Module code: CMT1004

Module Overview

This module introduces the theoretical, aesthetic and practical issues of sound design within a variety of electronic music contexts. Subject areas include the use of creative sampling in composition and the exploration of various forms of synthesis techniques. Seminars are divided between seminars devoted to sound design software and theoretical and historical aspects of synthesis.

Module provider

Music and Media

Module Leader

THOMPSON Bill (Music & Med)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 4

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 95

Seminar Hours: 22

Guided Learning: 22

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

CMT1006 Composing Electronic Music A

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
Project (Group/Individual/Dissertation) Portfolio and Reflective Commentary 100

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate ability in creative sampling and synthesis techniques. 

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

Project: Portfolio and Reflective Commentary (addresses LO 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

The portfolio format is the most appropriate assessment type for this module, as it is designed to include the necessary parts in order to demonstrate the ability to create and use sampling and synthesis technology learning at this level. 

Formative assessment

Students work on regular technical sampling tasks, which inform their summative assessment. Individual tutorials are offered both for general guidance and for coursework assessments. Discussion on a weekly basis around technical tasks aim to inform students’ creative practice.


Regular technical tasks are shared in class and will receive formative feedback in the form of individual tutorials, email, and online discussion forums as appropriate. Student work is also regularly shared in class as a form of peer learning.

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

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to extend learning around sampling and synthesis practice and develop strategies for their implementation.

The learning and teaching methods include interactive seminars which involve the creation and implementation of bespoke synthesis software.

Group discussions and peer feedback help test and develop students understanding of the module content.

Supporting materials on SurreyLearn and elsewhere as appropriate supplement the learning that occurs during the weekly seminars.

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

Other information

The Department of Music and Media is committed to developing graduates with attributes encompassing employability, digital skills, global and culture awareness, sustainability as it relates to music and the wider arts and, finally, resourcefulness and resilience.


This module helps develop key employability skills, especially relevant to current creative industry practice in sound design. These include employability skills around designing bespoke synthesizer software and effects, preset packages for both hardware and software synthesizers and compositional practice. Transferable skills developed include those related to specific synthesis techniques applicable to all types of music hardware and software.

Digital capabilities

In the Creative Music Technology programme, our focus and ways of working inherently involve digital capabilities, using computers with specialist software for digital audio. During the course of this module specifically you will guided on how to create digital synthesizers using open source software, and to develop the ability to transfer these skills to hardware equivalents. We also look at the theory, implementation and creative application of sampling in digital environments. In both cases you are supported to use a range of specialist hardware and software, including DAWS,  audio plug-ins, synthesizers and effects units. As in our other modules we investigate the changing nature of technology, both to society as a whole but also with regard to music practice and general creativity.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Creative Music Technology BMus (Hons) 1 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 2025/6 academic year.