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Unit information: Professional Techniques in 2015/16

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Unit name Professional Techniques
Unit code MUSIM0024
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Mr. Scott
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Music
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit introduces the concept of studio production: the gray area in between the typical job of a composer and the creation of a polished audio product. The unit trains the aspiring media composer in the key aspects of music studio work and covers techniques in: effective MIDI sequencing; use of sample libraries and synthesis; audio recording; audio mixing; audio mastering; picture synchronisation. Assignments include the opportunity for live workshop performance of specially composed scores from which the recording may be mixed into a project prescribed in the Media Composition unit.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of this unit students should be able to: use a MIDI sequencer with proficiency, understanding their role as (offline) performer in a variety of musical genres; record individual and groups of real instruments and voices to a high standard, using a combination of 'close studio' and 'classical' microphone techniques; mix their compositions bringing together electronic and live elements effectively; master their audio, optimizing quality for a variety of output formats.

Teaching details

1 x 2hr lecture per week

Assessment Details

3 x 20% and 1 x 40% Project

Reading and References

Recommended reading

  1. Andrea Pejrolo Creative Sequencing Techniques for Music Production, 2nd edition (Focal Press, 2011)
  2. Bartlett & Bartlett Practical recording techniques (Focal Press, 2002)
  3. John Borwick Sound Recording Practice, 4th edition (OUP, 1996).
  4. John Eargle Handbook of Recording Engineering, 4th edition (Kluwer Academic, 2002).
  5. John Eargle The Microphone Book (Focal Press, 2001).
  6. David Miles Huber, Robert E. Runstein Modern recording techniques, 5th edition (Focal Press, 2001)
  7. Francis Rumsey, Tim McCormick Sound and Recording: an Introduction (Focal Press, 2002)
  8. Francis Rumsey, Spatial Audio (Focal Press, 2001)
  9. Bob Katz Mastering audio: the art and the science, 2nd edition (Focal Press, 2007)
  10. Ed. Weis and Belton Film sound : theory and practice (Columbia University Press, 1985)
  11. Paul White Basic mixing techniques (Sanctuary Press, 2000)
  12. Paul White Creative recording. Part 2, Microphones, acoustics, soundproofing and monitoring
  13. Richard Brice Music Engineering, 2nd edition (Newnes, 2001)
  14. William Moylan Understanding & Crafting the Mix: the art of the recording, 2nd edition (Focal, 2007)
  15. Francis Rumsey and Tim McCormick Sound and Recording, 4th edition (Focal, 2002)
  16. Paul White Basic Microphones (Sanctuary, 1999)
  17. Paul White Basic Mastering (Sanctuary, 2000)
  18. Paul White Basic Effects & Processors (Sanctuary, 2000)

Also, manuals for: Digital Performer 7, Logic Pro 9, Pro Tools 9, EastWest Quantum Leap Symphony Orchestra Platinum Complete Plus, Superior Drummer, Native Instruments' Komplete, Waves Gold Native plug-ins, and Peak Pro 6.

The Arts & Social Sciences Library has a good selection of studio-related books. You may find that some of them get put on short loan (one day) to maximise availability – there are several undergraduate units that also refer to them. There are other relevant books that will be available for ordinary borrowing. If you’re browsing for studio-related books in the main Arts & Social Sciences library, bear in mind that they are not with the main bulk of music books, but instead are in the Engineering section at TK7881.4.