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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Music

Undergraduate Course: Sonic Structures (MUSI10098)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummarySound designers and composers are often commissioned to produce fixed audio that is custom fit to picture or play or ensemble but there is a growing need to expand on this technique and provide electronic sound that can quickly be configured for dynamic contexts, such as live music situations, in-car audio, industrial sound design.

On this course students study how to shape sound over time, and learn methods of controlling the form of sound in changing contexts be these in music, design or the sonic arts.
Course description This course allows students to explore sound-based interaction methods in the context of digital media, music and to a lesser degree, product and prototype design. Lectures cover a range of areas based on the development of interactive software systems for manipulating, sampling and synthesising sound in real-time. Students will investigate processes and contexts for the use of sound in areas such as new musical forms, sonic branding, industrial sound design, sonification, sound therapy, audio-visual performance, network-based multi-user applications and immersive simulation environments.

Student projects will be developed using software programming languages appropriate to these tasks.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have; experience of using sound recording technologies (microphones, recording equipment etc.); experience of using sound editing tools such as DAWs and wave editors, mixing tools, digital or analogue; interest in computer programming for music, and industrial audio.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Programme reactive sound environments and possess a detailed knowledge of the chosen programming language
  2. Understand issues around interaction and responsive sound
  3. Articulate the usefulness of multiple audio components in a media or object-based environment (e.g. music, sound effects, soundscape)
  4. Translate adventurous design ideas into a plausible end product
  5. Demonstrate a broad knowledge of the challenges involved in devising computer music systems
Reading List
Farnell, Andy. 2007. 'An Introduction to Procedural Audio and Its Application in Computer Games.'

Dan Gärdenfors 'Auditory Interfaces,' Jonas Lindkvist Design (Online Essay):

William Gaver 'Auditory Interfaces,' in Handbook of Human-Computer Interaction (Second Edition)
Edited by Marting G. Helander, Thomas K. Landauer and Prasad V. Prabhu, (Amsterdam and New York: Elsevier Science, 1997). Pages 1003-1041
ISBN: 978-0-444-81862-1. Available from:

William Gaver "Synthesizing Auditory Icons" (Paper)
CHI '93 Proceedings of the INTERACT '93 and CHI '93 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Pages 228-235. Amsterdam, The Netherlands. April 24 - 29, 1993
ACM New York, NY, USA ©1993 table of contents ISBN:0-89791-575-5 doi»10.1145/169059.169184
Accessible via Uni network:

Gaver, William W. 1986. 'Auditory Icons: Using Sound in Computer Interfaces'. Human-Computer Interaction 2 (2): 167-77.

Hug, Daniel. 2008. 'Towards a Hermeneutics and Typology of Sound for Interactive Commodities'.
In Proceedings of the CHI 2008 Workshop on Sonic Interaction Design, 7.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Skills in programming interactive sound environments, i.e. A detailed knowledge of the programming language used by the course.
Understanding of issues of interaction raised in complex multimedia environments
Ability to articulate the usefulness of multiple audio components in a media or object-based environment (e.g. music, sound effects, soundscape)
Ability to translate adventurous design ideas into a plausible end product.
Ability to communicate a complex project idea to a varied audience
KeywordsSonic interaction design,live electronics,context aware audio,live performance with computers
Course organiserMr Martin Parker
Tel: (0131 6)50 2333
Course secretaryMiss Laura Varga
Tel: (0131 6)50 2430
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