Course detail

Electronic Musical Instruments

FEKT-BPC-HELAcad. year: 2019/2020

he course focuses on analogue and digital synthesis of audio signals, analogue and digital communication interfaces in music electronics, principles and structure of electronic musical instruments and samplers and their individual parts, and file formats for the transfer of musical information. Laboratory exercises are focused on working with hardware and software analog modelling synthesizers, samplers and other types of electronic musical instruments andimplementation of sound signals synthesis in Reaktor software. Computer exercises are focused on design and implementation of digital audio signal synthesis algorithms in Matlab and C ++.

Learning outcomes of the course unit

- explain basic analog and digital methods audio signals synthesis,
- describe hardware and data transfer of analog and digital communication interface in musical electronics
- describe the structure of the analog modelling instrument and sampler
- explain the principle of the keyboard of electronic musical instrument, wind and string controllers and special control elements,
- design the structure of the digital electronic musical instrument for the given method of synthesis
- implement a software electronic music instrument using function blocks


The knowledge of basic laws and quantities in electrical circuits is required as well as the knowledge of the characteristics of electric circuit elements, circuit behaviour with inertia elements, periodical and non-periodical signal spectra, continuous- and discrete-time systems. The student who enrols on the course should be able to use instruments for the measurement of electrical voltage, waveform generators and oscilloscopes.


Not applicable.

Recommended optional programme components

Not applicable.

Recommended or required reading

Russ, M., Sound Synthesis and Sampling. Focsal Press, 1996. ISBN 0-240-51429-7 (EN)
Forró, D., MIDI - komunikace v hudbě. Grada, Praha 1993. (CS)
Forró, D., Počítače a hudba,Grada, Praha, 1994. ISBN: 80-85623-57-9 (CS)
Sýkora, R., Krutílek, F., Včelař, J., Elektronické hudební nástroje a jejich obvody. SNTL, Praha, 1981. (CS)

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Teaching methods depend on the type of course unit as specified in article 7 of the BUT Rules for Studies and Examinations.
- Lectures provide the explanation of basic principles, subject methodology, examples of problems and their solutions.
- Laboratory and computer exercises support practical mastering of themes presented in lectures. Active participation of students is required.
Participation at lectures is recommended. Participation at other ways of instruction is checked.
Course is taking advantage of e-learning (Moodle) system.

Assesment methods and criteria linked to learning outcomes

Evaluation of study results follows the Rules for Studies and Examinations of BUT and the Dean's Regulation complementing the Rules for Studies and Examinations of BUT. Up to 25 points are awarded for elaboration of all laboratory exercises and two individual work. The minimal scope of the elaboration of particular laboratory exercises and complementary questions are specified by a regulation issued by the guarantor of the course and updated for every academic year. A maximum of 15 points is awarded for completing individual work in computer exercises. Up to 60 points are awarded for the final oral examination and it is necessary to get at least 30 points for its successful completion.

Language of instruction


Work placements

Not applicable.

Course curriculum

1. History of musical electronics
2. Linear synthesis of audio signals, additive and subtraction methods
3. Digital synthesis, digital oscillators and wavetable methods, methods of hybrid synthesis.
4. Non-linear synthesis of audio signals, shaping and modulation methods
5. Mathematical and physical modeling of musical instruments.
6. Analog and digital communication interfaces in music electronics, standard file formats for music information transfer.
7. Electronic musical instrument, virtual analog synthesizer, polyphonic and multitimbral musical instruments.
8. Samplers, real-time pitch shifting, vertical and horizontal zones.
9. Computer exercises: Digital linear synthesis of audio signals
10. Computer exercises: Digital non-linear synthesis of audio signals
11. Computer exercises: Mathematical and physical modeling of musical instruments
12. Computer exercises: Implementation of software synthesizer
13. Computer exercises: Individual project


The aim of the course is to make students familiar with the operation principle and use of analog and digital music electronics.

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

It is obligatory to work through all laboratory exercises in regular or alternative terms and design own software synthesizer to complete the course. Other forms of checked instruction are specified by a regulation issued by the guarantor 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, summer semester, 5 credits, compulsory-optional
    specialization AUDB-TECH , 3. year of study, summer semester, 5 credits, compulsory-optional

  • Programme EEKR-CZV lifelong learning

    branch ET-CZV , 1. year of study, summer semester, 5 credits, compulsory-optional

Type of course unit



14 hours, optionally

Teacher / Lecturer

Exercise in computer lab

12 hours, compulsory

Teacher / Lecturer

Laboratory exercise

26 hours, compulsory

Teacher / Lecturer


eLearning: opened course