Introduction to Audio Synthesis - CMAT3100

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2022 to 2023
Spring Term 4 15 (7.5) Charles Hutchins checkmark-circle


This module provides students with an overview of the history of sound synthesis, placing important techniques in context. Musical examples will be drawn from composers, pioneers and inventors such as Don Buchla, Robert Moog, Max Mathews, Jean Claude Risset and John Chowning. Students will be guided to explore important components of synthesis, such as waveforms, filters, modulators and low frequency oscillators using industry-standard software.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 22
Private Study Hours: 128
Total Study Hours: 150

Method of assessment

13.1 Main Assessment Methods

Audio Synthesis Portfolio incl. Written Evaluation (500 words) – 50%
Essay (1,000 words) – 50%

Reassessment Methods
- Like-for-like

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List:

Chadabe, J. (1997). Electric Sound: The Past and Promise of Electronic Music. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Collins, N., Schedel, M. and Wilson, S. (2013). Electronic Music. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Holmes, T. (2002). Electronic and Experimental Music. New York: Routledge.
Miranda, E. R. (2002). Computer Sound Design: Synthesis Techniques and Programming. London: Focal Press.
Russ, M. (2008). Sound Synthesis and Sampling. London: Focal Press.

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate an understanding of the basic principles of a range sound synthesis techniques and their associated parameters;
2 Utilise contemporary software packages to create synthesised sound;
3 Demonstrate an awareness of the historical development of sound synthesis, including important pioneers and their key technological developments.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Generate, analyse and interpret appropriate data;
2 Demonstrate core skills such as problem solving and decoding information;
3 Use IT skills, computer technology and electronic information sources.


  1. Credit level 4. Certificate level module usually taken in the first stage of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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