Music Composition & Technology

BA/BSc (Hons)

2018 entry

Music Composition and Technology at our Farnham campus is pioneering in its field. Formed to meet a growing demand in the music and sound industries, it has been designed to reflect the need for graduates to be flexible and adaptable to the needs of different media.

The course content is driven by the ever-changing nature of the music and sound business, as well as the evolving needs of our students.

You’ll develop a global understanding of music, sound design and technology by having the freedom to work in your individual areas of interest, and will learn how the ability to manipulate sound and music is relevant to current and emerging media. With guidance from our knowledgeable teaching staff, you’ll gain the confidence to challenge existing music and sound cultures.

A combination of activities, live projects, collaborations with other disciplines, work placements and engagement with industry professionals will help you grow as an informed, creative and well-connected graduate.

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Length of study:

Three years full-time

Starts:

September 2018

Campus:

UCA Farnham

UCAS code:

W300

UCAS institution code:

C93

UCAS campus code:

F

Course overview:

On both the BA and BSc courses you’ll be encouraged to question the status quo of the creative industries and develop the confidence to shape the future development of technology and media.

On either award you might be working as a composer, a sound designer, or both. The application of skills and knowledge to the different technological demands of the environment will determine whether you ultimately choose to work for a BSc or BA award.

Once you’ve gained a better insight into the topics that you’ll be studying in your second year, you’ll have the opportunity to decide which route you’d like to pursue, with the help of your tutors. The BA route will explore music composition and sound design for linear forms, particularly in relationship to film, animation and advertising; it will look at how a creative environment can be enhanced through music and sound. The BSc course focuses on music composition and sound design for interactivity, such as theatre, games design, video projection, VJing and audio installations.

Course content - 2018 entry

In your first year you will explore creative and technical approaches to music composition and sound design, particularly their relationship with film, theatre, animation, advertising, and games design. You’ll discover how a creative environment can be enhanced or changed through the introduction of music and/or sound and learn the basic toolkits of your craft. You’ll begin to explore, develop and apply your creative skills through a series of practical projects which will contribute to the development of your portfolio of work. Integral to your studies will be learning about how the music business works and how to make it work for you, and your practical studies will be supported by a unit that looks at the history of sound and electronic music.

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

  • Adventures in Sound and Music (BA/BSc)

    This unit introduces you to the basic concepts of creating and designing sound and music for the screen. You’ll explore the physical properties of sound, and the technical tools required for recording and working with audio. You’ll consider questions such as: What is sound? How is it captured/recorded? How is it reproduced/played back? How is it manipulated?

  • Exploring Narrative (BA/BSc)

    As a music composer or sound designer, you will need to produce soundtracks for different media including films, animations, and computer games. This unit provides an opportunity to consider appropriate forms of sound and music for different media and also explore thematic development and genre.

  • Sonic Art (BA/BSc)

    You will explore the powerful effect of sound and music in a space or environment and consider how our interpretation and reading of sound and music changes with the environment and vice-versa. You will consider the work of artists and musicians working in this area, for example Susan Phillipsz, Janet Cardiff, Laurie Anderson and Bill Fontana. You will also start to think about the environment as a theatre for staging dramatic performances and performance work.

  • Studio Toolkit 1 (BA/BSc)

    This unit introduces you to the fundamental techniques and processes of audio production and engineering. You will use a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) to explore the fundamental techniques that audio engineers use to manipulate sound, including attenuation, compression, equalisation and filters. By listening to existing recordings, you’ll learn how to identify these techniques and additive effects such as reverberation, delay, flange, and phase. This will give you a grounding in the aesthetic choices and decision-making processes of sonic artists, engineers and producers.

  • Beats and Bleeps 1 (BA/BSc)

    You will develop an understanding of the roots of electronic music beyond conventional instrumentation, and an appreciation of the impact it has had on art, popular music culture and society. You will explore the birth of electronic music and its evolution from modern art music, through university-led electro-acoustic composition to pop music. You’ll investigate how and why electronic music accompanies many other forms of popular culture such as film and advertising, and will be introduced to the relevant theoretical concepts in order to examine these audio 'revolutions' and the part they played in society.

In your second year you will begin to form a technical and theoretical understanding of sound, wave forms and the physics of sound while familiarising yourself with a range of software packages that you will need for your career as a composer or sound designer. In the second term, you will decide whether you wish to take more technical units, which will determine whether you will graduate with a BSc or BA degree. You’ll be introduced to the music and sound business and will have the opportunity to either go on work experience or work with Acting & Performance students on a project to create the sound design or compose the music for performances.

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

  • Studio Toolkit 2 (BA/BSc)

    Building on your knowledge of the technical implementation of audio, you will investigate how different tools can be used to solve more sophisticated audio problems. You’ll explore software that enables you to work creatively in both linear and non-linear environments. This will help you make an informed decision as to whether you wish to pursue the BA (Hons) or BSc (Hons) route for your final award.

  • Linear Brief (BA)

    You will learn how to communicate with a client and to plot a workflow, for both short and long timeframe projects, discovering how to prioritise different areas of a project depending on timeframe. You will explore the decisions around the allocation of budget to different resources in a project, plotting the ‘spend’ on players or additional technology resources in relation to the composer’s fee. You will critically reflect on the management of the project and the process of doing this within a given set of constraints.

  • Designing Interactivity (BSc)

    In Designing Interactivity, you will explore the ways and means of creating sound and music to work in flexible, non-linear ways. You’ll study the use of sound/music in interactive contexts and develop interactive media sound tracks. Building on prior work exploring narrative, you’ll learn to plot and plan digital audio in creative ways. You’ll produce audio/music to an interactive brief, possibly through collaboration with Acting & Performance or Computer Games Arts students or you might create generative sound for video mapping projection or VJing.

  • Sound Advice (BA/BSc)

    This unit introduces you to the current working structures and operations of the UK and global music and media industries, giving insights into how music producers, film/media producers and businesses interact with each other on a creative and commercial basis. You’ll explore the roles of various intermediaries that operate, and intervene, between music producers, film/media producers, the rights owners and the users/consumers.

  • Beats and Bleeps 2 (BA/BSc)

    We live in a consumer culture where sound and images play a fundamental role in determining social meaning and value. You’ll look at the role of audiences, politics and ideologies in historical, geographical and contemporary culture. You’ll consider hierarchies of lifestyle, taste and identity within a range of contexts, from club culture, music video, film, games and fashion shows.

  • Self-Generated Project or Work Experience (BA/BSc)

    Work Experience:
    For this unit you will be required to research, negotiate and undertake a legitimate self-initiated work experience/placement opportunity – the business you choose must be appropriate to the music, sound or media industries and designed to meet your own aspirational and identified developmental needs. Alternatively you can choose to undertake placement on a music tour. The work experience/placement or tour should last for a minimum of two weeks or ten working days.

    or

    Self-Generated Project:
    This is a group project in collaboration with Acting & Performance students, working under the supervision of practitioners based at the Farnham Maltings. You’ll instigate, provide content for and manage a two-day festival on campus.

In your third year you will follow your elected BA or BSc path and will undertake a substantial body of work to create a showreel. This may be self-originated or in collaboration with students from Animation, Film Production, Acting & Performance, Computer Games Arts or in the Fine Art area. This body of work will be supported by either a dissertation, or a combined written and practical research project. You will build your knowledge of the industry and begin to launch yourself into your career through the construction of a personal website and business plan.

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

  • Dissertation or Practice as Research (BA/BSc)

    Dissertation:
    This unit consists of a substantial period of sustained, individually negotiated research on a subject that is likely to be related to the contextual and/or theoretical concerns of your discipline or chosen area of practice, towards the provision of structured written argument.

    or

    Practice as Research
    This unit consists of two elements – a 2,500-word contextual paper and an individually negotiated Music Composition or Sound Design Project which practically explores and investigates the issue, concern, practice or theory raised in your contextual paper. The research is designed for you to locate and explore your practice in a theoretical context.

  • The Sound Business (BA/BSc)

    In this unit you’ll have the opportunity to bring together all your creative projects, skills and knowledge to form a professional practice ‘package’ designed for music and media industry clients, customers, users and intermediaries. Once you have this you can present yourself and your music and/or media projects to the industry.

  • Showreel (BA/BSc)

    This unit consolidates your technical knowledge and practical skills in music composition and/or sound design with your collaborative and conceptual abilities. You will build a showreel of up to 30 minutes of original work, appropriate to your chosen genre(s).

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

Course staff

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International study

Find out more about studying in the UK, or studying part of your course abroad at one of our partner institutions (study abroad option not available on all courses).

How to apply - 2018 entry

I am a UK or EU citizen ...

I am not a UK or EU citizen ...

Entry requirements - 2018 entry:

Entry requirements

The standard entry requirements* for this course are:

One of the following:

  • 112 new UCAS tariff points (equivalent to 280 old UCAS tariff points), see accepted qualifications
  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art & Design (Level 3 or 4)
  • Distinction, Merit, Merit at BTEC Extended Diploma
  • Merit at UAL Extended Diploma
  • 112 new UCAS tariff points from an accredited Access to Higher Education Diploma in appropriate subject.

And four GCSE passes at grade A*-C and/or grade 4-9 including English (or Functional Skills English/Key Skills Communication Level 2)

And Grade 5 Theory (ABRSM, LCMM, Trinity College, Rockschool or others recognised by Ofqual).

Other relevant and equivalent Level 3 UK and international qualifications are considered on an individual basis, and we encourage students from diverse educational backgrounds to apply.

*We occasionally make offers which are lower than the standard entry criteria to students who have faced difficulties that have affected their performance, and who were expected to achieve higher results.

Your portfolio

While a portfolio is not required for this course, if you choose to bring one it should it be on DVD or USB stick and consist of up to five minutes of original composed music or sound work. Be prepared to talk about your interests in music or sound and why you wish to pursue this course with us.

Fees & finance

Uncover all the costs involved, as well as the grants, loans and other financial support you may be entitled to.

Student regulations

Find out more about the operation of our courses, student conduct, assessments and examinations.

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