MUSC1054 Music Theory for Electronic Musicians

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 1 core unit in the Music: Electronic Music and Sound Design major sequence
  • The area of knowledge for this unit is Design and Creative Arts
  • Category B broadening unit for students
  • Level 1 elective
This unit provides a theoretical foundation for electronic music composition through practical engagement with the fundamental concepts of music theory, acoustics and digital audio. Students learn to play and recognise rhythmic patterns, scales, modes and fundamental chord progressions, with examples displayed within various notational systems. The fundamentals of digital audio are introduced, including sampling theory, as well as standard communication protocols such as MIDI. Students also examine the physical properties of sound as they relate to electronic music production, for instance in sound synthesis and effects processing.
Students are able to (1) demonstrate a theoretical understanding of the fundamental concepts of rhythm including tempo, time signatures and rhythmic subdivision; (2) recognise basic rhythmic patterns by sight and by ear, and play these back through tapping, hand-drumming or other means; (3) apply knowledge of fundamental concepts of rhythm to create and improvise with basic rhythmic patterns; (4) demonstrate a theoretical understanding of the fundamentals of scales, modes and chord progressions; (5) apply knowledge perform basic scales, modes and chord progressions on standard MIDI keyboard controller; (6) demonstrate understanding of the physical properties of sound; and (7) apply knowledge of MIDI and digital audio hardware connectivity.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) rhythm and harmony assignments; (2) rhythm and harmony proficiency tests; and (3) final exam. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr. Christopher Tonkin
Contact hours
2 hours per week (lectures and tutorials)
Unit Outline
Semester 1-2020 [SEM-1-2020]
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.