DT2213 Musical Communication and Music Technology 7.5 credits

Musikalisk kommunikation och musikteknologi

  • Education cycle

    Second cycle
  • Main field of study

    Computer Science and Engineering
  • Grading scale

    A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

Course offerings

Spring 20 muscom20 for programme students

Intended learning outcomes

The overall goal is obtain a thorough scientific understanding of the basic principles for how music is communicated from a musician to a listener and be able to apply this knowledge in music applications, including new ways of musical interactions.

You should after the course be able to

  • identify and describe the major principles for musical communication including structural, emotional and gestural expression,
  • describe and analyze the control aspect of musical instruments regarding limitations, expressive freedom and parameter mapping,
  • critically read a scientific paper in music communication and extract useful information,
  • use software tools for symbolic music (MIDI) and audio manipulation,
  • implement a pd (pure-data) patch for basic sound synthesis and manipulation of musical control data in real-time.

Course main content

The communication chain, the role of the musician versus computer-generated performances.

Marking musical structure: tempo, phrasing, harmonic and melodic tension, repetitive patterns and grooves, articulation, accents, ensemble timing.

Emotional expression: The composition’s inherent expression, acoustical cues and mapping to emotions, synthesis, automatic recognition, comparisons with other modalities (facial expressions, gestures, speech), cultural versus innate codes.

Allusions to motion: Inferences from dance and other human motion patterns, final ritardando, hand gestures.

The musical context: Concert, background, film music.

The MIDI standard: coding, controls, Standard MIDI files, General MIDI.

Synthesis: synthesis models, sampling, physical modeling sound libraries.

Computer tools: pd (pure data), Director Musices, Digital Audio Workstations, notation editors, samplers.

This course will not cover topics that are already dealt with in EN2100 Auditory Perception and DT1410 Audio Technology. The overlap is also small with DT2212 Music Acoustics, which deals mainly with the physical and acoustical properties of instruments.


Single course students: 60 university credits of which 30 university credits within Mathematics, Information Technology or Music Production. English B, or equivalent.

Recommended prerequisites

The course is compulsary at the specialisation Audio Technology (LJD) at Degree Programme in Media Technology. The formal prerequisites vary depending on the student’s intended ultimate specialisation. Being able to play a musical instrument is useful but not required.

For KTH Media (compulsory): 2E1390/EN2100 Auditory Perception, 2F1410/DT1410 Audio Technology.

For Degree Progr. in Electrical Engineering (recommended): 2F1400/DT2400 Electroacoustics, DT2410 Audio Technology.

For Degree Progr. in Computer Science and Engineering (recommended): 2E1390/EN2100 Auditory Perception, 2E1395/EN2200 Pattern Recognition.

Whenever feasible, the course project groups will be assembled so as to contain participant from CMETE, CDATE, CELTE and the Royal College of Music. Such an integration is an important part of achieving the course goals.

KTH students may take this course in parallel with 2F1212/DT2212 Music Acoustics, also in period 4, which is a good complement. The resulting work load will be rather high.


Selection of scientific papers mainly summaries of each area. For sale at the department.


  • LAB1 - Laboratory Work, 1.5, grading scale: P, F
  • PRO1 - Project, 1.5, grading scale: P, F
  • TEN1 - Examination, 4.5, grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

In this course all the regulations of the code of honor at the School of Computer science and Communication apply, see: http://www.kth.se/csc/student/hederskodex/1.17237?l=en_UK.

Requirements for final grade

Passing of a written exam (4,5 hp), a group project (1,5 hp) and a laboratory schedule (1,5 hp).

Offered by

EECS/Human Centered Technology


Kjetil Falkenberg Hansen , tel: 790 7857, e-post: kjetil@kth.se


Roberto Bresin <roberto@kth.se>


Course syllabus valid from: Spring 2019.
Examination information valid from: Spring 2019.