Mixing desk

Composing and producing music on computers

Module details

  • Offered to 3rd & 4th Years
  • Thursdays 16.00-18.00
  • South Kensington Campus 
  • 2 term module worth 7.5 ECTS
  • Extra Credit or Degree Credit where your department allows
Degree credit module options by departmentHow to enrol

The Music Technology module offers you the opportunity to compose and create electronic music using state-of-the-art equipment. The practical aspects of the course are embedded in a theoretical and analytical framework which encourages critical evaluation of contemporary music and its associated technology and an appreciation of the contributions made by the pioneering users of this technology. The module combines skills acquisition with a high level of scholarship.

Information blocks

Learning outcomes


Students composing electronic music

  • Demonstrate understanding of a wide range of music technology and compositional core skills through the creation of original music compositions as part of a portfolio.
  • Understand the cultural context in which these technologies were applied in the past, and are applied today, through student-driven class discussions and assessed group class presentations.
  • Acquire the ability to critically and reflexively analyse musical repertoire, orally and in writing, through class presentations and a reflective written analysis.
  • Present creative ideas and judgement to peers and facilitator through the successful completion of portfolio assessment, group presentation and class participation.
  • Demonstrate the ability to work both independently and as part of a group, evidenced by individual and group assessments.

Indicative core content

Music Technology students in the lab

  • The theory and practice of MIDI sequencing and hard disk recording, mixing and mastering.
  • The theory and practice of sound synthesis: creating sounds from scratch.
  • The theory and practice of sampling: sample manipulation, using found sound, creating sampled instruments.
  • Digital audio, human hearing and the basics of psychoacoustics.
  • Software sequencer Cubase Pro as a versatile digital audio workstation.
  • Specific production techniques such as compression, equalization and effects such as reverb, delays, etc.
  • Up-to-date operational techniques for digital music production: side-chain compression, bit reduction, saturation, resampling.
  • Microphones and their use to record from a piano to a symphony orchestra.
  • The cultural contexts in which music technologies have been applied since c.1948, in a range of idioms, both high art and popular.
  • Noise, silence, Musique Concrete and the pioneers of electronic music.
  • The studio as a musical instrument.
  • Interrogating assumptions about modes of musical production, genres, styles and audience expectation, in order to focus compositional intentions.
  • Developing aural sensitivity and compositional assurance by the practice of active, analytical listening.
  • Exploring approaches to arrangement and compositional structure.


  • Assessment of one composition approximately 3–5 minutes in duration (10%)
  • Group presentation (20%)
  • Portfolio of two compositions (3–5 min. duration each) with 300 words of commentary each (60%)
  • Participation based on constructive class contribution, good team work, good preparation, respectful use of equipment and facilities (10%)

Key information

  • Requirements: You are expected to attend all classes and undertake approximately 2-3 hours of private study or reading each week in addition to the assessment
  • This module is designed as an undergraduate Level 5 course. See Imperial Horizons level descriptors [pdf]
"Definitely the best module I have ever taken at Imperial. Challenging but very rewarding."
"I love this module, it's such a breath of fresh air from the regular STEM stuff. Very pleased imperial offer this as an option so thank you!"
"It's nice to learn about the progression of music technology and listening to experimental music is always an interesting experience."
"I really enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere of the classes. There was tremendous enthusiasm from each lecturer and the classes were very engaging."
"My favourite module I have ever taken by far. Balance of theory and application has made it so enjoyable and has opened me up to things I never knew existed. Happy to work for the assessments and the challenge is so rewarding."