Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

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Unit Overview


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.

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
  • Level 1 option in the Contemporary Popular Music major sequence
  • Level 1 elective

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.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr. Christopher Tonkin
Contact hours
2 hours per week (lectures and tutorials)
  • 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.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.