University of Calgary
UofC Navigation

Sonic Arts

Sonic Arts involves the study and creative use of sound employing current electronic and digital technologies. It involves an exploration of sound and music in which expressive boundaries are expanded and sometimes shattered and reinvented; where technology serves as a tool, a concept, and a means with which to investigate and create; where technology and process and the capacity to support artistic endeavour through current tools and systems may be the object of investigation; where social discourse about the role of sound in all facets of human life is a foundation for understanding the arts and acts of communication.

Sonic Arts encompasses a diverse range of activities and areas of study, each of which begins with the phenomenon of sound, its apprehension, its design and organization, and leads to the development of unique listening skills and a creative engagement with the materials of our sounding world. These areas include:
computer music, electroacoustic music, acousmatic art, audiovisual art, sound effects and design, sound installations, soundscape composition, interactivity and live electronic music performance, algorithmic composition, live instrumental audio processing, spatial audio design, sound recording, music technology, acoustics and psychoacoustics, telematic systems and performance, improvisation, digital instrument and interface design, media arts and society, music perception, composition systems design, electronic ensemble performance, sound analysis, sound audio culture studies.

Degrees and Courses

Minor in Sonic Arts
Concentration in Sonic Arts
MMus and PhD in Sonic Arts

MUSI 351 – Sonic Arts
MUSI 355 – Sound Recording
MUSI 451 – Electroacoustic Music
MUSI 453 – Computer Applications in Music
MUSI 551 – Telemusic (Networked Music Performance)
MUSI 651 – Selected Topics in Electroacoustic Music
MUSI 653 – Projects in Computer Music
MUSI 751 – Advanced Topics in Electroacoustic Music
MUSI 753 – Advanced Projects in Computer Music
MUPF 227/327 – New Music Ensemble


Students in Sonics Arts pursue individual and collaborative research and creative projects including:

  • electroacoustic/acousmatic compositions
  • interactive performances and installations
  • live electronics with instruments
  • performances over high-speed networks
  • software and interface design for composition and performance
  • sound design and analysis
  • research and creative work with sound and image

Sonic Arts students have opportunities to perform and present their creative projects and research at concerts, gallery presentations and colloquia and are encouraged to present their work at national and international events.