School of Humanities and Performing Arts

ResM Computer Music

Today, computers are absolutely essential for music. And future developments in computing and Artificial Intelligence will have an impact on all professions that involve music. Whether you’re a graduate from the arts and humanities, science and/or technology, we’ll help you to harness computing technology to develop your passion for music.

Immersed in a thriving research centre, our future-facing programme offers the opportunity to study what it takes to make an impact to the future of the music professions.

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Find out more about your eligibility for a postgraduate loan

You may now be eligible for a government loan of over £10,000 to help towards the cost of your masters degree.

Find out more about your eligibility for a postgraduate loan

Careers with this subject

Masters graduates normally proceed towards a doctoral degree either with the University or other universities in the UK and abroad. Depending on how you performed on the programme, you might qualify to progress on to a doctoral programme at the University with the ResM period counting towards the first year of the PhD. Self-employment as performers, freelance sound engineers, and various opportunities in the education sector are alternative employability routes taken by former students.

Key features

  • Work as part of a global research centre – the Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research (ICCMR) – with staff, PhD students and post-doctoral researchers from all over the world.
  • Balance your work commitments and further education with the opportunity to study part time for a Master level qualification.
  • Gain the skills necessary to progress towards studying for a doctorate degree.
  • Develop a negotiated Master’s project to develop your own research interests. Projects can range from developing approaches to composition and performance using computers, to inventing new systems for music and audio production for a variety of applications.
  • Enjoy access to music rehearsal and recording facilities, including individual practice rooms, a professional recording environment, digital audio workstations, and instrumental facilities ranging from Steinway and Bosendorfer pianos to valve guitar amps, electronic keyboards, and analogue synthesisers.
  • A range of societies and groups are on offer for students to participate, such as a gospel choir, concert band, ukulele society, gamelan group, orchestra, and many more.
  • The teaching team recognises and supports musicians from a variety of backgrounds and promotes stylistic freedom, exploration, and creative risk-taking.
  • Plymouth offers a vibrant cultural scene, and beautiful rural surroundings and sea coast. Plymouth promotes tolerance and diversity. The University is located at the heart of the city centre. It is not in a remote campus separating students from the city’s vibrant life.

Course details

  • Taught modules
  • The ResM can be studied either full or part time. You study the core modules listed on this page and attend individual tutorials with your supervisor and regular research seminars. The programme leads to either a written thesis or one combining critical writing with creative/professional practice and can be studied either full time or part time. After completing your taught modules, you continue with independent research, guided by your Director of Studies.

    Core modules
    • MARE700 Research in the Arts and Humanities

      This module provides students with research skills training and a critical awareness of different methodological approaches in the arts, humanities, cultural industries and associated fields, to enable them to make appropriate choices in their own research. It is designed to complement and support individual research projects carried out by students.

    • MARE702 Advanced Topics in Computer Music

      This module explores advanced topics in the field of sound and music computing, and music technology in general, and offers an opportunity to expose the students to the research of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research (ICCMR). Students will be introduced to trends in music practices with new technologies and will have the opportunity to gain and/or hone their theoretical and technical skills through a negotiated project.

  • Thesis and assessment
  • Throughout this time spent working towards your thesis, you are considered a full member of our research community and completely supported until you successfully complete your degree. You may attend additional training, workshops and research seminars. As a full-time ResM student, you submit your thesis after 12 months (part time after 24 months) or pay a nominal sum for up to six months’ additional writing up time (part time 12 months). Your viva voce (or oral examination) takes place following submission of your thesis.
The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

Entry requirements

For entry to postgraduate level, you should normally possess:

  • a first or upper second (2:1) degree with honours or professional qualification, recognised as being equivalent to degree standard; or
  • an ordinary degree, foundation degree, higher national diploma, or university diploma, accompanied by substantial experience in an appropriate field.

If you are an overseas applicant you can check the comparability of your qualifications with the UK equivalent through NARIC, who provide an advisory service.

English language requirement

If English is not your first language, you must have proficiency in written and spoken English (normally a minimum test score of 6.5 for IELTS, or equivalent). Given the nature of the programme, you’ll be expected to read and engage with complex theoretical texts and debates for which fluency in English is essential.

English language requirements.

Fees, costs and funding

EU applicants should refer to our dedicated Brexit webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.

Please visit tuition fees for postgraduate research for information about fees. The ResM Computer Music is in Band 2 for fees purposes.

If you are a full time student, you will pay full time fees for one year. If you have not submitted your thesis by the end of this period, then you may pay for an optional six month 'writing up' period (that is, half of the 'writing up' fee indicated on this page).

If you are a part time student, you will pay part time fees for two years. If you have not submitted your thesis by the end of this period, then you may pay for an optional one year 'writing up' period.

You are responsible for meeting all of the costs related to your own research project, beyond the resources available in the department.

This programme is eligible for a postgraduate loan.


How to apply

Application is by project proposal and evidence that you are prepared to successfully complete this project.

Your proposal must provide a suitable basis either for a written submission of 25,000 words, or creative and/or professional practice plus a contextual essay of at least 12,500 words. Your proposal should be 500 words maximum and accompanied by a recent sample of critical writing (maximum 3,000 words), which may be from a previous course.

Proposals for research that is practice-led must be accompanied by a DVD, portfolio of work or links to online documentation that indicate your readiness to pursue the project. It should take the admissions team no longer than 30 minutes to view all the visual material that you provide. These will be used to determine both your aptitude for the programme and the suitability of your proposed project, as well as the availability of an appropriate supervisor. We will also consider the ability of the department to support your research project with resources appropriate to your needs. 

Please attach your project proposal and sample of critical writing to your application,along with a brief statement explaining why you have chosen this course. All applicants will be interviewed, either in person or by Skype/telephone, prior to being accepted onto the ResM Computer Music programme.

Submitting your application

Complete your application and upload supporting documents to the Doctoral College by completing our online application form.

Questions on the application process?

We're here to help. Please contact the Doctoral College administration team and we'll be happy to assist you.

You can view or download our postgraduate research admissions policy.

If you have a disability and would like further information on the support available, please visit our Disability Services website.

The International Student Advice provides support for our international students.

Make sure that you clearly indicate at the top of your application form that you are applying for ResM.

Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research (ICCMR)

Cutting-edge research in Brain-Computer Interfacing technology, and applications of Quantum Computing and Artificial Intelligence.

Access our well-equipped studios, open plan lab and annual research seminar series.

Find out more about the centre and what we do

Research project, Edward Braund

Watch this short documentary about 'Biocomputer Music', a groundbreaking research project developed by ResM students and staff, investigating the development of bio-processors for interactive computer music and Artificial Intelligence.

RadioMe

A £2.7 million project, RadioMe uses artificial intelligence to adapt and personalise live radio, with the aim of transforming lives for people living alone with dementia. Funded by The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), it addresses key causes of hospital admission for people with dementia, such as agitation and not taking medication correctly. Led by Professor Eduardo Miranda from the University and including other university partners, it will develop a way to remix live digital broadcast so that listeners will receive personal reminders, information and music to improve quality of life and allow people to remain living independently at home for longer.

Learn more about RadioMe.

Quantum Computing for Music and Creativity

“Today, computers are absolutely essential for the development of music technology. Quantum Computing emerging as a technology game changer, which is built on the principles of subatomic physics. Forthcoming developments in Quantum Computing will definitely impact on the future of the music industry.” 

Prof. Eduardo Miranda

Cloud Chamber

Dr Alexis Kirke’s “Cloud Chamber”, a composition for violin and subatomic particles is performed at California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, USA.



Computer-Aided Algorithmic Composition

ResM Computer Music student, Aurelien Antoine created a system that helps composers to orchestrate musical ideas.

Find out more about Aurelien's work

Contemporary and experimental music concerts

ResM Computer Music students engage in the development of performances showcasing their work and collaborate with post-graduate students from dance and theatre.

ICCMR organises concerts throughout the year to showcase new technologies and creative practices developed by staff, students and associates.

Combining artistic creativity with scientific development

The sounds of Queen Canute

Former ICCMR PhD student, Nuria Bonet, now a Lecturer in Music at the University talks about her project on musification of data her composition Queen Canute, for seagulls and clarinet. 

Listen to Queen Canute

Chart personal experiences of epilepsy through music

ResM Computer Music student and former Levellers guitarist Alan D Miles, uses music to chart personal experiences of epilepsy.

Read more about the project

Innovation

University of Plymouth sonic artist invents a unique, portable digital instrument that he hopes will enable everyone to have access to music-making.

Find more more about the instrument

Featured publications

The ResM Computer Music team have published books that are used to teach the topic throughout the world.

  • New Digital Music Instruments: Control and Interaction Beyond the Keyboard – Eduardo Miranda and Marcelo Wanderley

    New Digital Music Instruments: Control and Interaction Beyond the Keyboard – Eduardo Miranda and Marcelo Wanderley
  • Computer Sound Design: Synthesis Techniques and Programming – Eduardo Reck Miranda

    Computer Sound Design: Synthesis Techniques and Programming – Eduardo Reck Miranda
  • Computer Music With Computers – Eduardo Reck Miranda

    Computer Music With Computers – Eduardo Reck Miranda
  • Readings in Music and Artificial Intelligence – Eduardo Reck Miranda

    Readings in Music and Artificial Intelligence – Eduardo Reck Miranda
  • A-life for Music: Music and Computer Models of Living Systems – Eduardo Reck Miranda

    A-life for Music: Music and Computer Models of Living Systems – Eduardo Reck Miranda
  • Guide to Brain-Computer Music Interfacing – Eduardo Reck Miranda and Julien Castet

    Guide to Brain-Computer Music Interfacing – Eduardo Reck Miranda and Julien Castet
  • Evolutionary Computer Music – Eduardo Reck Miranda and John Al Biles

    Evolutionary Computer Music – Eduardo Reck Miranda and John Al Biles
  • Thinking Music: The inner workings of a composer's mind – Eduardo Reck Miranda

    Thinking Music: The inner workings of a composer's mind – Eduardo Reck Miranda
  • Guide to Unconventional Computing for Music – Eduardo Reck Miranda

    Guide to Unconventional Computing for Music – Eduardo Reck Miranda

Facilities

You’ll have access to ICCMR’s well-resourced research lab and music studios. ICCMR is located in the newly completed multi-million pound building, The House, where you’ll mix with other staff and students from across the arts faculty.

This creates opportunities for interdisciplinary and practice-based research.

Find out more about The House

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