MUS-10110 - Music Programming and Automation
Coordinator: Miroslav Spasov Room: CKF05 Tel: +44 1782 7 33298
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 4
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office: 01782 733147

Programme/Approved Electives for 2022/23


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2022/23

In this module you will learn the basics of programming in a fun and engaging way. No prior experience is required; you will master everything right here. Using computer software you will develop essential skills to 'programme' music elements (sections and even whole songs). You will learn how to apply automation to samplers, sequencers, synthesisers, and various plug-ins in a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). You will become familiar with the processes by which a musician creates a software instrument (either from scratch or with the aid of some pre-existing objects). Use of cutting edge graphical programming environments will develop your creative skills by generating, organising and mixing short musical ideas to make interesting combinations. You will learn to change those combinations over time and add plug-ins that will help you to create interesting mixes. Many types of popular music are created in exactly this way ¿ Hip-hop, House, Techno/trance, Dubstep, Drum and bass, and some more experimental electronic genres. This programming could be applied to other forms, including visuals, games, and ads. You will programme audio effects (delay, chorus, flanging, etc), design your own synthesiser and manipulate samples.

To develop students' music programming skills in the design of software instruments and plug-ins;
To obtain an understanding of musical programming and apply automation;
To develop students' understanding and ability in software instruments and plug-ins and in combination with automation to produce phrases, sections and short musical forms.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Realise solutions for music programming by designing software instruments and plug-ins: 2
Demonstrate technical proficiency in enabling technology for creative work: 1,2
Apply technical programming and automation skills on specific tasks related to music production: 1,2
Engage with automation applied to multiple parameters that control the multitrack mix: 1
Communicate effectively the technical and creative possibilities of a software instrument/plug-in and automation to an uninformed user: 2

Study hours

24 hours of contact time, to include:
12 hours lectures and workshops
12 hours small group tutorials
Independent study:
36 hours of preparation for workshops and tutorials
90 hours of preparation for the summative assessment

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Exercise weighted 30%
Automation programming
Students will be required to programme and apply automation to samplers, sequencers, synthesisers, and various plug-ins available in a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). They will present a collection of three different mixes (saved as sound files) demonstrating how the automation manipulates the parameters to produce certain audio effects. The character, aesthetics and the genre of the music will be of their own choosing. The total duration of the `demo¿ sound files should be about 2 minutes.

2: Project weighted 70%
Music Programming Project
The project will consist of two elements ¿ technical and creative. For the technical requirement students will create an original software instrument using a graphical programming environment (such as MaxMSP/Jitter) and convert the instrument into a plug-in (for example by using the programming environment extension Max for Live) that can be used to produce music in a Digital Audio Workstation (such as Ableton Live). In addition to the original plug-in students can use some additional pre-existing software instruments in which they will programme the automation. For the creative element, students will produce music using the plug-in they created and also some additional software instruments of their own choosing. For example, they can choose to create music in one or more of the following categories: a) popular music song in any style and genre (Hip-hop, House, Techno/trance, Dubstep, Drum and bass); b) an experimental electronic piece; c) produce music for visuals/games, ads and other 'applied' forms. The total duration of the audio material should be about 4 minutes. The project must include written documentation (1000-1200 words) explaining how they programmed the software instrument/plug-in and how it was applied to the creative output.