Module code: CMT1004

Module Overview

This module will give you an introduction to the theoretical, aesthetic and practical issues in sound design for visual media. Subject areas will be selected from film, TV, documentaries, radio plays and abstract video. You will investigate how music functions in visual media and how it relates to sound design.  Technical sessions will be devoted to enhancing your knowledge of key software. 

Module provider

Music and Media

Module Leader

THOMPSON Bill (Music & Med)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 4

JACs code: J931

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 106

Lecture Hours: 44

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

•     The functions of film music

•     Theoretical placement of sound design, psychoacoustics and dialogue

•     Case studies from different film genres

•     Technical skills creating sound designs, including synthesis and sampling

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to support both the technical and creative aspects of sound design.  The first summative assessment will rely on more of the technical skills developed early in the module (synthesis and/or sampling), while the second will use those technical skills in a creative project.

Thus, the first summative assessment (week 7) for this module consists of (LO 1-5):

  • A focus on sampling and/or synthesis to create all sonic content (no pre-existing samples or synthesis pre-sets allowed)

  • Creating a composite sound design for visual media using this material

  • Supporting documentation justifying the creative decisions made

The second summative assessment (week 13) follows a similar format but also allows the use of pre-existing samples and sound sets and is applied towards a more narrative based project (audio book, animation etc.) (LO 1T5)

Formative assessment and feedback 

Students will be given a range of formative assessments, testing both the technical understanding and their theoretical skills.  These will use multiple choice question sets in class or on SurreyLearn. Tutorials (individual and group) will be offered both for general guidance and for assessments.  Online discussion forums will provide all students with opportunities to discuss and resolve technical and creative issues.

Module aims

  • Develop an understanding of the joint roles of music and sound effects in visual media
  • Develop skills in analysing sound layers and creating new sounds from the outset
  • Give you experience in planning a complete sound design for a previously unseen project
  • Build professional practice in documenting and delivering a completed sound design

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Understand the key terms used in sound design KP
2 Analyse existing sound designs and split them by layers KP
3 Plan, document and deliver a complete sound design for a short project KCP
4 Deliver a professional grade project complete with documentation PT
5 Demonstrate strong technical skills in appropriate software tools PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to develop both the technical and creative.

Class sessions are devoted to each. In addition, substantial online support material will extend the lecture content and support non–linear, multi–modal learning methods.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Lectures

  • In class workshops

  • Guided reading and filmic study

  • Online tests, assessing your knowledge of the key principles

  • Supporting texts, audio files and videos on SurreyLearn

  • Tutorials on professional standards 

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
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: CMT1004

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Creative Music Technology BMus (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

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 2019/0 academic year.