MUSA227-18S2 (C) Semester Two 2018

The Computer as a Musical Tool 2

15 points
16 Jul 2018 - 18 Nov 2018


This course offers students the opportunity to further create musical works using the computer as a musical tool and expand their understanding of compositional and sampling techniques and procedures.

MUSA227 offers an overview of the ways in which current computer technology may be used as an aid and stimulus to the compositional process.  Skills in composition, in using computer technology, and in studying music history are developed.

Topics covered in this course are:
*  The use of Digital Audio Workstation and other software as a means of realising compositions
*  The history of computer music
*  The historical and current uses of sampling and collage as musical techniques
*  How to set and achieve clear compositional goals
*  How to use computer technology to realise compositional goals
*  The harmonic series and alternative tunings

Learning Outcomes

Students who pass this course will have developed:

*  Skills and knowledge in the creation of a portfolio of works that demonstrates an understanding of, and competence in, the use of Digital Audio Workstations
*  An analytical understanding of electronic music in various forms
*  Skills in sampling techniques and procedures
*  Skills in synthesis techniques and procedures
*  Commentary on the portfolio and the ability to articulate their personal composition philosophy
*  The discipline of writing to fulfil the brief and on-time delivery
*  Skills in goal-setting and planning
*  Analytical understanding of the student's own work in relation to the established canon of repertoire

University Graduate Attributes

This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.


Timetable 2018

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Tuesday 11:00 - 13:00 Fine Arts 122 16 Jul - 26 Aug
10 Sep - 21 Oct
Lab A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Tuesday 15:00 - 16:00 Fine Arts 225 16 Jul - 26 Aug
10 Sep - 21 Oct

Timetable Note


Student workload (150 hours) will be allocated to:
*  12 hours attending lectures
*  6 hours attending composition workshops
*  24 hours attending small group laboratories
*  16 hours creating draft 1 content and documentation
*  16 hours creating draft 2 content and documentation
*  76 hours creating portfolio content and documentation

Course Coordinator

James Gardner


Reuben de Lautour


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Portfolio First Draft 15%
Portfolio Draft 2 15%
Portfolio of Works 70%

Portfolio First Draft:
This will consist of a well-developed draft of one of the pieces that you plan to include in your final portfolio, with a clearly-defined concept and initial documentation.

Portfolio Second Draft:

This must include:

1.  A revised version of the piece you submitted for the first draft assessment.  This should incorporate revisions that reflect the feedback you will have received, and explanations of those revisions.

2.  Drafts of at least two of the remaining pieces that you plan to include in your final portfolio, each with a clearly-defined concept and initial documentation.


Your final portfolio must include:

1.  A minimum of three substantial pieces.  Each of these must use computer technology in a different way from the others and ideally incorporate some of the techniques you have been shown during the course.  The final result may be entirely electronic, a conventionally-notated score for acoustic instruments, or some other manifestation, but computer technology must form a substantial part of the composition and/or realisation of the piece.

2.  Reworked/revised versions of the three pieces submitted for the Second Draft assessment.

3.  Full documentation about all work included in the portfolio including an indicative selection of draft material.  It is strongly recommended that you keep a composition diary or journal so that a record of the compositional process - and your personal reflections on that process - may be included in your documentation.  This may include photos, screen captures, sketches using conventional or graphic notation or other material in addition to a substantial amount of verbal text.

Each piece in your portfolio must be accompanied by a statement about your initial musical intentions, your evaluation of the final musical outcome and an assessment of how well-aligned this is with the initial intentions, both technologically and aesthetically.


Use of Technology

This course assumes that you have sufficient information and technology skills to confidently use a computer to access material for your course.  Your written work will be handwritten and submitted in class time.

You will be required to access our learning management system – LEARN – and to become familiar with its tools.  LEARN provides easily-accessible information about the course and assessments, topics and deadlines, and supports the learning you will gain from attending all lectures and tutorials.  For help using LEARN, refer to:

Additional Course Outline Information

Assessment and grading system

The following shows how to translate grades to numerical scores:

A+  90–100;    A   85–89;    A-  80–84;    B+   75–79;    B 70–74;    B-   65–69;     C+  60–64;     C  55–59;     C- 50–54;     D  40–49;   E  0–39
In a course at 100- or 200-level examiners may grant restricted credit (R) which will be equivalent to a pass for all purposes except as a prerequisite.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $834.00

International fee $3,600.00

* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.

For further information see Humanities and Creative Arts.

All MUSA227 Occurrences

  • MUSA227-18S2 (C) Semester Two 2018