M.Sc. Research in Music Technology

University of York

Application deadline: as early as possible
Tuition fee:
  • € 5,532 / Year (EEA)
  • € 15,233 / Year (Non-EEA)
Start date: October  2014
Duration full-time: 12 months
  • English
Delivery mode: On Campus
Educational variant: Full-time

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Students who follow this programme of study will work closely with an experienced researcher or research group on technological or artistic projects.

The course lasts 12 months and is normally examined in September. All streams share a common structure. Following a series of short introductory courses students embark on detailed work in their chosen area of study under the supervision of a experienced researcher. Under the guidance of their supervisor, students can also supplement their knowledge by attending courses and events which are part of the taught Masters programme in Music Technology.

Individual Research Topics

Currently, there are five streams of research in music technology available within this structure. They are focussed on the common research areas of members of the Music Technology staff.

* Research in the Human Singing Voice (MA or MSc)

This research stream is concerned with the human singing voice, and it offers the opportunity to work on technological aspects (MSc) or production and performance aspects (MA). Scientific knowledge in relation to the human singing voice has expanded greatly over the last decade of the twentieth century, and whilst work in areas such as choral conducting are quite common (e.g. Denver, Roehampton, Alberta, Minnesota), opportunities to research aspects of the human singing voice are less common. York is particularly well placed for singing voice research given the combined expertise of David Howard (Electronics) and John Potter (Music). It has a formal (funded) link with KTH in Stockholm; a world leader in singing and music research.

Ongoing activities include:

* Longitudinal quantification of children's singing voice development.
* Listener perception of girl/boy chorister voices.
* Acoustic analysis of pronunciation in plainsong.
* PD based formant singing synthesis.
* Intonation analysis in a capella quartet singing.

* Research in Spatial Audio (MSc)This stream is concerned with technological aspects of current spatial audio research and offers an opportunity to work towards the degree of MSc.(Students interested in production aspects should look at topic 3.) Spatial audio research is concerned with the presentation of music and audio material to an audience in a manner that is optimized according to the spatial properties of the human hearing system, including perceived attributes such as location, size, motion and room impression. Work in this area has gathered momentum in recent years such that multi-channel delivery systems are finally becoming accepted in the domestic environment, predominantly through applications in the entertainment industry such as DVD, home-theatre systems and multimedia computing technology. Current work in the international research community focuses in a number of complementary yet distinct areas. Theoretical spatial audio research looks to model and reproduce ideals based on clear objective measures. This includes work on:

* reverberation and the modelling of acoustic space
* the development of multi-speaker playback systems and panning algorithms
* spatial coding mechanisms and two-channel (binaural) alternatives to multi-speaker presentation

Psychoacoustic approaches examine how spatialised audio stimuli are perceived by a human listener, leading to the design of more effective and appropriate recording, processing, reproduction and measurement systems. Creative practitioners author content for spatial audio systems using both commercially available applications and bespoke research tools to deliver high quality, memorable musical or audio experiences which can be most commonly evidenced through cinematic releases, DVD video presentations and the small but ever increasing number of high quality multi-channel audio releases. This course will introduce students to these varied research strands and through the expertise available in the group allow specialisation in particular areas of spatial audio research.

* Research in Composition with Digital Media (MA)This Masters by Research course in Music Technology, is aimed at meeting the needs of research-focused graduates with experience in music technology or audio engineering. This stream is specifically focused at high level creators interested in composition, production and contemporary aesthetic approaches to audio.

Students are required to research and develop a work for fixed media, installation and live performance. Two works will be completed over the first two terms. The third piece in the folio will form the most significant submission and should be completed over the summer period. Students are free to decide the category of their major submission, but should create one work of each type.

Learning Outcomes.

By the end of this programme students should:

* understand the position of their work within a contemporary aesthetic context;
* have developed a high degree of skill in the application of new technologies in contemporary art;
* have refined their compositional techniques and practices to produce high quality creative works for digital media.

* Research in Music Technology for Special Needs (MSc)This stream is concerned with the development of music technology systems for musicians with special needs, arising through disability. York has acquired an international reputation for the development of innovative technologies for the performance of electronic music and this has opened up new opportunities for disabled musicians. As a consequence, there has been a consistent thread of music technology for special needs running through York's music technology courses and its research over many years, including the establishment of a spin-out company (Immersive Media Spaces). We have developed strong links with various national disciplines in music technology for disability, particularly in special needs education, music therapy, and inclusive performance including recently the performance of early music. Our collaborators include the National Centre for Early Music and the Drake Music Project.

Students are aware of this reputation, and come to York as a specialist centre to participate in this work. The existing taught course modules provide an excellent underpinning for those students who need to augment existing knowledge and the MA / MSc structure provides a unique opportunity to address the technical and musical aspects of the work, thus avoiding artificial distinctions in the onward development of the discipline.

* Computer Interfaces Using Audio (MSc)In recent years the development of computing technology has allowed users to interact with high-bandwidth digital data (particularly audio and graphical) in real-time. However this requires new paradigms of interaction, different from the commonplace interface styles which have developed over the last 30 years and which are more suitable to office-based tasks. This stream focuses on research which combines the tasks of high-dimensional user interaction and real-time audio generation. This gives rise to the disciplines of interactive sonification (where data is transformed into sound under user control for analytical purposes) and electronic musical instruments (which transform human movement into sound for expressive purposes).

Ongoing interactive sonification projects include the use of interaction with data as sound to:

* determine the location of landmines
* aid physiotherapists in the analysis of muscle data
* provide fast feedback to helicopter flight analysts
* analyse cancer cells
* detect heart defects

Active research collaboration on these topics exists at EU level and with UK industry and clinical centres.


English Language Requirements

The University's absolute minimum English language requirements are:

* IELTS: 6.0 (in the 'Academic' test)
* TOEFL: paper-based 550/ computer-based (CBT): 213/ internet-based (iBT): 79
* Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English: A, B, C
* Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English: A

English Language Requirements

IELTS band: 6
CAE score: (read more)

Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) is part of the Cambridge English suite and is targeted at a high level (IETLS 6.5-8.0). It is an international English language exam set at the right level for academic and professional success. Developed by Cambridge English Language Assessment - part of the University of Cambridge - it helps you stand out from the crowd as a high achiever.

80 (Grade A)
TOEFL paper-based test score : 550
TOEFL iBT® test: 79

IMPORTANT NOTE: Since April 2014 the ETS tests (including TOEFL and TOEIC) are no longer accepted for Tier 4 visa applications to the United Kingdom. The university might still accept these tests to admit you to the university, but if you require a Tier 4 visa to enter the UK and begin your degree programme, these tests will not be sufficient to obtain your Visa.

The IELTS test is most widely accepted by universities and is also accepted for Tier 4 visas to the UK- learn more.

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