This programme is delivered jointly by the Departments of Music and Computing, and builds on their recognised expertise in the creative arts and the innovative application of computer science to stimulate and promote creative work.
What is Music Computing?
Music Computing is a creative discipline that combines performance, composition, musicology, design, psychoacoustics, digital signal processing, and computer science. You will learn to create your own music software rather than using pre-made products, to further your artistic goals and to help pioneer the future of electronic music and digital audio production.
At Goldsmiths, Music Computing is an interdisciplinary programme offered between the departments. After your first year, you can choose to pursue a more technical or artistic path of study, leading to either a Bachelor of Science (BSc) or a Bachelor of Music (BMus) degree.
Sound engineering, music production and studio techniques are not the primary focus of Music Computing, and applicants wishing to study these subjects are advised to apply elsewhere.
Why study BMus Music Computing at Goldsmiths?
- Music computing is a rapidly evolving, innovative subject, and the degree is designed to meet the opportunities, challenges and intellectual demands presented by careers in the culture industries, in music technology and in audio, music and media-related computing
- You'll develop understanding across the broad fields of computer science, creative practice and musical research
- You'll study with a wide range of academics, including internationally established composers, performers, writers, and computing experts
- There are professional and student-led recitals, concerts, workshops and other music events taking place every week, with opportunities to perform at Goldsmiths and in public venues
- You'll be within easy reach of central London's many venues, concert halls, opera houses and research libraries, providing a great international focus
- Employers look for initiative-driven graduates who think critically about their actions, work well with others and adapt quickly to new ideas. This degree will help you develop these skills – sometimes without you noticing!
Contact the department
If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Robert Zimmer
Modules & structure
Throughout the programme you'll encounter the most up-to-date technologies and programming methods, and explore current issues in programme design, sonic art, contemporary composition, music theory and musicology. You'll study how computers listen and analyse sounds and music, how they can derive, generate or ‘invent’ processes and structures for music, and how such processes are rendered into music in the form of audio or printed musical text.
You'll cultivate the critical, technical and intellectual skills needed to analyse problems, design and implement solutions on computers, and communicate your ideas in a variety of forms. You will also develop an awareness of diversity in music and the diversity of values, critical stances and analytical methods in their historical and cultural contexts.
The programme encompasses a wide range of repertoires of music, offering modules that reference various aspects of film music, western art and contemporary music, popular music, ‘world’ music, sound art and electronic music. By exploring the interrelationships between theories of music and computing, and between theoretical understanding and creative practice, you develop the knowledge and skills to create your own independent research project in your final year.
Core modules establish all the key areas of this innovative subject; these culminate in a final year Music Computing Major Project. The programme also allows you to identify and develop your strengths and interests by choosing various specialist options in the Departments of Music and Computing. Your project topic will determine the award of either BMus (Hons) or BSc (Hons).
In your first year you study the fundamentals of computer programming, contemporary music and music technology. In addition to these 105 credits you also choose one 15-credit option in the history and theory of either popular or classical music.
- Approaches to Contemporary Music (15 credits)
- Live Performance Systems (15 credits)
- Introduction to programming (30 credits)
- Year 1 Creative Projects (15 credits)
- Music Computing 1 (30 credits)
- Numerical Maths (15 credits)
In your second year, you take the following compulsory core modules:
- Perception and Multimedia Computing (Terms 1 and 2) (30 credits)
- Music Computing (Terms 1 and 2) (30 credits)
You then select Music modules to the value of 30 credits from:
Term 1 (all modules are worth 15 credits)
- Aesthetics, Meaning and Culture
- Music and Identity
- Musicians, Commerce and Commodification
- Music in Film (co-requisite for Media Composition)
- Techniques of Contemporary Composition (co-requisite for Composition: Creative Strategies)
- Techniques in Jazz and Popular Music
- Sonic Arts Techniques (co-requisite for Sonic Art Practice)
Term 2 (all modules are worth 15 credits)
- Popular Music Production
- Composition: Creative Strategies
- Media Composition
- Music of Africa and Asia
- Sonic Art Practice
- Arranging in Jazz and Popular Music
And Computing modules to the value of 15 CATS from:
- Principles and Applications of Programming (Terms 1 and 2) (30 credits)
- Principles and Applications of Programming 1 (Term 1) (15 credits)
- Programming for Dynamic Websites (Term 2) (15 credits)
- Creative Projects (Term 1 and 2) (30 credits)
And an extra 15 credits from either list above.
Please note: you must take a minimum of 45 credits in each term, in order to balance your workload.
Students who wish to complete a BSc must successfully complete either Principles and Applications of Programming 1 or Creative Projects to progress to third year Computing electives.
You take one of these two core modules (this choice determines the name of the final award, either BMus or BSc):
- Major Project: Music (Terms 1, 2 and 3) (60 credits)
- Major Project: Computing (Terms 1, 2 and 3) (60 credits)
You also select a total of 60 credits from Groups C and D.
All modules are worth 15 credits.
- Advanced Graphics and Animation
- Advanced Audio-visual Processing
- Computer Security
- Artificial Intelligence
- Neural Networks
- Physical Computing (Term 2 only for Music Computing)
- Interaction Design
- Language Design and Implementation
- Data Compression
- Data Mining
- Interactive Narrative Media
- Data Visualisation and the Web
For module descriptions and schedules, please consult the Department of Computing.
All modules are worth 15 credits.
- Minimalism and Postminimalism
- Phonography (Pre-requisite: Sonic Art Techniques)
- Creative Orchestration and Arrangement
- Narrative, Representation and Popular Song
- Musical Structure and Understanding
- Outsider Sound: Fringe Aesthetics in Popular Music
- Psychological Approaches to Music
Criteria for awarding a BMus or BSc
To earn a BSc, a minimum of 30 credits from Group C courses and Major Project: Computing (60 credits) is required. For a BMus, a minimum of 30 credits from Group D courses and Major Project: Music (60 credits) is required.
If the criteria are not met, the award of either BSc or BMus will be proposed by the student, with the advice of his or her personal tutor, and agreed by the Programme Convenor no later than the end of Term 2 of the final year of study.
Credits and levels of learning
An undergraduate honours degree is made up of 360 credits – 120 at Level 4, 120 at Level 5 and 120 at Level 6. If you are a full-time student, you will usually take Level 4 modules in the first year, Level 5 in the second, and Level 6 modules in your final year. A standard module is worth 30 credits. Some programmes also contain 15-credit half modules or can be made up of higher-value parts, such as a dissertation or a Major Project.
Download the programme specification for this degree to find out more about what you'll learn and how you'll be taught and assessed.
Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.
International Baccalaureate: 33 points including three HL subjects
An A-level, or equivalent, qualification in Music or Music Technology is preferred, although we also accept applicants without a formal qualification in music who can demonstrate relevant knowledge and experience.
You should also normally have at least Grade B at GCSE Mathematics.
We accept a wide range of qualifications equivalent to the ones listed above. This includes:
Access: Pass with 45 Level 3 credits including distinctions/merits in subject specific modules
Scottish qualifications: ABBBC/BBBBC (Higher), ABC/BBC (Advanced Higher)
European Baccalaureate: 75%
Irish Leaving Certificate: A1 A1 A2 B1/A1 A1 A2 B2
If your qualifications are from another country, find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.
English language requirements
If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us.
For this programme we require:
IELTS 6.5 (with a minimum of 6.5 in the written test and no individual test lower than 6.0)
If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for degree-level study.
At interview stage you'll be asked to present a portfolio of relevant recent work.
Read more about our general entrance requirements.
Music at Goldsmiths is ranked 12th in the UK for the quality of our research**
From opera to electronica, and from Errollyn Wallen to James Blake, music studies at Goldsmiths are unique and different. Firmly rooted in the 21st century, our programmes entwine academic with practice-based study, and historical with contemporary repertories.
We’re committed to high quality, ambitious and innovative performance, and we have a wide range of ensembles that you can join, including:
- Goldsmiths Sinfonia
- Chamber Choir
- Contemporary Music Ensemble
- Creative Jazz Ensemble
- Lunchtime and evening recitals
- Music Collective
- Studio Laptop Ensemble
- Goldsmiths Vocal Ensemble
- Plus student-led ensembles: Chamber Orchestra, New Music Ensemble, Big Band and Film Orchestra
These culminate in our end-of-year degree show and public music festival PureGold, which in recent years has launched at London’s Southbank Centre.
We have excellent rehearsal and performance facilities including:
- Goldsmiths Music Studios
- Electronic Music Studio
- Sonics Interactive Multimedia Laboratory
- Council Chamber (with its Steinway Model D)
- Two suites of practice rooms
Find out more about the Department of Music.
**Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times Higher Education research intensity subject rankings
Computing at Goldsmiths is ranked: 2nd in London for this subject area** 17th in the UK for the quality of our research***
The Department of Computing offers a creative, contemporary and pioneering approach to the discipline.
From developing computers that can compose music and paint pictures, to defining and implementing new social media tools and applications, we aim to invigorate computing and the world around it.
Learn by doing
We place a great emphasis on creativity, independence and ‘learning by doing’. You’ll focus on practical work in real-world situations, carrying out projects in ways that mirror industry practice.
We also promote an interdisciplinary approach to the subject: from business to digital arts, and from games programming to learning Mandarin.
You’ll be taught by industry experts – our academics are deeply engaged in current research, with many applying their knowledge and skills to developing cutting-edge technology. And we have close links with industry, too, regularly inviting leading professionals to deliver lectures and talks.
Find out more about the Department of Computing.
**Guardian University League Tables 2017
***Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times Higher Education research intensity subject rankings
Skills & careers
Our degrees aim to equip you with a wide range of skills to meet the current demands of industry and increase your career prospects.
Industrial placement year
The degree includes an optional Industrial Placement Year between the second and third year of study. This offers you the invaluable opportunity to develop the practical skills and real world experience that is sought after by employers. You're supported throughout your placement year by a placement tutor, who provides you with guidance and liaises between you and your employer.
Skills and careers
The programme is designed with careers in music technology and music computing in mind. It fosters the development of interdisciplinary understanding across the broad fields of computer science, creative practice and musical research, and is designed to meet the opportunities, challenges and intellectual demands presented by careers in the culture industries, in music technology and in audio, music and media-related computing.
Many of our graduates choose careers in fields related to their musical knowledge: teaching, performing, arts administration, music librarianship, publishing and retailing, record companies and production, or technical work in radio or television. You can read more about careers options after graduating on our Music skills and careers page.
Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.
Learning & teaching
On this degree you'll attend lectures and seminars where you'll hear about ideas and concepts related to specific topics, and where you'll be encouraged to discuss and debate the issues raised. This will enhance your academic knowledge of the subject, and will improve your communication skills. You'll also attend workshops and tutorials that develop key technical skills.
But this is just a small proportion of what we expect you to do on the degree. For each hour of taught learning, we expect you to complete another 5-6 hours of independent study. This typically involves carrying out required and additional reading, preparing topics for discussion, or producing project work.
This emphasis on independent learning is very important at Goldsmiths. We don't just want you to accept what we tell you without question. We want you to be inspired to read more, to develop your own ideas, and to find the evidence that will back them up. Independent study requires excellent motivation and time management skills. These skills will stay with you for life, and are the kind of that are highly sought after by employers.
Learning and teaching on this degree will take place through:
- Independent learning
Find out more about these learning and teaching approaches.
Fees & funding
Find out about our undergraduate tuition fees and funding opportunities.
Joe Brown Memorial Award
Second-year students are eligible to apply for an award of £1,000 towards final-year Creative Projects with an electronic component.
Find out more about applying.