll produce a more substantial paper.
You can use the course to develop an individually-tailored portfolio of skills. This will equip you for the current employment landscape, where a combination of traditional music roles are required alongside broader practice in sound and other media.The course also provides the breadth necessary for FE and HE teaching in the field, and provides the basis required for PhD research and beyond.