Module WXK-1010:
Sonic Art

Module Facts

Run by School of Music and Media

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1 & 2

Organiser: Prof Andrew Lewis

Overall aims and purpose

The aim of this module is to equip students with the fundamental knowledge and understanding of composition of sonic art forms that make creative use of technology. Students will explore a range of compositional methods, aesthetic approaches and technological applications. They will undertake a series of projects making use of creative hardware and software applications, developing the skills and understanding required to required to work in innovative and creative ways appropriate to our technological age.

The module will provide the foundation required to progress to second year modules that further explore sonic creativity and experimentation with sonic art forms.

Course content

This module is designed to provide students with an appreciation of sonic art forms through a series of lectures and practical seminar sessions. Students will explore and discuss various technological applications used to transform and manipulate sound to compose works of sonic art, suitable for both fixed and live (performance) media. A portfolio of coursework will lead to a mini concert at the end of each semester in which students will be offered the opportunity to demonstrate their work.

Assessment Criteria


Work which displays a sound grasp of the subject, adequate control of music-analytical and critical tools and conceptual engagement, researched using a good range of sources, and expressed intelligibly and interestingly.


Work which demonstrates a thorough grasp of the subject and mastery of music-analytical and critical tools, with evidence of further study, outstanding intellectual engagement and originality of approach and/or insight, researched using a very wide range of appropriate sources, and expressed convincingly and compellingly.


Work which displays basic knowledge of the subject, with limited ability at conceptual thought and musical analysis, a limited awareness of issues, and researched using a limited range of sources. Nevertheless the work has some evidence of a generally intellectual approach, with fair expression.

Learning outcomes

  1. Developed technical and artistic skills in the manipulation of sound for the purpose of composition and/or performance.

  2. Developed a measure of independence whilst working in the music studio environment.

  3. Developed an understanding and appreciation of sonic art forms.

  4. Acquired a theoretical understanding of basic technological applications to aid composition.

  5. Become proficient in utilising technology as a component of compositional creativity.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
COURSEWORK Coursework 1

Acousmatic Study

COURSEWORK Coursework 2

Recording and Editing Project

COURSEWORK Coursework 3

MaxMSP Programming

COURSEWORK Coursework 4

Open Project


Teaching and Learning Strategy


22 lectures/workshops of up to 2 hours, one per week across 2 semesters (11 per semester).

Private study 156

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Safety-Consciousness - Having an awareness of your immediate environment, and confidence in adhering to health and safety regulations
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • Musicianship skills – recognition, classification, contextualisation, reconstruction, exploration
  • Creative skills – conception, elaboration, adaptation, presentation, collaboration, preservation
  • Intellectual skills specific to Music – contextual knowledge, cultural awareness, critical understanding, repertoire knowledge, curiosity, analytical demonstration
  • Technological skills – digital capture, digital expression, digital innovation
  • Intellectual skills shared with other disciplines – research and exploration, reasoning and logic, understanding, critical judgement, assimilation and application
  • Skills of personal management – self-motivation, self-critical awareness, independence, entrepreneurship and employment skills, time management and reliability, organisation, etc.
  • Enhanced powers of imagination and creativity (4.17)


Pre- and Co-requisite Modules

Courses including this module

Optional in courses: