The MSc in Acoustics and Music Technology (AMT) programme is designed to allow students to develop both technical knowledge and practical experience of acoustics and musical technology.
Student feedback is highly valued. We use such feedback, together with the latest research and development in the field, to continually update the programme content and keep our courses relevant and engaging.
To get an idea of how some previous students have found the AMT MSc, a number of student feedback profiles are presented below.
Robbie Christie, AMT MSc alumnus, 2014
After completing a BSc degree in Music Technology at the University of York, I looked to further my studies within the field and saw a great opportunity with the Acoustics Group at Edinburgh. I felt that the course would be right for me due to the combination of music technology and DSP- much like what I had studied for my undergraduate degree only with a stronger focus on Acoustics.
Upon starting the MSc in Acoustics and Music Technology I found that the modules were stimulating, challenging and coincided with my interests regarding the more technical aspects of music technology. The course provided a great deal of freedom with regards to the option modules, allowing students to enrol on modules based in music, maths, physics or any other department, as long as the reason for doing so was justifiable. Weeks after completing the course I started work as a Graduate Consultant within the Acoustics, Noise and Vibration sector of an international management and consultancy provider. I can categorically say that the MSc helped develop my technical knowledge and writing skills to a level that made me far more employable. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Edinburgh and would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in acoustics, music technology and digital signal processing.
Good luck to any future applicants and many thanks to Mike, Stefan and all
the PhD students who helped along the way!
Nuria Bonet Filella, AMT MSc alumna, 2014
I completed an undergraduate degree in Music in 2012 and a masters degree in Electroacoustic Composition in 2013, both at the University of Manchester. I was very interested in science and technology as a means of approaching music composition but my classical musical background had allowed for little interaction with topics such as these. I decided to join the AMT MSc as both a challenge and a chance to learn a completely new aspect to music related sciences.
Because of my background, I had to freshen up my maths and physics to complete the tasks given; a challenge only matched by the sense of achievement when completing them. My dissertation on brass instruments gave me a fascinating insight into the acoustics of instruments that I had been using for years, which I think will influence my future work as a composer. The highlight of my year was probably choosing the module on Organology of Wind and Percussion Instruments which is a hands-on module on the study of instruments, which takes place at the University’s stunning instrument collections.
The degree has given me new interests, as I intend to pursue my research interests in organology. It has given me a new set of skills which open up a fascinating amount of possibilities for my work as composer. Finally, it gave me the confidence to apply to a PhD. I am now doing a PhD with Eduardo Miranda at ICCMR at the University of Plymouth on the sonification of physical phenomena such as dark matter.
Fabian Esqueda, AMT MSc alumnus, 2013
I moved to the UK in October 2009 to pursue a degree in Electronics and Music Technology at the University of York. During the final year of my undergraduate studies I became very interested in digital synthesis and audio effects, so after graduation I was eager to carry on with these newly found research interests and decided to join the AMT MSc programme at the University of Edinburgh.
Since day one, the course lived up to my expectations. It delivered a solid foundation in the topics of acoustics and signal processing, particularly in a musical context. The coursework, while challenging, was also very rewarding and interesting. I particularly enjoyed being able to study the underlying theory and implementation techniques behind some of my favourite audio effects and classic synthesiser sounds. Another key aspect of my time in Edinburgh was the people I met there. Both staff members and classmates were always there to support and motivate me throughout my studies.
The AMT course also allows students to experiment and showcase their creativity by engaging in projects of their own choosing. As part of my final MSc project, I decided to research the topic of virtual analogue modelling. I first became interested in the subject following a lecture by Prof. Vesa Välimäki, organised as part of the MusICA seminar series. After completing my degree I was offered a place at Aalto University in Finland, where I’m currently doing a PhD under Prof. Välimäki’s supervision. This would not have been possible without the skills I developed during the AMT program and the constant support of its staff.
Charlotte Desvages, AMT MSc alumna, 2013
I travelled from France to Edinburgh to join the AMT MSc in September 2012, having just finished an undergraduate degree in Physics. A keen interest in music, sound, and understanding how things work in general got me looking into acoustics, and the courses in Edinburgh seemed particularly attractive, as was the prospect of moving abroad for a degree.
The course is very hands-on; theoretical lectures ensure that you get a solid knowledge base, and very soon you are ready to go and do something with it. The assessment is based on projects, to be undertaken both on your own and within groups. The core courses in Acoustics and Digital Signal Processing lead to the understanding and coding of many virtual instruments and audio effects, with a strong emphasis on going the extra mile to achieve high level synthesis. I also undertook some courses in Sound Design, which gave me practical skills in sound recording, editing and mixing, applied to the moving picture. I also carried out a small experimental project on violins during second term, which was a great introduction to my bigger final project, which concerned bowed string sound synthesis.
The courses are taught by experts in the field, and the staff are very open, available, and always interested in discussing problems, projects, or new ideas, as are the numerous visiting researchers that come to Edinburgh throughout the year.
My two “big” projects during the MSc, with the support offered by the teaching staff, led me to successfully apply for a PhD position in the Acoustics and Audio Group at Edinburgh, fully funded by an Edinburgh College of Art scholarship. I’m currently working on physical modeling sound synthesis for bowed string instruments, within the NeSS project.
Michael McLoughlin, AMT MSc alumnus, 2013
Prior to my arrival on the AMT course at Edinburgh, I completed my undergraduate in Music Technology at Queen’s University Belfast. This meant that I had quite a different background to my colleagues who mainly had computer science and Physics degrees. This, at first intimated me due to the technical nature of the course, but the support from the tutors ensured I was never overwhelmed.
The work, while challenging, was also immensely fun. The course is very hands on, meaning that by the time you’ve finished the second semester, you’ve coded at least eight different physical models and audio effects. The summer project also encourages students to dive into topics that aren’t covered in the taught modules. This gave me the chance to work with ambisonic and binaural technologies.
Another great aspect of the course is the wide variety of topics you’re introduced to. As well as the topics covered in the taught modules, we were exposed to research outside our focus through the MusICA seminar series. This dealt with areas such as medical acoustics, music informatics and parallel computing of audio.
The skills I developed on the AMT course are essential to my PhD with the Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research (ICCMR) at Plymouth University. I am currently working towards developing a computational agent based model to study the cultural evolution of Humpback whale song. The AMT course guaranteed that I was equipped with the skills that are essential to my current research.
Stephen Oxnard, AMT MSc alumnus, 2012
My first venture into the subject of acoustics took place during undergraduate studies in Electronics with Music Technology Systems at the University of York. I took part in a project that sought to sonically revive a 14th century Abbey using virtual acoustic modelling techniques. I found my experience of this field of research both challenging and stimulating and I was keen to investigate it further.
The AMT course at Edinburgh provided a perfect opportunity to learn the underlying principles and practices of acoustics from renowned experts in the field. Throughout the course, fundamental theory could be applied in practise in various contexts including physical modelling, sound design and digital media ensuring that a very high level of understanding was attainable. What I found particularly excellent about this course was that the discovery and development of new ideas was not only supported, but actively encouraged at every stage of the year.
The high standard of teaching and the sharing of knowledge between staff and students will see that you gain as much experience in acoustics and music technology as is feasible in your time here.
Upon completion of the course, I found that I was in a great position to further my studies into aspects of virtual acoustics that I was exposed to during the MSc. To this end I am currently undertaking a PhD in the Audio Lab at the University of York.
Abesh Thakur, AMT MSc alumnus, 2012
I came to the AMT MSc program from India, where I had completed my undergraduate degree in Electronics and Communication engineering and worked as a Mainframe developer in a leading IT company. But I needed a career shift, and while applying for a Master’s degree, the AMT course modules looked great! Little did I know that apart from technical knowledge, doing this course would also open my eyes to the infinite possibilities presented by doing a degree abroad.
I can happily say that though the course was really intense, with assignments lined up every week, it prepares one for the opportunities ahead and keeps one on one’s toes all the time. In the second semester I was introduced to the idea of Binaural sound and HRTF’s, which really took my fancy and my final year project was to develop a mobile application for 3D sound localization.
The course has absolutely amazing professors and are very open to discussing academical as well as post study options and opportunities. I am currently now the co-founder of a startup company specializing in Audio Augmented Reality applications for mobile platforms, and I can say that this feels just like another assignment, considering the detailed structure of the course and the way it was taught to us. Thank God I had taken the decision to come thousands of miles away from home to do this course!
Toby Carpenter, AMT MSc alumnus, 2012
Before undertaking the AMT course I obtained a BEng in Electronic Engineering from the University of Leeds, which provided me with a very useful, albeit very general skill set. I feel now that I am far more knowledgeable than I was at the start of the MSc, and that I have gained many highly sought after skills, not least a high proficiency in MATLAB.
The great thing about the taught modules in the course is that you will learn a great deal about the science and mathematics of acoustics and music technology, AND, you’ll have fun doing it!
Aside from the actual classes the whole experience was really great; I got on very well with everyone in the class as well as with the teaching staff, who are excellent and treat the students more like colleagues than pupils. The camaraderie between everybody really sparks enthusiasm to work hard and come with new and exciting things.
I have just got my dream job working as a vst plugin developer for the virtual analogue specialist Arturia. I am absolutely certain that I could not have done this without having completed the AMT program. It was brilliant, and you should do it!
Benoit Alary, AMT MSc alumnus, 2011
I went into the Masters following a few years in the video game industry where I specialized in audio technologies development. Having a BSc in computer sciences, but no formal training in audio, I quickly realized that further studies would be crucial to carry out work in this field I had become passionate for.
More specifically, the MSc program at Edinburgh University really stood out to me. Having a relevant acoustics and signal processing curriculum, along with an interesting emphasis on physical modelling sound synthesis, the program provides a strong scientific basis. It can also be tailored to accommodate a variety of backgrounds and interests, which includes practical courses in sound design and graduate classes in computer sciences. These are all reasons that convinced me to embark in the Masters and why it exceeded my expectations. Since graduation, I’ve been working for one of the leading audio technology companies in the video game industry.
It’s an exciting time for audio technologies, with emerging computing capabilities and interfaces opening new realms of possibilities for interactive sounds like never before.
Michele Ducceschi, AMT MSc alumnus, 2010
I joined the MSc program in the October of 2009. At that time I had a degree in physics course with little or no experience in musical acoustics, thus I did not really know what to expect from a course entirely devoted to it.
Just before the start of classes, I had a brief meeting with the program director. I remember finding myself at great ease, talking about how my previously acquired experience in physics could actually come into play in the realm of physical modeling. This was possibly the very first time that I realised that my knowledge was actually worth something more than solving equations on paper. And indeed the whole course was very much about doing stuff, not just merely sitting down in a classroom taking notes on abstract topics.
Besides, everyone on my course came from a different background: computer scientists, musicians, engineers. This allowed us to learn in an extremely lively and stimulating ambiance, where we exchanged ideas and opinions in long and fruitful conversations.
I took classes of all sorts: some were more ‘science based’, like acoustics, signal processing, or MATLAB programming; while some others were more ‘artisitic’, like sound design and digital media. Many times we were asked to work on projects rather than writing exams, and I personally liked this way of learning. And then, of course, I spent a lot of time developing my final project, which in my case was related to physical modeling of plate vibrations.
In the end, supported by a renewed motivation, I decided to move on to a PhD course, and surprisingly enough I was accepted on the doctoral program at Ecole Polytechnique in Paris. I am now working at ENSTA under the supervision of Cyril Touze, dealing with nonlinear aspects of gongs and cymbals.
Doing the Masters was absolutely one of the best experiences in my student career.
Craig Webb, AMT MSc alumnus, 2010
The MSc course gave me the opportunity to study sound and digital audio in a highly creative, research-driven environment. The taught courses cover a wide range of topics, from the mathematical background of acoustics and sound synthesis, to audio programming and musical performance.
The best part of the course is the people you get to work with. There’s an emphasis on collaborating with fellow students, and the summer project allows you to work with world-class researchers in acoustics, physical modelling and computational science.
The MSc gave me a great starting point for my PhD research, which I’m carrying out at Edinburgh, into accelerated 3D virtual acoustics.
Alan Boyd, AMT MSc alumnus, 2009
I received a BSc in Physics from the University of Edinburgh in 2008, and graduated from the MSc in Acoustics and Music Technology in 2009. After a short period working as an acoustic consultant, in 2010 I began an electrical engineering PhD. This is jointly run between the University of Strathclyde and the Medical Research Council Institute of Hearing Research in Glasgow. My research topic is the psychoacoustics of hearing-impairment and hearing-aid signal processing.
Almost everything I learned during the AMT Master’s course has been of use to me in my subsequent work. Before studying the course, I had no experience of MATLAB programming, a program I now use every day in my research. Many of the MATLAB assignments I completed during the course were used as the basis for my initial experiments during my PhD. The courses in sound design also taught me practical techniques in sound recording and fostered a fast and efficient approach to learning how to use new hardware and software tools, both of which have been useful during my PhD and science communication work. The Master’s provides a wide knowledge base across audio and acoustics, which has given me alternative perspectives from which to view my current work in psychoacoustics and hearing-aid signal processing.
Christian Baker, AMT MSc alumnus, 2009
After graduating from a BSc in Acoustics at the University of Southampton, I applied to the Acoustics and Music Technology MSc to learn more about the digital signal processing and modelling side of acoustics. The course was organised so that as well as learning the maths and theory behind the DSP and modelling techniques, the modules required me to apply what I’d learnt to the development of musical effects and physical models in MATLAB, which really helped with my understanding of the theory, and was great fun too. I chose an MSc project that allowed me to continue this – investigating the suitability of finite difference modelling as a technique for real-time musical synthesis.
After completing the MSc in 2009, I started work as a Research Scientist in Ultrasonics at the National Physical Laboratory in London, where I work on a number of projects investigating novel technologies for medical ultrasound. I use theory and programming skills I learnt during my degrees every day, whether it’s developing MATLAB software to control measurement systems and analyse data, or using finite difference modelling packages to simulate ultrasound propagation through tissue.
Adam Hill, AMT MSc alumnus, 2008
The MSc introduced me to an incredibly wide range of subjects which were all put to good use on a number of enjoyable projects including the design of a virtual DJ setup using two Nintendo Wii remotes and an investigation into voice coil heating effects on loudspeaker performance (summer research project).
The program never seemed overly-demanding, which is in large part due to the high quality of teaching and the practical nature of the coursework. Looking back, it is amazing how much we covered in just one year! The MSc prepared me extremely well for PhD research at the University of Essex, as I found myself regularly referring back to the MSc lecture notes and Matlab programming assignments.
I completed my PhD in early 2012 and am now a lecturer in electronics and sound at the University of Derby. Examples of my research and publications can be found on my website (www.adamjhill.com).
Julian Parker, AMT MSc alumnus, 2008
The AMT program is unique in that it offers you both a rigorous grounding in the technical and scientific subjects underlying musical acoustics and music technology, and opportunities to apply those skills in artistically focussed projects. This is a rare and inspiring possibility if your interests and aptitudes lie in both areas.
Since graduating, I’ve moved on to study for a doctorate at Aalto University in Finland, published papers in international journals and conferences, and completed compositions and sound-art installations.
None of these things would have been possible without the foundation of what I learnt at Edinburgh.
Eleftheria Mylona, AMT MSc alumna, 2007
I received the B.Sc. degree in Applied Mathematical and Physical Sciences in 2006 from the National Technical University of Athens, Greece and the M.Sc. degree in Acoustics and Music Technology in 2007 from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. I am currently working toward the Ph.D. degree in Image Analysis at the University of Athens, Greece. I have co-authored 9 research articles published in international journals and conferences. (rtsimage.di.uoa.gr/emylona)
During the AMT program, I had the opportunity to meliorate my technical skills in MATLAB programming during the Digital Signal Processing course and was later able to develop novel models in the context of my Ph.D research. Throughout the Acoustics course, I had the chance to visit some of the most famous concert halls in Scotland and experience the physics of sound combined with fine architecture. I was also given the chance to be a member of a brilliant and talented team who designed an interactive installation in one of these concert halls under the Creative Sound Design course.
I would like to express my gratitude to my amazing professors who always treated me as a colleague, were always available and eager to share their knowledge and inspired me through our fruitful conversations. I was also lucky to collaborate with students from all over the world who broadened my way of thinking. I am still in touch with my most dear Scottish friends, whose accent was not a problem at all!
What an amazing year!
Paul Scullion, AMT MSc alumnus, 2007
I completed my BSc in Laser Physics and Optoelectronics in 2006 from Strathclyde University in Glasgow, and was undecided about exactly where I wanted to apply my interests and focus next. Coming from a musical background, as both my parents were professional musicians, I always had an interest in the cross-disciplinary nature of science and the arts and after learning about this new MSc in Acoustics and Music Technology I was instantly taken in.
From the outset, i immediately felt the course structure and teaching methods to be of a very high standard and also felt that each individual topic was being taught by distinguished academics who inspired me to want to learn more than the basic syllabus. For example, I had little or no experience in using MATLAB or LABView but classes in Physics-based Modelling of Music Instruments, Fourier Analysis and Digital Signal Processing, along with my final MSc thesis project, enabled me to develop skills and a broad-based understanding of these tools which I have gone on to use, sometimes on a daily basis, in my career since graduation. There was also the opportunity to carry out site-based project work within some of Edinburgh’s most historic concert halls, which I found exciting.
Since graduating in 2007, I have gone on to work for a number of technology and engineering companies utilising my skills in Acoustics obtained during the AMT MSc course. Previously, I worked for an engineering consultancy who specialised in the area of acoustics and vibration problems for oil and gas pipelines and soon I will be moving to another organisation where I will be working in the area of underwater acoustics. I believe these opportunities were made possible thanks to the the high-quality teaching and learning experiences attained from this course.
Nathan Merchant, AMT MSc alumnus, 2007
I decided to enrol in the AMT program after my BSc in Physics as it offered a great opportunity to combine physics-based study of the science of sound with more creative elements such as sound design and technologies for musical performance.
The range of activities you can get involved in as part of the MSc is diverse, and projects which bring together students from different disciplines are very rewarding and a real strength of the program.
The broad scope of the program means it can be used as a launch pad into all sorts of acoustics-related careers. Following my MSc at Edinburgh, I decided to specialise in underwater acoustics, and am now in the final year of my PhD studying the impact of human-generated underwater noise on marine life at the University of Bath. This work has taken me to international conferences, at-sea field work and publications in prestigious journals such as the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. I am still drawing on the knowledge base gained during the AMT program, be it frequency weighting of noise levels for impact assessment or sound and video editing for presentations, and would recommend it to anyone with similar interests and an open mind.