SOUND DESIGN - 2020/1

Module code: CMT1004

Module Overview

This module introduces the theoretical, aesthetic and practical issues of sound design. Subject areas include common digital signal processing theory and terminology, the use of creative sampling in composition and the exploration of various forms of synthesis.  Technical sessions will be devoted to enhancing knowledge of key sound design 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

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

None

Module content

Indicative content includes:

•     Theoretical, technical and creative aspects of sound design and digital audio

•     Historical and contemporary creative practitioner case studies from the perspective of creative and applied sound design 

•     Technical approaches to sound design involving synthesis and sampling using dedicated software

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Sound Design Project 1 40
Coursework Sound Design Project 2 60

Alternative Assessment

None

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate technical and practice-based musical skills related to sound design in the context of relevant historical and contemporary repertoire. 
The summative assessment for this module consists of:

Coursework    sound design project 1
Coursework    sound design project 2


Formative assessment and feedback 

Students work on regular compositional, technical and written tasks, elements of which may form part of their summative assessment. These may be presented in class as works in progress and will receive formative feedback as appropriate. Tutorials (individual and group) will be offered both for general guidance and for coursework assessments.

Module aims

  • Develop practical sampling and synthesis skills for sound design using dedicated software
  • Learn the technical fundamentals of digital audio for use in the production of sound design
  • Develop skills in critiquing sound design and apply these skills in creating new sonic work
  • Gain experience in planning and executing a sound design project with appropriate documentation

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Demonstrate understanding of key terms used in sound design KC
002 Demonstrate understanding of critical approaches to sound design through practical and written work KPT
003 Effectively apply knowledge of digital audio, synthesis and sampling principles to the creation of sound design KCP
004 Demonstrate appropriate command of relevant computer software tools for sound design KP
005 Plan, document and deliver a complete sound design for a short project with documentation PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 128

Lecture Hours: 12

Seminar Hours: 10

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 and seminars

  • Guided reading 

  • Supporting multimedia materials on SurreyLearn

  • Tutorials as required


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

Reading list for SOUND DESIGN : http://aspire.surrey.ac.uk/modules/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 2020/1 academic year.