SHE Level 3
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M3H623531
Module Leader David Moore
School School of Computing, Engineering and Built Environment
Subject Audio Engineering
  • A (September start)

Summary of Content

This module is designed to provide students with knowledge of the underlying principles of sound synthesis and digital audio effects algorithms widely used in industry. Students will study the architecture and operation of a range of algorithms, and will apply knowledge gained in the module to develop their own software patches for sound generation and modification in a visual programming environment.


Development of music based applications using visual programming languages. Sound fundamentals. Harmonic series. Time and frequency representations of sound. Synthesiser components: digital oscillators, envelopes, LFOs, Additive and subtractive synthesis. Modulation synthesis: Ring Modulation, Amplitude Modulation and Frequency Modulation. Wavetable / sampling synthesis and granular synthesis Physical modeling: plucked string simulation, excitation and resonance, formant synthesis Use of delay lines. Time-varying delay-based effects Reverberation, comb filters, all-pass filters, vocoders. Indicative Coursework -360b7 VLE-hosted class test, focussing on theoretical aspects of the module syllabus approximately half way through the trimester. - 30% b7 Practical programming assessment involving the development of a software patch for sound generation and/or manipulation - 70%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module the student should be able to: Demonstrate an understanding of the fundamentals of sound synthesis and audio processing and describe the technical operation of a wide range of algorithms. Demonstrate a strong conceptual understanding of visual programming for manipulation of audio, MIDI and control data. Engage in research and audio programming in the development of a solution to a given assignment specification. Critically evaluate and reflect on developed software, and present clear explanations of the processes implemented within the software through textual, graphical and verbal methods.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The University 'Strategy for Learning' documentation has informed the learning and teaching strategy for this module. In lectures students will be presented with the technical aspects of a variety of sound synthesis and digital audio effects algorithms. Tutorials will be used as a means to reinforce / clarify material presented in lectures, and for discussion of relevant technical articles. Practical sessions will enable students to develop a range of software patches, both individually and collaboratively, for sound generation and manipulation. Text and video exercises combined with follow up VLE-hosted quizzes will provide opportunities for personalised learning. Automated feedback provided at the end of quizzes will promote deeper learning of the subject matter. Additional interactive features of the University VLE will also be used to engage students and stimulate independent and flexible learning outwith scheduled class time. For example, students will be provided with an online space for sharing and discussing software created in labs. The practical assessment will be open-ended and designed to encourage divergent thinking. An additional element will also be incorporated into the practical assessment to encourage students to further enhance their work by exploring sub-topics not covered in the module. As students undertake the assessment, individual blogs will allow students to reflect on their work, whilst at the same time receive personalised feedback to encourage deeper learning of the subject matter.

Indicative Reading

Books Puckette, M., (2007) The Theory and Technique of Electronic Music, World Scientific Publishing Company, ISBN: 978-9812700773 Cipriani, A., (2013) Electronic Music and Sound Design. Volume 1, Theory and Practice with Max/MSP, ConTempoNet, ISBN: 9788890548406 (2nd edition) Roads, C., (1996) The Computer Music Tutorial, MIT Press, ISBN:0262680823 Russ, M., (2009) Sound Synthesis and Sampling, Focal Press, ISBN: 9780240521053 Collin, N., (2007) The Cambridge Companion to Electronic Music, Cambridge University Press, ISBN: 9780521688659 Journals Computer Music Journal: MITPress

Transferrable Skills

Specialist knowledge and application, Critical thinking and problem solving, Critical analysis, Communication skills, written, oral and listening, Numeracy, Effective Information retrieval and research skills, Computer literacy, Self confidence, self discipline & self reliance (independent working), Awareness of strengths and weaknesses, Creativity, innovation & independent thinking, Ability to prioritise tasks and time management (organising and planning work)

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Practicals (FT) 24.00
Tutorials (FT) 12.00
Assessment (FT) 18.00
Independent Learning (FT) 134.00
Lectures (FT) 12.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 1 n/a 100.00 40% Practical