To view the Spring 2023 Academic Calendar, go to www.sfu.ca/students/calendar/2023/spring.html.
Music and Sound Major
The bachelor of fine arts (BFA) with a major in music and sound is renowned for its innovative and experimental approach to music and sound through its focus on contemporary composition and creative music making. Given the program’s unique position within an interdisciplinary contemporary art school, students have opportunities to engage and collaborate with film, dance, theatre, and visual arts as part of their core training.
Students whose interest in music is related primarily to its historical, critical, or theoretical aspects should consider the Art, Performance and Cinema Studies major program which leads to a bachelor of arts degree. Contact the school's general office for information about entry to specific music courses.
Program and course admission is contingent upon University admission. Contact Student Services for admission procedures, requirements and deadlines. Entry to all programs and to many courses is by audition, interview or application. Contact the school's office for information on procedures and deadlines or visit our website.
Although the University operates on a trimester system, most CA courses are planned in a two term (fall and spring) sequence. Consequently, students enter in the fall term (September) and are advised to contact the school in the preceding January for program entry and requirements information.
Direct entry in first year is by interview. Intended majors and internal transfer students may apply for admission after completing CA 140, 143, 144, and achieving a B (or higher) in CA 145 and CA 146.
Transfer Credit and Advanced Standing
Unassigned or general elective (type 2 and 3, respectively) transfer credit awarded for courses completed at other recognized post-secondary institutions will not automatically entitle students to advanced standing in the school’s programs. Advanced standing is generally given on an individual basis as a result of an audition or interview.
About the School’s Course Offerings
Students are encouraged to take advantage of interdisciplinary offerings within the school. As many programs depend on a continuing sequence of courses completed in order, students should plan carefully to gain the maximum benefit and efficiency from their study.
Note that not all courses are offered every term and several are offered on a rotational basis, i.e. every third or fourth term. An advisor is available to help plan study programs.
Students are reminded that the school is an interdisciplinary contemporary arts department, and are strongly advised to acquaint themselves with the many disciplinary courses that are available.
Special Topics Courses
The subject matter (and prerequisites) of special or selected topics courses vary by term.
Prior Approval Prerequisite
Where a prerequisite is or includes ‘prior approval,’ approval must be obtained before enrolling in the course. Contact the school for further information.
Students complete 120 units, as specified below.
Academic Continuance Policy
All students who successfully complete the acceptance process within the School for the Contemporary Arts are offered the status of “Major” in a specific area of study entering the first year. In order to remain a major, all students are required to maintain a cumulative GPA in CA courses of 2.67. Students that fall below the 2.67 will have a limited time (see process below) to bring the average up before losing their status as a major.
All SCA student GPA levels will be evaluated at the end of each academic year, normally at the end of the Spring semester. A student who falls below the required cumulative GPA in CA courses of 2.67 will be notified of their probation status as a major with a limited time to adjust their CA GPA. Students will need to meet with the Area Coordinator and Advisor and plan their academic career for either re-establishing the Major or pursuing an FCAT BA with a double minor program. If the student does not bring the cumulative GPA in CA courses to 2.67 in the allotted time, he/she will be dropped from the major. If the student is in first or second year of study within the major and falls below the required cumulative GPA in CA courses of 2.67, the student will have two semesters to bring up their average to 2.67. If the student is in third year of their major, they will have one semester to bring their average to 2.67. Students who lose their status as a major in the SCA will have the option of pursuing the extended minor as part of the double minor BA option in FCAT, or via other options in the university. In extraordinary circumstances, the area coordinator and director of the school will review academic continuance policy cases.
Lower Division Requirements
Students complete a minimum of 45 units, including
Two core courses below
Introduces the many ways artists have employed moving images across artistic disciplines. By the completion of the course students should have a good sense of both the historical innovations and traditions in moving-image arts as well as the use of moving images in the contemporary art scene. Students with credit for FPA 186 may not take this course for further credit.
An introduction to the techniques of artistic composition as experienced in a collaborative interdisciplinary studio environment. The emphasis is on the creation, analysis and critique of new compositions created in collaborative groups by students in dance, music, theatre, film/video and visual art. Prerequisite: One of CA (or FPA) 122, 130, 145, 150, 160, 170. Students with credit for FPA 285 may not take this course for further credit.
Tu, Th 12:30 PM – 4:20 PM
GCA 4210, GOLDCORP
and all of
Looks at the issues involved in being a creative musical artist in the 21st century. Topics include historical context, race and gender, the role and influence of politics, music and identity, appropriation, art music, functional music, and hybrid practices. May be of particular interest to students in other departments. Breadth-Humanities.
A practical introduction to the foundations of sound and music from a variety of perspectives including but not limited to acoustics, psychoacoustics, western music harmony and ear training as well as the basics of sound synthesis and digital audio editing. Emphasis will be working towards a practical application in a creative/expressive context. Prerequisite: Acceptance into the major, or permission of instructor. Corequisite: CA 145 or permission of instructor.
An introduction to the methods of creative composition in diverse contexts. A hands-on sound and music-making experience through the exploration of digital audio workstations, composing for performance featuring objects and DIY instruments, approaches to music annotation/scoring/scripting, as well as exposure to new work and artists via in-depth analysis and discussion. Students will be required to attend a weekly area-wide seminar where the practice of composition will be discussed. As CA 145 is a limited capacity studio course, first seats are reserved for accepted Music and Sound Majors but additional seats are available. If you are not a Music and Sound Major, but wish to take this course with the intention of considering the Major, please contact the SCA Undergraduate Academic Advisor at email@example.com. Corequisite: CA 143.
A collaborative creation-performance course in which students design and produce creative projects collectively in varied small/large group configurations. Forces involved can include any mix of instruments/objects/electronics designed toward collective live performance, sound sculpture/installation, or any other type of sound-based experience. May be co-taught across other SCA areas as an interdisciplinary model. Prerequisite: CA 140, 144, 146.
Project based composition tutorials, putting into practice personal tools accumulated in music/sound labs. Projects can engage any combination of resources/approaches, including DIY performance, fixed media, installation, live electronics, the Ensemble in Residence, or in collaboration with students in other disciplines. Students will be required to attend a weekly area-wide seminar where the practice of composition will be discussed. Prerequisite: CA 140, 144, and achieving a B (or higher) in CA 145 and CA 146.
An introduction to the practice, techniques and concepts underlying contemporary electronic music fixed media composition, with an emphasis on facilitating a personal creative approach. Process-focused exercises will develop creative fluency in studio composition working with digital audio workstations, field recording, studio recording and editing techniques, digital audio processing, and sound synthesis. Exposure to new work and artists working in studio-related practices will serve as context and backdrop. Prerequisite: CA 140, 144, 146 or permission of instructor. Quantitative.
and two of
An introduction to coding software for creative outcomes. Students will be introduced to basic algorithmic concepts used to generate and process music, sound, and fixed- and moving-image. Sensors and audio/video analysis will be introduced. The course will also include introduction to practical applications in generative art processes. Prerequisite: CA 143 or permission of instructor.
Focuses on compositional projects specific to the school’s current Ensemble in Residence. A compositional understanding of performance practice will be explored through the students’ own projects, including chamber music performance, instrumental techniques, orchestration, notation, integration with optional amplification and electronics (if relevant), rehearsal and annotation techniques. Prerequisite: CA 146.
Practical and theoretical study of music for gamelan ensemble, based on, but not limited to, traditional Javanese music. This course is designed as an introduction to the study of the music of non-Western cultures and as a method of developing ensemble musicianship. May be of particular interest to students in other departments. May be repeated once for credit. Prerequisite: Prior approval.
A specific topic in music which is not otherwise covered in-depth in regular courses. The work may be practical, theoretical or a combination of the two, depending on the particular topic in a given term. May repeat for credit. Prerequisite: CA (or FPA) 140 and/or prior approval. Students with credit for FPA 249 may not take this course for further credit.
and one additional CA studio course from outside the major and one additional CA history course from outside the major.
Upper Division Requirements
Students complete a minimum of 39 units, including
An in-depth investigation of selected social, political, philosophical, and theoretical issues associated with contemporary music and the sonic arts. Topics such as sound and technology, popular music and the mass media, or critical issues in non-western and Indigenous music might also be considered. This course can be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: CA 140 or permission of instructor.
Students will undertake larger scale projects in a music/sound creative practice, as the culmination of their undergraduate composition studies. Prerequisite: CA 346.
and four of
This lecture course investigates sound art as an interdisciplinary practice that draws its history and concepts from contemporary visual art, installation art, performance art, experimental music, and their various confluences. We will study historical precedents of experimental sound work as well as think critically and creatively about the themes and concerns that inform contemporary practices. Prerequisite: 45 units. Students with credit for CA 312 Special Topics in Art and Culture Studies under the title "Sound Art" may not take this course for further credit.
Studio-based performance ensemble. An immersion in practices of live performance, focusing upon listening, interaction, and creating music for small groups or the entire ensemble, both through collaboration and individually. Offerings will focus upon a single model per term; models include hybrid acoustic/electronic ensembles, laptop ensembles, improvisation ensembles. May be taken twice for credit. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.
The relationship of music and culture, with emphasis on traditional and contemporary music in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Indigenous cultures of North America. Specific cultural areas may be selected for intensive study in any particular term. May be of particular interest to students in other departments. Prerequisite: 45 units.
Continuation of CA (or FPA) 243, with increased emphasis on the theoretical and ethnomusicological aspects of gamelan. May be taken twice for credit. Prerequisite: CA 243.
A detailed study of historic and current systems and techniques of live electroacoustic performance, and their applications for creative use. Students will create personal electroacoustic performance systems/stations, working towards a focus upon gestural and expressive performance in both solo, duo, and ensemble situations. May be taken twice for credit. Prerequisite: CA 247 or permission of instructor. Quantitative.
A specific topic in music which is not otherwise covered in depth in regular courses. The work may be practical, theoretical or a combination of the two, depending on the particular topic in a given term. This course can be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: CA (or FPA) 245.
This course examines the role of music in the viewer's experience of moving pictures. Beginning with the early 1900s, the lectures will introduce important composers, directors, films, genres and historical periods. Specific films and other works will be analyzed. Prerequisite: 60 credit hours. Students who have taken this course previously as special topics may not take it again for further credit. Students with credit for FPA 386 may not take this course for further credit.
A collaborative creation-performance course in which students design and produce creative projects collectively in varied small/large group configurations. Forces involved can include any mix of instruments/objects/electronics designed toward collective live performance, sound sculpture/installation, or any other type of sound-based experience. May be co-taught across other SCA areas as an interdisciplinary model. Prerequisite: CA 240 or permission of instructor.
A practical introduction to composing for instrument and electronics. Students compose short works for an acoustic instrument combined with live signal processing, fixed media, and interactive systems. Analysis of existing works will be included. Prerequisite: CA 247. Students with credit for CA 349 Selected Topics in Music under the same title may not take this course for further credit.
An advanced studio course in creating sound art installations, as well as more general applications and explorations of sound art creation. These may involve generative processes, hardware hacking, Arduino prototyping, as well as sound, movement, and visual analysis. Prerequisite: CA 241 or permission of instructor.
and a minimum of six CA units chosen from outside the major.
Writing, Quantitative, and Breadth Requirements
Students admitted to Simon Fraser University beginning in the fall 2006 term must meet writing, quantitative and breadth requirements as part of any degree program they may undertake. See Writing, Quantitative, and Breadth Requirements for university-wide information.
WQB Graduation Requirements
A grade of C- or better is required to earn W, Q or B credit
|W - Writing||
|Must include at least one upper division course, taken at Simon Fraser University within the student’s major subject|
|Q - Quantitative||
|Q courses may be lower or upper division|
|B - Breadth||
|Designated Breadth||Must be outside the student’s major subject, and may be lower or upper division
6 units Social Sciences: B-Soc
6 units Humanities: B-Hum
6 units Sciences: B-Sci
|Additional Breadth||6 units outside the student’s major subject (may or may not be B-designated courses, and will likely help fulfil individual degree program requirements)
Students choosing to complete a joint major, joint honours, double major, two extended minors, an extended minor and a minor, or two minors may satisfy the breadth requirements (designated or not designated) with courses completed in either one or both program areas.
Residency Requirements and Transfer Credit
- At least half of the program's total units must be earned through Simon Fraser University study.
- At least two thirds of the program's total upper division units must be earned through Simon Fraser University study.
In addition to the courses listed above, students should consult an academic advisor to plan the remaining required elective courses.