Music Technology

The School of Music offers a variety of courses, opportunities and facilities to students interested in exploring the potential of music technology. Students are able to begin with basic, foundation training in courses and progress through higher level courses to individual studies under the guidance of faculty. First-year courses cover topics such as basic acoustics, hearing theory and digital sampling theory and music notation software. By their fourth year, students can participate in courses such as scoring for film and laptop sounds and sensors. Along the way, they have the opportunity to participate in a laptop orchestra, interactive ensembles and contribute to research and development of new technology for use in performance.

Academic courses

Music 403C Special Topics: Laptop Sounds and Sensors

Music 403C Special Topics: Laptop Sounds and Sensors is an advanced fourth year research course. It is designed to develop your skills in music research through the investigation and application of digital audio and video techniques and gesture tracking of music and dance in the creation and implementation of alternative musical instruments in performance. Students will develop and use virtual instruments in the Max/MSP/Jitter software environment and will gain a deeper understanding of how sensors and alternative controllers work and how they can be combined with existing acoustic instruments and/or movement. All students will be involved in the research and creation of new instruments and all students will participate in performance.

This year the 403C course includes two weeks of research at the University of Mons intermediart lab, with the travel costs subsidized by the UBC Faculty of Arts and GoGlobal. In the first term MUSC 403C students will begin working remotely with students in Mons. In February of 2014 the class traveled to Mons, Belgium to refine and complete projects prior to presenting them in the Mons performance facilities. Upon returning to UBC students will continue to work with the students at the intermediart lab to refine the projects and then present them in Mons. Upon return to UBC the projects will be presented in Barnett Recital Hall as part of the Bang! Festival in April of 2014. 

Students in the School of Music are able to make use of the Computer Music Studio and the ICCIS Sound Studio, a bespoke facility dedicated to research in music technology.

Non-majors should check out the Minor in Applied Music Technology.

The Bang! Festival

Each year at the end of the second term, student works from the computer music course, the laptop orchestra, and individual programming projects are presented in the 8-channel surround environment of the Barnett Recital Hall. Multiple concerts are given making use of alternative controllers, acoustic musicians, dance, video, and responsive/interactive environments.

Electronic Music Studio

The UBC Computer Music Studio is a teaching studio for the use of students in the electroacoustic music, computer music, and film scoring courses. Students who have completed one or more of those courses can also use the facilities to support their compositional/course work. The CMS includes basic recording equipment, Mac workstations with appropriate DAW software, multichannel sound cards, analog mixers, projection facilities, and a stereo/octaphonic sound system.

Research and production for the Laptop Orchestra and for graduate students in technology occurs in the Sound Studio at the UBC Institute for Computing, Information and Cognitive Systems. The ICICS studio is a bespoke facility based on a ProTools recording setup, consisting of a main recording/research area, a control room, isolation booth, and workroom. It has 16 channel diffusion in the control room (two levels of 8 channels each) and the main recording area can support up to 64 individual channels of playback. Music technology research by graduate students is strongly supported in this area. This is a secure facility and access requires approval from the appropriate professor, after which training sessions must be completed.

The Roy Barnett Recital Hall is used for the presentation of many of the works created by students in the technology courses. Stereo and octaphonic sound control is available, diffused from a central point in the hall. Projection of images occurs on a 20 X 12 foot motorized screen over the stage. For Laptop Orchestra performances additional speakers are added to the stage setup.

Recording & Audio Program

UBC Music Recording & Audio is a work-study program offering a team of student technicians instruction and direct, hands-on experience in all aspects of audio and video recording and sound reinforcement through part-time employment. Student Recording & Audio Technicians record in the Roy Barnett Recital Hall, Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, and the UBC Auditorium. The Recording & Audio Facility is constantly being upgraded to reflect state-of-the-art classical music recording practice and technology.

Each year we have a number of students training and working as recording and video technicians for the School of Music. While we appoint students in August/September we respond to inquiries throughout the year and occasionally require additional technicians in January.

Applicants do not have to be Music students, but must be currently enrolled at UBC and eligible for Work Study or Work Learn (for international students) positions. All available positions are posted on the UBC Work Study/Work Learn web portal. Vast experience in recording or video is not strictly necessary but such experience will influence acceptance based on our staffing needs.

How to apply

If you are interested in a work-study position, please contact David Simpson with an un-spam-like subject-heading. Please include a cover letter, resume and any demo recordings you wish to submit. Video recording/editing experience will also be considered as we have increasing demand for these skills. We will contact applicants as soon as possible.



Banner image by Martin Dee