Mixing desk

Exploring creative connections between sound and science

Module details

Offered to 1st years
Tuesdays 16.00-18.00
8 weeks (autumn or spring term)
Non-credit only

How to enrol

This module covers sound and music with a focus on its contexts in biology, physics, maths, engineering and technology. This interdisciplinary module shows how music and science are connected on a fundamental level. The Sound Technology module also offers you the opportunity to create electronic music using state-of-the-art equipment.

The practical aspects of the module are embedded in a theoretical and analytical framework which encourages the critical evaluation of contemporary music. Sound technology bridges artistic practice and cutting-edge technology, providing a platform where students can discover, develop and explore scholarship in the field as well as being creative, both individually and as part of a group.

Information blocks

Learning outcomes

Students in Music Technology Lab

  • Awareness of how recording technology is used to capture and manipulate sounds
  • Understanding of introductory concepts in sound theory, psychoacoustics and room acoustics
  • Present individual and group work to peers and respond to constructive feedback from facilitator and other learners
  • Apply basic compositional processes through the creation of an original composition or field recording as part of the assessed portfolio
  • Apply key concepts, research, and feedback to write an analytical sound technology essay


Indicative core content

  • Sound, psychoacoustics and the brain: the physics and psychology of how we perceive music
  • Capturing sounds: introduction to transducer design and various microphone techniques devised to capture sound
  • Acoustics and studio design: the basics of acoustics and how to apply those concepts to optimize spaces for music production and music performance
  • Introduction to MIDI sequencing: recording, editing and arranging using midi in Cubase
  • Introduction to digital audio, sampling and effects: recording, importing and editing digital audio in Cubase and the use of effects
  • Music composition in the digital age: use critical listening to have a basic understanding of both high art and popular music composition
  • Music and medicine, basic overview of how sound and music are linked to current medical practice
  • Group presentations by students exploring the intention, context, structure, production techniques and effectiveness of a piece of contemporary music


  • Original composition or field recording accompanied by supporting written work. (audio approx. 5 min. and written work approx. 700 words) (70%).
  • Group class presentation: Basic analysis of a commercially released composition (30%).

Key information

  • ECTS value: 0
  • Requirements: You must be prepared to attend all classes and to spend about an hour a week preparing for each session
  • This module is designed as an undergraduate Level 4 module. See Imperial Horizons level descriptors [pdf]
"The sessions are stimulating and engaging."
"Really enjoyed the module, particularly the work on acoustics and the session with the music therapist. It was a good introduction to music tech."
"I enjoyed the interactive mini-lectures, particularly the ones which focused on the way we hear, and the physics of sound waves"
"Loved the course so much. Will definitely go back to music tech."