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Music, Technology and Innovation MA modules

Core modules

Research Methods for Creative Projects

This module provides a grounding in research methods for creative technologies projects, including the dynamics of creativity, offering students methodologies and techniques to support and develop their learning. The module will cover literature reviews, creative practice research methodologies and practice-led research, as well as critical and scholarly approaches to analysis, quantitative and qualitative approaches including laboratory evaluation, surveys, case studies and action research. Students will be given techniques in methods of collaborative and cooperative working as well as systems of the development of creative ideas and research.

 

Aesthetics and Ideas in Sonic Arts

This module enables students to acquire an understanding of the historical development and cultural breadth of sonic arts practices. A broad view of the sonic arts is taken—examining a wide range of genres which may include electroacoustic music, human-machine interactivity, audio installations, site specific sound art, live art, DIY electronics, gaming and soundscape composition. New and emergent modes of performance, the influence of sound recording on music and its materials and changing attitudes toward the value and practice of listening will be core concepts. Terminology used by practitioners and musicologists will be explained and evaluated and different means to analyse and understand the field will be investigated. Students will be encouraged to apply the critical skills gained to their own interests and practices which will be reflected in the assessment tasks you complete.

 

Contextual Practice of Music and Technology

If a student’s final research project is a written dissertation, this module is co-requisite and is intended to ensure that the critical/analytical work of their dissertation is informed by meaningful understanding of the realities of technology-based creative music practice. Towards this end, you will gain hands-on experience with the tools, theory, and practice of technology-focused music making. With the support of a tutor, students will complete a self-defined practical project in musical realisation, through activities such as composition, performance, software design or other appropriate methods.

 

Contextual Theory of Music and Technology

If a student’s final research project is a practical one, this module is co-requisite and is intended to ensure that students creative practice is informed by a meaningful understanding of relevant themes and debates in the field. For example, students may engage in study of repertoire that contrasts with their own area of practice, or research more widely within it. Students may carry out an historical study or a critical case study of a specific artist, complete a critically evaluative study of issues in software/hardware design and implementation, via analysis and criticism of relevant literature, repertoire and other resources. The specific needs will vary according to the nature of a student’s particular research agenda, therefore, the module requires a self-directed study design for each student. As students are likely to be working in areas extending their expertise and previous experience, ongoing tutorial support is provided.

Optional modules

Sonic Arts Practices 1

Students will complete a practice-based project focusing on the realisation of a particular creative idea or the development of skill in a particular avenue of music creation. The key aim will be to assist students in deepening and/or broadening their understanding of materials and methods in musical composition and/or the application of electroacoustic technologies to music. The project will result in a standalone piece of practical work (which may involve presentation in performance) but may also be a testing ground for ideas that will lead to the final portfolio or dissertation. Study may be carried out on the basis of a self-defined project with tutorial support or through class-based study around particular topics.

 

Sonic Arts Practices 2

Students will complete a practice-based project focusing on the realisation of a particular creative idea or the development of skill in a particular avenue of music creation. The key aim will be to assist them in deepening and/or broadening their understanding of materials and methods in musical composition and/or the application of electroacoustic technologies to music. The project will result in a standalone piece of practical work (which may involve presentation in performance). It may also extend or complement work done in Sonic Arts Practices 1 and/or be a testing ground for ideas that will lead to the final portfolio or dissertation. Study on this module may be carried out on the basis of a self-defined project with tutorial support or through class-based study around particular topics.

 

Spatial Audio

Spatial audio is a leading topic in the production of sound and music, with ever increasing interest from the creative industries. It encompasses established technical strategies such as Ambisonics, binaural or Dolby surround (e.g., 5.1, 7.1, 5.1.2) and new technologies such as Dolby Atmos and adaptive audio-processing for virtual reality. It is also commonly used in sound art in binaural works and multi-speaker  installations. 

This module focuses on the development of spatial technologies from the introduction of stereo to the present day. It considers the capture of 2D and 3D acoustical environments and spatialisation strategies for compositional, production and performance work in a variety of contexts relating to music and sound art (e.g. concert diffusion, multichannel composition, installation) and for both established and emerging media (e.g. film sound, gaming, virtual/augmented reality). It also considers a variety of aesthetic concerns (e.g. commercial production, acoustic exploration, soundscape). Practical work is to be supported by theoretical, contextual and analytical investigation. 

 

Technologies for Digital Arts Practice

This module provides a practical understanding of a range of different digital technologies utilised in arts practice. The module will be taught through workshops and lectures delivered by established practitioners in the field and will be assessed through a negotiated group project, where students work collaboratively to produce a piece of digital art work. Students will have access to a range of established and emergent digital tools, applying these to develop their own practice through risk-taking in a supportive environment.

 

Research in Practice

This module will give students a practical understanding of the different methods of dissemination, presentation and communication of research/projects in creative technologies as well as practical experience in presenting their research to a range of audiences. It will cover different types of research outputs and their dissemination, different ways to present research, how to present and market research to different audience types, communication and presentation techniques and project planning. This module aims to encourage students to think about how their own creative technologies work is best communicated to a range of different audiences, ranging from academics, industry specialists and the general public as well as how this can be achieved practically. The module will culminate in an assessed showcase event where the student group will present their own creative technologies work to both a public and invited audience.

 

Digital Arts Practice

This module will focus on the development of individuals’ creative practice. By drawing on current knowledge in the area, this module will place the development of digital arts work within a critical and cultural context. This will be facilitated through the specialist knowledge-base of current teaching staff as well as drawing on practitioners in the field. This will provide the basis from which students will undertake individual practice-based research, which will be developed and underpinned by strategies and methodologies explored in the module. The module will be taught through workshops, tutorials, and critique/presentation of individual projects. Students will be assessed on the bodies of practical work produced in the module and supporting critical commentary.

 

Dissertation

This module provides students with the opportunity for supervised study and research that will lead to the completion of an original dissertation of 15,000 words on an approved topic.

 

Creative Portfolio

This module provides students with the opportunity for sustained, independently realised practice-based research through original creative work. It will involve the realisation of a composition, or cluster of compositions varying in length, employing electronic/digital technology in its creation, accompanied by a written commentary of 2,500 words. The portfolio may also include original tools created by the student as part of the realisation of the work, which will be supported by a commentary in the form of a user guide.

 

Creative Portfolio with Short Dissertation

This module provides students with the opportunity to complete a substantial practice-based research project and to situate this work in a critical context through the completion of a short dissertation (7,500 words) relating to the genre of the composition portfolio. The work will be accompanied by a written commentary of 1,500 words on the details of its realisation.