Course detail

Creating Artificial Sound

FEKT-BPC-TUZAcad. year: 2019/2020

In this course, students learn about the types of syntheses and other "artificial" methods of sound creation and the structure of synthetic sound sources (generation and modulation circuits, etc.) in the case of analog, analog-digital and digital synthesizers and samplers in terms of their compositional use.

Learning outcomes of the course unit

The student is able to:
- explain the principle of additive and subtractive synthesis of sound,
- name modulation syntheses of sound and explain their principle,
- explain the principle of shape and granular synthesis of sound,
- describe the use of sampling audio signals in the synthesis of sound,
- describe the modulation circuits used in audio synthesis and enumerate their use,
- describe the MIDI interface, name the types of messages used, and describe their uses,
- name the types of MIDI controllers and describe them,
- describe the tuning of electro-acoustic instruments and name methods of tuning hardware and software synthesizers,
- describe ways of creating "artificial" sound,
- describe interactive electronics and explain some solutions.


The knowledge of basic concepts of musical acoustics, tempo, expression and dynamic signs, and musical instruments tuning is required as well as musical intervals, scales and modes, chords and basic harmonic connections, and timbres. Students who enrol on the course should be able to analyze song regularities and assess the implications for the interpretation.


Not applicable.

Recommended optional programme components

Not applicable.

Recommended or required reading

Kaduch, Miroslav: Soudobá hudební tvorba s využitím počítačů. MKS, Ostava, 1989. (CS)
Kopecký, Pavel: Základy elektronického zvuku a jeho kreativní zpracování. AMU, Praha, 2008. ISBN 978-8073311216 (CS)
Rataj, Michal: Elektroakustická hudba a vybrané koncepty radioartu. KANT AMU, Praha, 2007. ISBN 978-8086970318 (CS)
Vrzal, Martin: Střih záznamu hudby. AMU, Praha, 2007. ISBN 978-80-7331-114-8 (CS)

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Teaching methods depend on the type of course unit as specified in the article 7 of BUT Rules for Studies and Examinations.
- Lectures consist of an explanation of basic principles, supplemented by a practical demonstration of methods of synthesis and audio samples.
- Exercises support practical acquiring of themes presented at lectures in form of practical work with active participation of students.
Participation at lectures is recommended. Participation at other ways of instruction is checked.

Assesment methods and criteria linked to learning outcomes

Evaluation of study results follows Rules for Studies and Examinations of BUT and Dean's Regulation to the Rules for Studies and Examinations of BUT. Credit is given for creating two short individual compositions. Up to 100 points is given for the final oral examination and it is necessary to get at least 50 points for its successful completion.

Language of instruction


Work placements

Not applicable.

Course curriculum

1. Overview of types of synthesis and other "artificial" methods of sound creation: history, an overview of synthesizer circuits, the basic division of types of synthesis.
2. Generating circuits: additive synthesis.
3. Generating circuits: subtractive synthesis.
4. Generating circuits: modulation synthesis (FM synthesis).
5. Generating circuits: modulation synthesis (amplitude modulation, ring modulation).
6. Generating circuits: waveshaping synthesis (nonlinear waveshaping, phase distortion).
7. Generating circuits: waveshaping synthesis (direct creation of waveform).
8. Generating circuits: granular synthesis.
9. Generating circuits: sampling.
10. Modulation circuits: amplifiers.
11. Modulation circuits: filter.
12. Modulation circuits: LFO.
13. Modulation circuits: amplitude and timbre envelope.
14. The MIDI interface in general.
15. Types of MIDI sound controllers: the keyboard.
16. Types of MIDI sound controllers: string, wind and other controllers.
17. The tuning of electro-acoustic instruments in general: types of tuning.
18. The tuning of electro-acoustic instruments: ways of tuning hardware and software synthesizers.
19. The tuning of electro-acoustic instruments: other ways of tuning hardware synthesizers.
20. Other ways of creating "artificial" sound: sound processing in general (basic types of effects).
21. Other ways of creating "artificial" sound: processing of acoustic and electro-acoustic sound.
22. Other ways of creating "artificial" sound: the conversion of a variety of non-musical data to sound signals (types of hardware and software solutions in general).
23. Other ways of creating "artificial" sound: the conversion of a variety of non-musical data to sound signals (specific examples).
24. Interactive Electronics: types of hardware and software solutions in general.
25. Interactive Electronics: specific examples.
26. Multimedia.


The aim of the course is to familiarize students with the types of syntheses and other artificial ways of creating sound, not only in terms of their technical implementation, but especially in terms of their potential artistic uses, with the MIDI interface, interactive electronics and multimedia, and creative use.

Specification of controlled education, way of implementation and compensation for absences

To obtain the credit it is necessary to complete at least 10 exercises during semester. Other forms of the checked instructions are specified by a regulation issued by the guarantee of the course and updated for every academic year.

Classification of course in study plans

  • Programme BPC-AUD Bachelor's

    specialization AUDB-ZVUK , 3. year of study, winter semester, 5 credits, compulsory-optional

Type of course unit



26 hours, optionally

Teacher / Lecturer

Fundamentals seminar

26 hours, compulsory

Teacher / Lecturer