Live Electronics in Music Performance - CMAT6120

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2022 to 2023
Spring Term 6 15 (7.5) Charles Hutchins checkmark-circle


Since the 1960s, electronic instruments have featured more and more in live performance. This module balances the history of live electronics with contemporary practical instruction. It charts the history of live electronics, through fixed media playback, electronic signal generation and processing, and interactive audio systems for composition and performance, addressing the breadth of live electronics across sound projection, enhancement of acoustic instruments, through hybrid acoustic/electronic instruments, to include a wide range of performance practices. Lectures will cover history and case studies, while workshops and lab sessions will cover practical issues of hardware and software design and performance practice. Students will encounter a vast range of electronics from DIY to high end digital systems, and this module will prepare them for these encounters.


Contact hours

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

Method of assessment

Main Assessment methods
1 Performance Diary (600 words) 15%
2 Live Performance with peer critique (7 minutes) 35%
3 Written Report (1800 words) 50%

Coursework 100%

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List

Bussy, Pascal (2005) Kraftwerk: Man, Machine and Music (3rd Edition). London: SAF Publishing Ltd.
Cascone, K. (ed.) (2003) The Laptop and Electronic Music. Contemporary Music Review 22(4)
Collins, N (2006). Handmade Electronic Music: The Art of Hardware Hacking. New York: Routledge.
Emmerson, S. (2007) Living Electronic Music. Aldershot: Ashgate.
Holmes, T (2015) Electronic and Experimental Music: Technology, Music, and Culture. New York: Routledge.

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 a systematic understanding of key principles and processes in designing and executing a live electronic performance informed by the forefront of the
2) apply a practical knowledge and understanding of the interrelationships between sound and music, and electronics in an interactive context;
3) demonstrate an understanding of technical, creative and usability issues associated with live electronic performance practice;
4) create, adapt, edit, and deploy hardware and/or software in a practical performance project.

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

1) assimilate different theoretical and aesthetic systems of thought and to relate theory to practice;
2) synthesize knowledge, and information in order to generate output in written, audio, and practical formats;
3) critically evaluate arguments, assumptions, abstract concepts and data to make judgements and to frame appropriate questions to achieve a solution to a problem;
4) examine assumptions, concepts and hypotheses critically in the light of evidence, and make informed choices and apply insights from one area of study to another.


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 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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