Mixing desk

Composing and producing music on computers

How to enrol

Course details

Available to 2nd Years
Mondays 16.00-18.00 
20 weeks (autumn and spring terms)

Available to 3rd & 4th Years
Thursdays 16.00-18.00 
20 weeks (autumn and spring terms)


The Music Technology course 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 course combines skills acquisition with a high level of scholarship.

Information blocks

Learning objectives

On successful completion of the course you will have: Students composing electronic music

  • demonstrated competence in a wide range of music technology core skills
  • understood the cultural context in which these technologies were applied in the past, and are applied today
  • understood compositional processes and applied them to create original music compositions
  • engaged in creative arts practice, met deadlines, efficiently solved problems offered by technology and exercised creative judgment
  • demonstrated the ability to work both independently and as part of a group, shown critical self-awareness and presented creative ideas to peers

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

  • ECTS value: 6
  • 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]
"I love this course. It is fun, makes me creative, and just makes me feel good. A definite win for Imperial."
"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."
"The module is great, one of my favourites ever…. I've learnt loads about not just music tech, but the history and development of recording software in general."