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Music, Production and Sound Science

BSc (Hons)

School - School of Computing, Science & Engineering

Subject area - Acoustics, Audio and Video

UCAS Code: H348 (three years), H340 (with Professional Experience)

Start Date(s): September

Duration:

Three years full-time 
Four years full-time with placement year

Fees:

UK - £9,250 per year

International - £14,820 per year

In Brief:

  • Combines creative and technical skills and knowledge
  • Taught by internationally recognised research active academics
  • Strong links with the industry providing you with a number of opportunities
  • Work/industrial placement opportunity
  • International students can apply

Course Summary

This programme has been designed to combine creative and technical skills and knowledge so that you can better understand sound and its application to music and acoustics. The programme has been designed to develop your skills in, and knowledge of the recording process, enhanced by the important scientific and technical aspects that can make the difference between good and great audio quality. 

The breadth of the programme will provide you with the necessary skills to work within a wide range of areas within the fast-changing audio and music production sectors. It draws upon a number of areas Integrating theory and practice to help you understand the relationships between music, sound and the environment wherever it is being produced.

Throughout the programme you will be developed professionally so that the highly transferable skills you gain will enable you contribute to the demands of industry.

Course Structure

Year 1      

This module offers an introduction to a wide range of concepts in acoustics and allows you to begin to gain skills in the practical measurement and analysis of acoustic devices and audio technologies.            
The aim of this module is to conceive and design a novel musical instrument including prototyping parts of the design, and to explore the capabilities of the instrument from both a music and scientific perspective.            
The core aim of this module is to provide you with the skills and knowledge necessary for composing and arranging music in a variety of styles. You will gain a working knowledge of the key aspects of instrumentation voicing, score layout, formal design and the manipulation of texture. This module also        provides        an introduction to location recording techniques, appropriate sequencing software, musical acoustics and their relationship to music technology.            
You will be given the basic mathematical skills and concepts required to appreciate and succeed in understanding acoustics and audio engineering.            
This module will provide you with a strong understanding of advanced diatonic harmony, melodic writing, fundamental musical forms, and practical skills concerned with rhythm as applied to the broad field of composition. You will explore the creative uses of a range of microphones in relation to musical        instruments        and acoustic environments, and be introduced to techniques of sound synthesis using a range of hardware and software based synthesisers.            
Building on the subject knowledge from the Mathematics module, you will further your knowledge of differential equations and series with emphasis on their applications to physics and develop your awareness of the importance of mathematics in a quantitative description of physics. You will be introduced        to the use of spreadsheets, computing programming and symbolic computing.            

Year 2    

You will explore the ways in which the needs and demands of technology and performing artists can best be reconciled. This module will enhance your working knowledge of sound mixing consoles, audio recorders, signal processing equipment, Digital Audio Workstations and software audio applications. You        will        develop        strategies for analysing existing recordings in order to appreciate and utilise the technology involved in the recording process.                  
This module gives a thorough grounding in the techniques and applications of digital technology in the acquisition, processing, storage and transmission of acoustic signals.            
This module will teach you the fundamental acoustic principles that are required as a foundation for the remainder of the course such as Fourier’s theorem, 3D wave equation, the finite string and radiation impedance.            
This module teaches you to explore how arrays of loudspeakers and microphones are used for creative purposes drawing on scientific understanding of transduction mechanisms and modeling techniques.            
The purpose of this module is to introduce you to the creative use of sound and music within a range of media. You will explore techniques for recording stereo drama in a recording studio; sound and image synchronisation techniques; and how to apply and develop audio digital editing techniques.                
You will be introduced to the creative use of sound and a range of hardware and software interfaces. This module instils a flexible and considered approach to musical interface by covering various sonic installation possibilities and a range of studio composition techniques including synthesis, sampling,        interactive        and        generative.                  
Building upon your learning from Studio Recording and Production in Semester 1, this module aims to provide you with confident, genre-appropriate mixing, mastering and signal processing skills. You will develop a range of detailed recording strategies in relation to acoustic considerations.o            
Continuing on from Audio for Media this module develops recording and postproduction mixing techniques for advanced spatialisation of recorded artefacts, advanced recording techniques for on location, in the field, dialogue, voice over and ADR.            
Continuing on from Studio Composition, this module begins to explore the integration of live sound, live instrument recording, and signal processing within studio composition.            

Year 3 - Pathway A    

You will use all of the knowledge and skills developed on the course to complete your final project 
Plus one optional module from:    
You will perform modelling and analysis in the z-transformed domain and understand modern DSP techniques such as blind signal processing. You will apply the process of digital filtering; fixed, adaptive, recursive and non-recursive partly drawing on the latest research outcomes. You will also apply          and      understand Machine Learning methods for acoustics.            
You will be introduced to speech production and modelling, speech analysis and synthesis with particular reference to the application of speech technology in modern communication devices. You will develop a systematic understanding of human perception of sound and its application in a musical context.            
You will develop an understanding of the relevant scientific principles underlying acoustic measurement techniques, and effectively undertake standardised acoustic measurements, taking full account of uncertainty introduced throughout the process. You will perform appropriate analysis of measured data,          and      communicate findings effectively to a specialist audience.            

Year 3 - Pathway B    

You will use all of the knowledge and skills developed on the course to complete your final project          

Plus one optional module from:

You will work with wave and statistical theories of room acoustics to analyse existing rooms or design new ones, as well as critically evaluate key theories and experimental results in the literature. You will examine how sound fields in rooms can be characterised and to what extent this explains perceptions          of      sound in rooms. This will enable you to apply techniques to control sound fields in rooms by absorption and scattering, with an appreciation of their limitations.            
You will develop the knowledge for design and implementation of spatial audio systems in virtual and augmented realities including a systematic understanding of the complexities and shortcomings of human spatial hearing and how this knowledge is used in the design and operation of spatial audio systems.            
You will develop understanding of how the ear works to turn acoustic stimuli into sensations including low and high-level perceptual attributes. You will be able to explain key evidence, ideas and techniques found in the research literature and use knowledge of psychoacoustic research to critically.

Please note, exact modules may vary in order to keep content current. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the modules you will study on or before the start of the programme.

Entry Requirements

Qualification Entry requirements
Music Theory Requirement Grade 5 in ABRSM Music Theory if no Music A Level
GCSE
You must fulfil our GCSE entry requirements as well as one of the requirements listed below.
Grade C or above in Maths and English Language
UCAS tariff points 120 points
GCE A level 120 (C in Mathematics or numerate science B in Music or Music Technology)
BTEC National Diploma DDM in second year modules in a computer-related subject
Scottish Highers 120 (C at Advanced Highers A at Higher, Maths or Physics or Chemistry Advanced Higher)
Irish Leaving Certificate 120 (Higher Level Physics and Maths)
International Baccalaureate 35 points grade 5 in Physics or Maths or Chemistry at Higher Level.

Salford Alternative Entry Scheme (SAES)

We welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to pursue the course successfully. Once we have received your application we will assess it and recommend it for SAES if you are an eligible candidate.

There are two different routes through the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme and applicants will be directed to the one appropriate for their course. Assessment will either be through a review of prior learning or through a formal test.

English Language Requirements

International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.0 (no element below 5.5) is proof of this.

Applicant profile

The course is designed for students who have both creative and technical ability and wish to pursue a career in audio, music production, acoustics or in the digital sector. You will have an interest in combining musical knowledge and audio technology.

We positively welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to successfully pursue a programme of study in higher education. Students who do not have formal entry qualifications are required to sit a written assessment which is designed for this purpose. Support in preparing for the written assessment is available from the University. Please contact Jos Hirst the Director of Admissions for further information.

Fees and Funding

Fees

Fees 2019-20

Type of Study Fee
Full-time £9,250 per year
Full-time International £14,820 per year

Fees 2018-19

Type of Study Fee
Full-time £9,250 per year
Part-time Your annual fee will be calculated pro rata to the full-time fee according to the number of credits you are studying.
Full-time International £14,400 per year

Additional costs

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

Teaching

  • Lectures which are enhanced with audio/visual material
  • Seminars
  • Masterclasses - visiting speakers and performers from relevant areas of the music/audio industry
  • Lab exercises
  • Individual and ensemble instrumental tuition to develop your performance technique and musical vocabulary
  • Workshops

This course is delivered using a mixture of lectures, tutorials, workshops, seminars and practical-based work. Each module is delivered and assessed in the most appropriate way.  In the final year you carry out a major project. For example, Acoustics Laboratory is a practical based module with no examinations. In contrast, the Introduction to Acoustics module is more theoretical and is delivered in a more standard lecture/tutorial format with a written end examination. Individual instrumental tuition is used to develop your performance technique and musical vocabulary.

Workshops are used to explore concepts and develop research techniques within a workshop environment, mixing class-based discussion and activities with library and archive work, providing you with the opportunity to develop creative ideas and to interact with leading scholars in the field. Virtual Learning Environment(VLE) – 'Blackboard', supports every module within the course.

Assessment

  • Examinations
  • Coursework
  • Assignments

Employability

Career Prospects

Graduates from this degree course are well placed to become major players in the diverse world of sound, music production, acoustics and audio.

Our graduates from related courses have forged careers as recording artists, studio and live producers/engineers, broadcast engineers, acoustics and audio researchers, and acoustics consultants. 

If you wish to continue your studies at a postgraduate level you will find yourself well equipped to cope with the academic and technical demands of a higher degree.

Links with Industry

The acoustics group at Salford works with many leading companies in audio, acoustics, broadcast and related industries including BBC, Apple, Dolby, and Bang and Olufson as well as many professional institutions such the BBC Philharmonic, Halle Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra of Scotland and the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain.

Further Study

MSc Audio Production

MSc Audio Acoustics

Facilities

Acoustic laboratories

The University established an Acoustics Department in 1975 and it has been a leading national centre ever since. Consequently the acoustics laboratories on the main campus are world class and were rebuilt at a cost of £2.5M and include a listening room, reverberation suite and three anechoic chambers. The University acts as a test house for the acoustic and audio industry especially the construction industry, linking us to current practice, and helping to keep courses up to date. Students have access to the laboratories, as well as state of the art measurement equipment, software and audio systems including binaural, ambisonic  and  wave-field synthesis. Music production facilities include recording studios featuring industry standard software and hardware.

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