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2010/1 Module Catalogue
Module Provider: Music and Sound Recording Short Name: MU3.PORTFOL
Level: HE3 Module Co-ordinator: MASON RD Dr (Music Record)
Number of credits: 50 Number of ECTS credits: 25
Module Availability
Year long
Assessment Pattern

 Coursework (50% of total assessment)

The Technical Project component of this module (see below)



Examination (50% of total assessment)

The Portfolio of Recordings component of this module (see below)




Assessment Criteria

Your Portfolio is to contain examples of your own unaided recordings.  This does not mean that you will have had no physical help with the recordings, or that there will have been no production input by others.  However, it does mean that you must have made all the recording and editing decisions; the decisions about which microphones to use, their directivity patterns and positions must have been made solely by you, though others may have rigged them under your direction; you must have directed the recording sessions; your hands must have been on the faders and other operational desk controls; you must have done all the editing, post-production, programming or other signal manipulation yourself and without help.  If in doubt, consult the Module Convenor for guidance.


The examiners will assess not only the musical, technical and operational excellence of your portfolio, but also the suitability of the items you ch/font>oose, their duration, the duration of the pauses between them, the positioning (both technical and musical) of any fades or edits, the relative level of each item, the item order, your standards of judgement (both technical and musical), and the range of your expertise that your chosen items demonstrate.  Since the examiners will, therefore, be assessing the production of your Portfolio as an entity (in the same way as one might assess the production of a CD or broadcast) you should pay careful attention to these aspects of your tape.


It is essential that you consult TOI 7 Documentation Required with Audio Recordings before you start to prepare your Portfolio.

Replay Conditions

The Examiners will listen to each CD in private, normally in the Departmental Listening Room (TB7).  However, each candidate should be available to meet the Examiners immediately after their tape portfolio has been heard, to discuss points of information.


The loudspeaker level in the replay room will be adjusted using a recording of non-coherent two-channel pink noise.  A CD of this signal is available for loan from the Stores Technician.  The CD is recorded at such a level that the CD machines’ meters should read  –14dBFS, and the margin display reads  –14 dB.  The tape will be played back with noise fed to both speakers at the same level, so that, when measured with a B&K SPL meter set to “slow” and with the meter at seated head height and pointing along the centre line of the loudspeakers, the level at the listening position is 70 dBA.

Portfolio media details:

Format and copies


The preferred recording system is CD.  Each item on the CD should begin at a Start ID, so the first programme item is at ID1, the second at ID2, etc. Ensure that there is at least 30 seconds of silence on the end of the final programme item. Following this, the last ID should include a track of department standard tones (see TOI 12). If you wish to use any format other than CD, you must obtain the agreement of the Module Convenor well in advance.


You must submit 2 copies of your CD.  One copy will be made available for loan to other students in future academic years. Both copies should be clearly marked with your name, the year, and “Final-year Portfolio of Recordings”. The CDs should be recorded to the current Departmental standards (see TOIs 4 and 12).


It is essential that you consult TOI 7 Documentation Required with Audio Recordings for information regarding the documentation that must accompany your Portfolio.


The CDs should be well labelled and carry a standard Recording Number.  In particular, your name should appear on the shell and box.  Neither CD copies will be returned to you, so if you want to keep a copy for your own use you should make the copy before you submit the Portfolio.


A typewritten/typeset document, detailing the tape contents must accompany your tape.  In addition to the requirements of TOI 7 Documentation required with Audio Recordings it must contain: 


1          A Front Cover which clearly states


  • Your Name
  • The Year
  • That it is the documentation to accompany your Portfolio e.g. by having “Final-Year Portfolio of Recordings” or some other suitable words on the page.

You may add other information if you wish.


2          A Contents Page, containing


  • The (CD) Absolute Time in minutes and seconds at which each item starts
  • The duration of each item in minutes and seconds
  • The ID number of each programme item (the first programme item must be at ID1, the second at ID2, etc; tones should be the last ID after the final programme item)
  • The title of each item (including tones and any other voice idents.)
  • The total duration (in minutes and seconds) of the programme items on the tape, and the Absolute Time of the end of the final item (not including the final 30 seconds of silence nor the tones).


3          For each programme item, a description complying with TOI 7.



4          Written permission to use the item from the copyright holder, if this is not the University.



Also see the entry under Content, above, for more details.

Technical Project component



You must submit a written progress report to your supervisor by the end of week 12 of Semester 1.  There will be a reduction of up to 5% in the final Project mark (i.e. the Coursework component of this module) if the report is not submitted by then.  The report should include a bibliography, a draft section of the literature review, and a plan of the remaining work with an approximate timescale – it is likely that the progress report will be between four and six sides of A4 long.

Assessment Criteria:

Final-year Technical Projects should aim to display the following qualities.  List A contains basic qualities that are normally expected of any successful project/dissertation.  List B contains qualities normally expected in some measure for a mark in the upper-second and first-class honours categories.  Please note that there is no hierarchy within the two lists.


List A


           clarity of organisation

           knowledge of pertinent literature

           accuracy of information

           presentational elegance

           accuracy and consistency of citation

           literary elegance


List B


           independence of thought

           critical acumen

           cogent argumentation

           methodological coherence

           experiment design (if relevant)

           experiment analysis (if relevant)

           depth, originality or enterprise


A mark in the range 70-80 will normally require a high standard in List B including excellence in at least 5 of the qualities, as well as a high standard in List A.  Marks in excess of 80 are awarded only to work of distinct originality that approaches the standard required for publication in a refereed journal.


A mark in the range 60-70 will normally require a fair standard in List B including a good standard in at least 4 of the qualities, as well as a good standard in at least three of the qualities in List A and a fair standard in the remainder.


A mark in the range 50-60 will normally require an adequate standard in List B and a fair standard in List A.


A mark in the range 40-50 will normally require an adequate standard in at least one of the qualities in List B, but is likely to be inadequate in one or more of the remaining qualities.  Additionally it will normally require an adequate standard in at least three of the qualities in List A.


A mark in the range 35-40 (fail) will normally be inadequate in List A and List B, and seriously inadequate in at least one of the qualities in List B.


A mark below 35 (a bad fail) will be seriously inadequate in most qualities in both lists.


Your project will be blind-marked by an Examiner and a Co-examiner who will be members of the academic staff of the Department, and will be made available to the External Examiner. 


Note that tutorial advice and guidance is a normal part of the teaching process; seeking help from your tutor will not reduce your marks.



The project must be your own work.  Therefore, any use of other peoples' work must be credited with a reference; references must be identified using the Departmental standard for citation (see Citation: Departmental Model which is published as an appendix in the Programme Handbook, and as a downloadable PDF document on the Departmental web site) with author’s name and the year in the main body of the text, with a full list of references at the end of the project.  Passages which are direct quotes of other peoples' work should be marked appropriately in the text (e.g. with inverted commas and indented text in a different font).  Additionally, all sources of information (whether direct quotations or not) should be clearly identified with a citation.  You should be careful not to infringe any copyright; this may mean that you will need to re-draw diagrams taken from other sources.


See also Appendix 3 (Academic Misconduct and Plagiarism: Guidance Note) of the Programme handbook.

Project Details:



An abstract, not exceeding 300 words, must be included immediately after the title page.  It should be written so as to be suitable for separate publication (and thus should not include citations referenced in the main references list).  You must, in addition, submit one further copy of your abstract.  This further copy of your abstract should also contain your name, the year of production, and the project title; a copy will be sent to the Association of Professional Recording Services, who may publish it in the APRS News; this is a condition of the APRS Jacques Levy Prize for the best Tonmeister Project.  This copy of your abstract should be made available to the Department Administration Office as a software file on CD or by email attachment.  This will later be used to catalogue and promote the contents of your project.




Clearly the length will vary with the subject and its treatment.  However, between 10,000 and 15,000 words will be needed to do justice to most choices unless the project contains a considerable amount of original research or a substantial number of recorded examples.  There is no formal word limit, but you should note that long wordy projects will generally score much lower marks that short, concise ones.




The text must be printed or typed on A4 paper.  There should be a left hand margin of at least 1 inch.  The pages must be sequentially and contiguously numbered, the contents pages and (if appropriate) list of illustrations or figures, list of tables, acknowledgements etc., using lower-case roman numerals (i, ii, iii, iv, ....etc.); the main body of the project using Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4, ....etc).  The project is to be bound between standard University of Surrey covers, with the title of the project, your name and the year on the front cover.  Standard proofs or the derivation of well established scientific formula should, if included, be presented in an appendix and not as part of the main text.


Number and format of Copies


You must submit 2 paper copies of your Project, one may be a photocopy of the other.  Additionally, you must submit a further copy as a software file on CD.  You may include the copy of your Abstract, mentioned earlier, as a file on this CD.  The format of the files which you submit on CD should be PDF – please check that it opens properly and displays correctly on a recent version of Adobe Acrobat Reader (such as is available on most of the university PCs in the library or AP computer labs).  Files must not be password protected.  If you need to use any other file format, or if these formats are for any reason inadequate or unavailable to you, then you should seek the approval of an alternative format from the Module Convenor at the earliest opportunity.  PDF copies of these files will be made available by FTP download from the Departmental web server for the benefit of future Tonmeisters.


Cost of Production


The Department will bear the cost of making the photocopy of your project, provided that it is made on the Department's own photocopier, but you must meet all other production costs yourself.  It may be possible for the Department to meet all or some research or equipment costs which are incurred as a direct result of the work you undertake on the project, but only if application is made to your Project Supervisor before the costs are incurred.  Retrospective applications will not be considered under any circumstances. 

Dates of Submission

You should agree the subject matter and a working title with a lecturer and inform the course convenor of this by the end of Week 8 of Semester 1.  You must submit a written progress report to your Project Supervisor by the end of Week 12 of Semester 1.  Failure to do so may lead to a reduction of up to 5% in your final Project mark.


Both paper copies of the completed project, and the CD copy of the complete project and abstract, must be submitted to the Department Administration Office by 1200 noon on the Monday of week 5 of Semester 2.  Late submission will be penalised in the same way as coursework, and will also be reported to the External Examiner.


Module Overview
HE1 and HE2 Recording Techniques
Module Aims

This module represents the major specialisations which you will undertake during your final-year, and is in two distinct parts.  The Portfolio of Recordings gives you operational experience to build on the previous parts of the course, and provides experience relevant to a career in professional recording, whereas the Technical project allows you to research a subject of your own choosing to a depth not possible during other parts of the course.




Learning Outcomes

After completing the Portfolio of Recordings component of this module you should be able to:

·        Plan and manage any type of musical recording session

·        Make recordings to professional standards of any type of music

·        Edit session recordings to the standard necessary to produce CD masters

·        Assemble a compilation tape of a variety of musical styles applying good production standards.


After completing the Technical Project component of this module you should be able to:

·        Demonstrate your ability to search the published literature to obtain relevant references

·        Demonstrate significant scholarship in the area of your chosen subject

·        Write a major technical report in an academically satisfactory yet readable way

·        Show your propensity for postgraduate study.

Module Content

Portfolio of Recordings component

 You should include as wide a range of musical and recorded styles as is possible within the limits of time and number of items (see Methodology).  There must be at least one item of each of the following:

  • A large scale "classical" item recorded on location
  • A "classical" item recorded under studio session conditions, and subsequently edited
  • A studio multi-tracked "pop" session

The remaining items can be of any genre.


As far as possible the items should demonstrate different facets of your skill.  No more than two of these items should be related to your Professional Year employment.  If any items are include for which neither you nor the University holds the copyright in the recording, then written permission from the copyright holder, allowing the item to be used in your Portfolio must be included with the documentation you submit.  This permission will not be required for items recorded as part of the Tonmeister Course using equipment owned by the University, as the rights in such recordings are already vested in the University.  However, recordings made for other clients or record labels will not be so covered, and will require specific permission.


It is essential that you consult TOI 7 Documentation Required with Audio Recordings before you start to prepare your Portfolio. 

Technical Project component

This will be a piece of literature-based research, but reports of your own experimental work to support (or otherwise) the published literature are actively encouraged.  You should discuss any experimental work you intend to carry out with your tutor at as early a stage as possible, to ensure that it is possible, likely to yield a satisfactory result, within your and the Department's capabilities, and not too time consuming.


During your tutorials you will also receive advice on developing your self-directed learning and research skills, as well as assistance with queries resulting from your reading / experimentation.






Methods of Teaching/Learning

                                                        Portfolio of Recordings

As you will make recordings under your own direction it is difficult to be precise about time.  However, as this component is effectively worth 25 credits, it is likely that you will spend an average of about eight hours per week on your portfolio.


You should attempt to demonstrate the range and variety of recordings that you have made throughout your time on the course.  To this end you should aim for a total duration of about 30 minutes.  20 minutes is an absolute minimum; 40 minutes is too long.  You should be able to demonstrate the range of your ability with 7 or 8 items.

Technical Project component

Tutorial supervision will be provided by one of the academic staff from the IoSR.  The quantity and frequency of such sessions will be determined by you and your supervisor.  Whilst a certain minimum of contact time is expected — an average of about half an hour per fortnight — it is recognised that the amount of supervision necessary will vary from person to person.


The Technical Project component carries a large proportion of your degree marks, and therefore its choice warrants careful consideration.  You must make an appointment to see one of the Sound Recording lecturers towards the beginning of Semester 1 to discuss the subject of your Project.


You must inform the Module Convenor of the agreed topic and working title by the end of Week 8 of Semester 1.  At this stage you will be allocated a project supervisor who will provide project supervision for the remainder of the year.


You must submit a written progress report to your supervisor by the end of week 12 of Semester 1.  There will be a reduction of up to 5% in the final Project mark (i.e. the Coursework component of this module) if the report is not submitted by then.  The report should include a bibliography, a draft section of the literature review, and a plan of the remaining work with an approximate timescale – it is likely that the progress report will be between four and six sides of A4 long.


Selected Texts/Journals
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