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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Music

Postgraduate Course: Soundtracks for Screen (MUSI11065)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course introduces concepts and techniques relevant to the analysis and creation of soundtracks in visual media. On this course you will learn to examine examples of audiovisual media and develop ways of explaining how sound and music are treated in these contexts. These studies subsequently inform your own design and compositional work in this area as you realise sonic responses to various visual media.

Those of you who identify as sound artists and sound designers, composers, composers for screen, film makers or animators will benefit from what it offers.
Course description In a media context such as film, animation, TV-short, radio play or documentary, what does the soundtrack actually do? How is it used to tell stories, interpret the image, connect with characters, traverse international boundaries, and what is sound and music's role in conjuring simultaneity between aspects of narrative, character, image, voice, place and space? What is sound doing that we find hard to put into words?

This course encourages you to reflect on these concepts - and many others - in order to better understand your own craft in composing and designing soundtracks for visual media. The course will evolve from exploring existing media works towards the development of your own practice, therefore as the semester develops, focus will shift from analysis and exploration towards points relating to craft and skill, often at an advanced level.

For the purposes of this course, the term soundtrack refers to all sounding elements in a work of media and can span dialogue, narration, music, Foley and other sound effects. Learning on this course comes via lectures, workshops and tutorials.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesFamiliarity with sound/music recording, editing and mixing software
Experience of using sound recording hardware and/or skills in writing electronic or acoustic music
Ability to read and understand academic English
Students who are unsure if they have the correct pre-requisite skills should contact the course organiser before enrolling on the course.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  60
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 12, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 161 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Component 1 (30% of course mark): Analysis/Resynthesis - A submission involving an analysis of the role sound and music plays in a short segment of film and the re-composition of that analysis into a new sound-piece. The submission will require a visual analysis, a short explanatory text and a completed sound-piece lasting around 3 minutes.

Component 2 (70% of course mark): Portfolio - Completed soundtrack(s) involving sound design and/or composition developed in response to fixed visual or textual material. The portfolio can contain one significant piece of work or be comprised of several smaller pieces, lasting up to a maximum of 10 minutes in total. The submission will require a short programme note explaining the motivation, approach and techniques used in each portfolio entry.
Feedback Summative feedback on the assessment components will attend to the aesthetic, conceptual and interpretive approach, the level of risk/imagination applied to solving the brief, as well as comment on the appropriateness of the sound quality, instrumentation, mixing etc. to realising the main ideas in the submissions. This will be in either video or written form or a combination of both.
There will be opportunities to show work and to receive formative feedback before it is submitted for examination.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate advanced skill in analysis and explanation of the role of sound and music in visual media contexts
  2. Apply interpretive skills in the creation of new, original works of sound and/or composition
  3. Utilise a deep understanding of the tools and techniques involved in soundtrack design in the production of their own works
  4. Evaluate their own original work through an awareness of the wider context of their practice and professional standards in their area
Reading List
Casanelles, Sergi. 2016. Mixing as a Hyperorchestration Tool. In The Palgrave Handbook of Sound Design and Music in Screen Media, 57-72. Palgrave Macmillan, London.
Chion, Michel. 1994. Audio-Vision: Sound on Screen. New York: Columbia University Press.
Chion, Michel. 2009. Film, a Sound Art. New York: Columbia University Press.
Davison, Annette, and Martin Parker. 2016. Interview 4: Building Bridges: Sound Design as Collaboration, as Style and as Music in The Bridge - An Interview with Carl Edström. In The Palgrave Handbook of Sound Design and Music in Screen Media, edited by Liz Greene and Danijela Kulezic-Wilson, 321-28. Palgrave Macmillan UK.
Mera, Miguel. 2009. Invention/Re-Invention. Music, Sound, and the Moving Image 3 (1): 1-20.
Roux-Girard, Guillaume. 2014. Sound and the Videoludic Experience. The Oxford Handbook of Interactive Audio, May.
Whittington, William Brian. 2007. Sound Design & Science Fiction. University of Texas Press.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills - Ability to analyse and evaluate works of audiovisual media and synthesise new work in response to what has been learned
- Skill in adapting abstract and technical concepts into fully realised creative work
- Ability to interpret complex media forms in order to make good judgements about the role sound and music play in these
- Ability to organise time amidst competing constraints
- Ability to work autonomously solving technical and aesthetic challenges as they relate to sound and composition work
- A well-developed appreciation for the value of deeply engaging with existing canonical work in order to better understand your own craft
- Skill in communicating complicated sound and music-related issues to a non-specialist audience (such as other media collaborators)
Keywordssound design,film sound,film music,music and screen,composition,audio craft
Course organiserMr Roderick Buchanan-Dunlop
Tel: (0131 6)51 4320
Course secretaryMiss Laura Duff
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