Introduction to Acoustics
Music, Production and Sound Science
School of Computing, Science & Engineering
September 2019Next enrolment
In a nutshell
Know the difference between good and great audio quality with our degree in Music, Production and Sound Science. Combining specialist audio knowledge and technical production skills, you’ll develop your musical repertoire and learn to better manage acoustics.
Led by our world-renowned acoustics department, this specialist course will equip you with the skills to work in the fast-changing audio and music production industries. You’ll become accomplished in various sound production techniques, ready to generate audio in a broad range of venues, situations and environments.
The breadth of the programme will provide you with the necessary skills to work in a diverse range of areas within the fast-changing audio and music production sectors. During your studies, you’ll will be developed professionally, so that the highly transferable skills you gain will enable you contribute to the demands of industry.
- Better understand sound and its application to music and acoustics
- Gain the practical, transferable skills to work in a wide range of areas within the fast-changing audio and music production sectors
- Understand the relationships between music, sound and the environment
- Develop an understanding of advanced diatonic harmony, melodic writing, musical forms, composition and rhythm
- Build a working knowledge of instrumentation voicing, score layout, formal design and texture
- Enhance your knowledge of sound mixing consoles and workstations, signal processing equipment and software audio applications
This is for you if...
You're creative, have a strong musical repertoire and like using science to find solutions
You want to pursue a career in audio, music production, acoustics or in the creative sector
You're curious about how music, speech and other sounds work
All about the course
This exciting and varied course will provide you with the necessary skills to work within a wide range of areas in the ever-changing audio and music production industries.
In your first year, you’ll study a range of theoretical and practical modules, including musical instruments, composition, acoustic mathematics and computing. During year two, you’ll progress to studio recording and production, advanced composition and digital signal processing. In your final year, alongside completing your dissertation, you’ll choose from specialisms such as room acoustics, virtual reality audio and psychoacoustics.
Professional Experience Option
If you are studying full-time, you'll have the option to take an industrial placement year between years two and three. Although you will be responsible for securing your own placement, we will assign you a placement tutor to monitor your progress and assess your final placement report.
This module offers an introduction to a wide range of concepts in acoustics and allows you to begin to gain skills in the practical measurement and analysis of acoustic devices and audio technologies.
Music Instrument: Design, Build, Measure
The aim of this module is to conceive and design a novel musical instrument including prototyping parts of the design, and to explore the capabilities of the instrument from both a music and scientific perspective.
Applied Composition and Technology
This module will provide you with a strong understanding of advanced diatonic harmony, melodic writing, fundamental musical forms, and practical skills concerned with rhythm as applied to the broad field of composition. You will explore the creative uses of a range of microphones in relation to musical instruments and acoustic environments, and be introduced to techniques of sound synthesis using a range of hardware and software based synthesisers.
Mathematics and Computing
Building on the subject knowledge from the Mathematics module you will further you knowledge of differential equations and series with emphasis on their applications to physics and develop your awareness of the importance of mathematics in a quantitative description of physics. You will be introduced to the use of spreadsheets, computing programming and symbolic computing.
Fundamentals of Composition and Technology
The core aim of this module is to provide you with the skills and knowledge necessary for composing and arranging music in a variety of styles. You will gain a working knowledge of the key aspects of instrumentation voicing, score layout, formal design and the manipulation of texture. The module also provides an introduction to location recording techniques, appropriate sequencing software, musical acoustics and their relationship to music technology.
An understanding and ability to use mathematics are essential skills for success in physics this module will review A level mathematics covering the following subjects: algebra, trigonometry, functions, geometry, vectors, complex numbers and calculus, with emphasis on their applications to physics.
Digital Signal Processing
This module gives a thorough grounding in the techniques and applications of digital technology in the acquisition, processing, storage and transmission of acoustic signals.
This module teaches you to explore how arrays of loudspeakers and microphones are used for creative purposes drawing on scientific understanding of transduction mechanisms and modeling techniques.
Studio Recording and Production
You will explore the ways in which the needs and demands of technology and performing artists can best be reconciled. This module will enhance your working knowledge of sound mixing consoles, audio recorders, signal processing equipment, digital audio workstations and software audio applications. You will develop strategies for analysing existing recordings in order to appreciate and utilise the technology involved in the recording process.
Principles of Acoustics
You will build on your knowledge and skills from the Introduction to acoustics module, to give you a thorough understanding of the fundamentals of acoustics. Subjects include: Fourier's theorem, solutions of 1-D wave equation, acoustic impedance, reflection factor and absorption coefficient, 3-D wave equation, radiation impedance, and behaviour of sound in 3D enclosures.
Audio for Media (Optional)
The purpose of this module is to introduce you to the creative use of sound and music within a range of media. You will explore techniques for recording stereo drama in a recording studio; sound and image synchronisation techniques; and how to apply and develop audio digital editing techniques.
You will be introduced to the creative use of sound and a range of hardware and software interfaces. This module instils a flexible and considered approach to musical interface by covering various sonic installation possibilities and a range of studio composition techniques including synthesis, sampling, interactive and generative.
Advanced Studio and Location Recording (Optional)
Building upon your learning from Studio Recording and Production in Semester 1, this module aims to provide you with confident, genre-appropriate mixing, mastering and signal processing skills. You will develop a range of detailed recording strategies in relation to acoustic considerations.
Advanced Audio for Media (Optional)
Continuing on from Audio for Media this module develops recording and postproduction mixing techniques for advanced spatialisation of recorded artefacts, advanced recording techniques for on location, in the field, dialogue, voice over and ADR.
Advanced Studio Composition (Optional)
Continuing on from Studio Composition, this module begins to explore the integration of live sound, live instrument recording, and signal processing within studio composition.
Music and Acoustics Project A
You will use all of the knowledge and skills developed on the course to complete your final project
Digital Signal Processing and Machine Learning (year two for part time)
This module aims to give you an understanding of how acoustic signals may be handled and processed digitally, considering the benefits and limitations. You will study the decomposition of signals in frequency and their manipulation using digital filters, including design and analysis techniques. You will then go on to develop knowledge of advanced signal processing methods based on adaptive filtering and machine learning, including an awareness of their basis and limitations, whilst gaining the skills to apply them.
Speech and Musical Acoustics
You will be introduced to speech production and modelling, speech analysis and synthesis with particular reference to the application of speech technology in modern communication devices. You will develop a systematic understanding of human perception of sound and its application in a musical context.
Measurement, Analysis and Assessment (year two for part time)
This module aims to equip you with the necessary knowledge to specify and undertake appropriate acoustic measurements, including understanding their limitations, and being able to analyse the data you produce. You will learn how to effectively undertake standardised acoustic measurements, taking full account of uncertainty introduced throughout the process. You will also gain a comprehensive understanding of the scientific principles underlying these acoustic measurement techniques, thereby helping you to apply them better and know how to adapt them or propose new methods where appropriate.
Music and Acoustics Project B
You will use all of the knowledge and skills developed on the course to complete your final project.
Virtual and Augmented Reality Audio
You will develop the knowledge for design and implementation of spatial audio systems in virtual and augmented realities including a systematic understanding of the complexities and shortcomings of human spatial hearing and how this knowledge is used in the design and operation of spatial audio systems.
Room Acoustics (year one for part time)
This module aims to provide you with a thorough grasp of room acoustics principles, including theoretical models for both low and high frequencies, developing your ability to apply these in order to analyse existing rooms or design new ones. You will study wave theory and statistical theory for acoustic enclosures, including objective descriptions of and how these tally with listeners' perceptions. Techniques for designing and applying sound absorbing and scattering treatments will be covered, and you will consider the effectiveness and limitations of these in important application areas such as musical performances spaces and critical listening rooms.
Psychoacoustics (year one for part time)
This module is about linking the acoustic signals we measure to peoples’ subjective responses. You will gain an understanding of how the auditory system allows humans to perceive different attributes of the surrounding acoustic environment, and develop a detailed understanding of how low-level percepts such as pitch arise from the physiology of the ear. You will then study how these are linked to high-level attributes such as emotional response, and how this drives good subjective experiment design.
Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.
What will I be doing?
You will develop your knowledge and skills through a blend of theoretical, collaborative and practical methods:
- Laboratory exercises
- Case studies
- Group work
- Project work
Some of the course is delivered in a production environment, so you will spend time developing your practical skills in our sound recording studios, music technology rooms and TV studios.
You will be assessed through a combination of formats:
- Examinations will assess your immediate response to a set of unseen problems
- Assignments will assess your response to in-depth problems and challenges
- Practical tests in acoustics laboratories will assess your problem-solving rationale
- Projects will assess your ability to create, deliver and evaluate a plan for an identified solution
The School of Computing, Science and Engineering (CSE) seeks to improve lives through proactive collaboration with industry and society. Our stimulating, industry-accredited courses and research programmes explore engineering, physics, acoustics, computing, mathematics and robotics. Through our award-winning lecturers, world-class facilities and research-led teaching, CSE produces highly employable graduates ready for the challenges of today and tomorrow.
Our acoustics laboratories on the Peel Park campus are regarded as world-class. Our full range of specialist test chambers, includes: one full anechoic chamber and two semi-anechoic chambers, a transmission suite, two large and one small reverberation chambers, an ITU standard listening room equipped with a 96 channel Wave Field Synthesis system, a 3D-Ambisonic listening booth, audiometric test facilities and a range of advanced instrumentation and equipment.
The University of Salford has an outstanding set of production facilities for students. In 2011, we opened a facility at the heart of MediaCityUK for students, researchers and commercial clients. As our student, you can enjoy access to multi-million pound Pro Tools enabled studios, 3D animation suites, TV and video suites, and digital media performance labs.
What about after uni?
Graduates from this degree course are well-placed to become major players in the diverse world of sound, music production, acoustics and audio.
Many audio and acoustics graduates often develop careers as studio and live producers/engineers, broadcast engineers, gaming audio engineers, product developers, acoustics and audio researchers, and acoustics consultants.
Our graduates have excellent career prospects in acoustic consultancy and audio-related industries. Salford's acoustics alumni have progressed their career in roles with Arup, BBS, Apple, Dolby, Jaguar Land Rover and Bang and Olufson.
If you decide to take your studies further, we offer a range of specialist postgraduate courses. We even offer a fee discount to our graduates and alumni.
The University of Salford began teaching undergraduate acoustics and audio courses in 1975 and and many of our graduates can be found in major acoustic and audio companies around the world. Salford's acoustics group works with many leading companies in audio, acoustics, broadcast and related industries, including BBC, Apple, Dolby, and Bang and Olufson.
Our acoustics staff hold strong links with industry either through collaborative research and development projects through the Acoustics Research Centre or via our commercial test laboratories. These connection help us to keep course content relevant to the needs of industry and in tune with latest research findings.
What you need to know
All applicants are required to attend an interview and complete a music theory examination.
The interview will be delivered by an academic working within the course specialism. Interview questions will be based around your music experience, influences and current ambitions. As part of the interview process, you will provide a portfolio of studio-based compositions or recordings and production examples of approximately five minutes duration to be listened to on the day.
The examination is approximately Grade 5 (ABRSM) standard and will form part of the audition process. It will last 30-40 minutes prior to the interview.
International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.0 with no band below 5.5 is proof of this.
We positively welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to successfully pursue a programme of study in higher education. Students who do not have formal entry qualifications are required to sit a written assessment to measure their suitability. Please contact Admissions for further information.
Music theory requirement
Grade 5 in ABRSM Music Theory if no music A Level
Grade C/grade 4 or above in maths and English language
You must fulfil our GCSE entry requirements as well as one of the requirements listed below.
UCAS tariff points
120 (C in maths or numerate science B in music or music technology)
BTEC National Diploma
DDM in second year modules in a computer-related subject
120 (C at Advanced Highers A at Higher, maths or physics or chemistry Advanced Higher)
Irish Leaving Certificate
120 (Higher Level physics and maths)
35 points grade 5 in physics or maths or chemistry at Higher Level.
Salford Alternative Entry System (SAES)
We welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to pursue the course successfully. Once we have received your application we will assess it and recommend it for SAES if you are an eligible candidate.
There are two different routes through the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme and applicants will be directed to the one appropriate for their course. Assessment will either be through a review of prior learning or through a formal test.
|Type of study||Year||Fees|
|Full-time home/EU||2019||£9,250per year|
|Full-time international||2019||£14,400per year|
You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.
Applicants for this course can qualify to apply for one of five scholarships provided thanks to the generosity of the Morson Group. Each scholarship is worth a total of £9,000, paid as two cash award instalments of £1,500 each per annum for a maximum of three years.
The scholarships aim to ensure that talented students starting their first year are not deterred from studying at the University of Salford for financial reasons. Qualifying students will be encouraged to apply following registration and enrollment in September 2019. Priority will be given to students who:
- Can demonstrate the scholarship will provide the necessary support during their studies;
- Would otherwise be deterred from an undergraduate degree by tuition fees and associated living costs;
- Live in the North West;
- Have at least 112 UCAS points or equivalent.
all set? let's apply
Course ID H348