module specification

MD5009 - Composition and Live Electronics (2018/19)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2018/19
Module title Composition and Live Electronics
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Computing and Digital Media
Total study hours 300
210 hours Guided independent study
90 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   Individual work - report of 2500 words.
Coursework 50%   Live electronics project - report of 2500 words.
Running in 2018/19
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year City Thursday Morning

Module summary

Module brief:
This module gives continuity to the work in Composing with Technology from Certificate level. On the first half, the analysis of reference works introduces a new music domain to be explored, and we expand our work into 20th century harmony, orchestration, and more contemporary popular repertories, establishing the link to a higher-level approach in music composition and production. The second part of the module is planned on the application of new concepts and materials onto practical projects in Live Electronics. Students will explore a variety of historical and contemporary approaches to the genre, investigating the techniques and aesthetics of computer generated live electronics.
This Module consists of the following subjects:
● Critical listening & Analysis
● Music composition
● Harmony & Orchestration
● Approaches to Composing Improvisations
● Studio recorded/produced music
● Seminar discussions
● Live electronics
● Performance and Improvisation
● OpenSoundControl
● Analogue Electronics and Circuit Bending
● Electronics and Sensors

At the end of this module the student will have completed two substantial pieces of work: a music composition and a live electronics project. In doing so, they will have travelled a journey through higher-level music composition and production processes, both individually and in collective practice.
This module is generally taught over 30 weeks with formative assessment on Week 4 and two summative assessments on Weeks 14 and 29, followed by peer presentations and feedback sessions on Weeks 15 and 30. This is a core module for the Music Production pathway of BSc Music Technology and Production.
Aims of the module:
The module aims to extend students’ skills in working independently while at the same time developing their skills in working with others in groups. It will provide students with the experience of a live project aiming to integrate their understanding of their developing practice with wider issues and contexts. The module expands on addressing creative, technical and critical learning and skills in the field of music composition with access to a variety of contemporary technologies. It fosters their understanding of practice through learning from and with other students; learning to manage and plan their time effectively; and exploring the domain of acoustic and digital sounds.

Prior learning requirements

MD4007 Composing with Technology (Level 4)


The syllabus is organised to meet the needs of the Music Production pathway cohorts. It consolidates the practice in the creation and production of music aiming to equip students with a specialised set of skills that will allow for a faster response to the diverse demands music industry will ask of them on the professional environment.
Key subject areas:
● Critical listening & musical analysis; Seminar discussions  LO4

● Music composition; Harmony & Orchestration; Composing Improvisations LO1, 3, 5

● Studio recorded / produced music  LO3, 5

● Live electronics; Production; Performance and Improvisation  LO2, 3, 5

● Analogue Electronics and Circuit Bending; Electronics and Sensors  LO2, 3

● Open Sound Control  LO2

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The balance between independent study and scheduled teaching activities within this module is 70% and 28% respectively (+2% assessment preparation/delivery).
Scheduled teaching follows the average contact time, per standard 30-credit module across the University, at 84 hours (3 hours per week). We excluded from this total the two weeks following delivery of the two summative assessments on weeks 14 and 29, which are dedicated to Presentations & Feedback sessions. The scheduled teaching is divided in Lectures, Workshops, and Seminars and they take place in the Music Studios.
Independent study provides students with the opportunity to develop LO5 – The ability to manage and plan their time productively. For example, by making and reviewing a schedule. Students have access to the entire Music Studios facilities via online booking system, and Library facilities at London Met. Blended Learning is maintained via Weblearn Course and Module pages with full documentation of the activities developed in class. Opportunities for reflective learning/PDP are promoted through feedback and written reports, embedded in all assessments with emphasis on reflection of their work. Formative assessment and feedback is planned to address their learning development needs and to capture their learning achievements with a regular request of reflective commentaries in all written submissions.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to demonstrate:
• LO1 – Skills and understanding of advanced practice in music composition.
• LO2 – Skills and understanding of the history, aesthetics, and techniques of live electronics.
• LO3 – The skills of integrate musical creativity and expression in composition, performance, and improvisation with live electronics.
• LO4 – The ability to work with, and learn from other students developing critical learning. For example, by discussing their work in group seminars, by asking for and using constructive criticism.
• LO5 – The ability to manage and plan their time productively. For example, by making and reviewing a schedule.

Assessment strategy

Assessment 1 (Week 14 submission). Students will work individually to produce a major composition of about 3-5 minutes in length. It should also include a report of 2500 words.

Assessment 2 (week 29 submission). Option of working either individually or in pairs for the production of a live electronics project. It should also include an individual report of 2500 words.

Both practical outcomes are presented in class (15-min group and 10-min individual presentation, according to the assessment format) on the weeks following submission.

Resit strategy for group work:
Based on the University Assessment Framework:
If the group component is failed and all members fail the written assessment then the group should revise the entire work done during the first sit and resubmit the work as resit.
If some individual members of the group fail then only those students will individually resit the written component.
If the group component is failed with an overall aggregate pass at the module level, then students who failed both the components will individually resubmit the revised work, particularly with improvements to the practical component.



Core Text:

Adler, S. (2002), The Study of Orchestration, volumes 1-6, W.W. Norton
Aldwell E., Schachter, C. Cadwallader, A. (2011) Harmony and voice leading, Boston, MA: Schirmer/Cengage Learning. [5th edition: 2017]
Cascone, K. "Grain, Sequence, System [Three Levels of Reception in the Performance of Laptop Music]." Intelligent Agent 4, no. 1 (2004).
Cope, D. (et al) (2001) Virtual Music : computer synthesis of musical style, Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press
Dodge, C., Jerse, T.A. (1997) Computer music : synthesis, composition, and performance, New York : Schirmer Books ; London : Collier Macmillan
Ghazala, Q. R. "The Folk Music of Chance Electronics: Circuit-Bending the Modern Coconut." Leonardo Music Journal 14, no. 1 (2004): 97-104. [e-journal]
Hugill, A. (2012) The digital musician, 2nd Ed., New York ; London : Routledge [3rd edition hardcopy due November 2018]
Smallwood, S., et al. "Composing for Laptop Orchestra." Computer Music Journal 32, no. 1 (2008): 9-25. [e-journal]

Recommended Reading:

Blatter, A. (1997) Instrumentation and orchestration, 2nd Ed., Belmont, CA: Schirmer
Dogantan, M. (2008) Recorded music : philosophical and critical reflections / edited by Mine Dogantan-Dack, London : Middlesex University Press
Fiebrink et al (2010) Toward Understanding Human-Computer Iinteraction in Composing the Instrument, Proceedings of the ICMC 2010. Available online:
Izhaki, R. (2012) Mixing Audio: Concepts, Practices and Tools [electronic resource], Oxford; Focal. [3rd edition 2017: e-book]
Kuivila, R. (2004) Open Sources: Words, Circuits and the Notation-Realization in the Music of David Tudor, Leonardo Music Journal 14: 17-23. [e-journal]


Computer Music Journal. Menlo Park, California : MIT Press, c1997-
Contemporary Music Review [electronic resource], Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, London 
Journal of New Music Research. Lisse, the Netherlands : Swets & Zeitlinger, c1994-
Leonardo Music Journal : LMJ : journal of the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology. Oxford ; New York : Pergamon Press, c1991-
Organised Sound : an international journal of music technology, Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1996-


International Computer Music Association, Resources, Array, Online access: 
IRCAM: Research Teams, Online access:
EARS: ElectroAcoustic Resource Site, Online access:
International Computer Music Association, Online access:
The History of Electronic Music, Online access:

Electronic Databases:

Dell’Antonio, A (ed.) Beyond Structural Listening? Postmodern Modes of Hearing (Berkeley, University of California Press, 2004). E-book - Full text from JSTOR DDA
Frith, S, ed. (2001) The Cambridge Companion to Pop and Rock, (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge) E-book - Full text from Cambridge Companions Online
Szendy, P (trans. Mandell, C) Listen: A History of Our Ears (New York, Fordham University Press, 2008). E-book - Full text from JSTOR DDA 
Wright, M. (2005) Open Sound Control: an enabling technology for musical networking. networking, Organised Sound 10, no. 3 : 193-200.