Module code: TON1021

Module Overview

This module is intended to introduce you to acoustics, psychoacoustics and computer systems using a combination of theory and application.

Module provider

Music and Media

Module Leader

MASON RD Dr (Music & Med)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 4

JACs code: J930

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

• None for Tonmeister students.

Module content

The following is an indication of the likely topics to be covered:


• Acoustic fundamentals and the decibel.

• Musical acoustics and the human voice.

• Room acoustics and acoustic treatment.

• Number systems (decimal, binary, hexadecimal and two’s complement).

• Microprocessor-based computer systems.

• Computer-based audio and MIDI systems.

• The MIDI protocol, hardware and software.

• Basic software engineering and the MaxMSP programming environment.


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Examination EXAMINATION (2 HOURS) 70

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide you with the opportunity to demonstrate and develop subject knowledge (exam) and programming skills (coursework).

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

•      Coursework – two programming tasks for MaxMSP (addresses learning outcomes 9– 10); and

•      2hr exam – written paper under exam conditions (addresses learning outcomes 1–8).

Formative  assessment

There are no formal formative assessment components for this module, but formative feedback will be given to you in tutorials as required, during the in-class exercises, and in the form of regular revision questions in lectures.


Written feedback will be given on your coursework.

Module aims

  • To introduce you to theoretical and practical aspects of acoustics and psychoacoustics.
  • To provide a theoretical understanding and a practical working knowledge of computer systems, and their use in the control and processing of audio and MIDI data.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Explain the transmission of sound though a medium and around obstacles. KC
002 Perform calculations relating to sound pressure, power and intensity levels. KC
003 Discuss the acoustical factors relating to the perception of timbre. KC
004 Explain the mechanisms of sound production in a range of musical instruments and in the human voice. KC
005 Explain the behaviour of sound in enclosed spaces, with reference to free, near and diffuse sound fields; standing waves; sound absorption, reflection and transmission; and reverberation. KC
006 Recommend appropriate treatment to modify the acoustics of a given enclosed space. KCP
007 Explain why the decimal, binary, hexadecimal and two's complement formats are commonly used in audio engineering, perform simple arithmetic operations in each format and convert numbers between the different formats. KC
008 Explain the operating principles of a microprocessor-based computer system. KC
009 Explain the hardware and software principles of MIDI control. KC
010 Write computer code to perform simple MIDI processing tasks. KCT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 102

Lecture Hours: 48

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to: develop your skills and knowledge in

acoustics and computer audio systems, allowing modules in later semesters to build on this



The learning and teaching methods include:


• Two two-hour lectures per week

• In-class exercises

• Practical classroom demonstrations

• Guided reading

• Coursework assignments and feedback

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list


Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2018/9 academic year.