Sound Art Composition (M.Mus.)

Overview of the degree program

The Mainz School of Music is the first in Germany to offer a degree program in Sound Art Composition. The degree was introduced in the 2009/10 winter semester. The Master's degree in Sound Art is oriented toward musicians and artists who have already attained an undergraduate degree and are seeking to enhance their artistic competencies in the area of sound art composition. The degree program is based on the latest developments in the intermediary concept of music and art that has been shaped over the past two decades. Trends in new music, electronic composition, sound art, audio-visual art, and radio arts, the Ars Acustica, are combined here into a thematic unity. Compositional approaches with a focus on spatialization and intermediary composition strategies will be examined and refined at the highest artistic levels. This includes the development of surround sound and sound installations as well as performative concepts and medial representation. Beyond an independent compositional or artistic career, potential working environments include the media, radio, or the new artistic profession of soundscape design for museums.

Standard period of study 4 semesters (2 years)
Overall scope

120 credit points

44 semester hours

Admission requirements

Successful completion of a aptitude test

A degree in music or art obtained in a diploma degree program or Bachelor degree program or comparable degree program awarded by a university, college of music, or an equivalent institute of higher education in Germany or abroad.
The admission of applicants who have completed another degree course is also possible in cases with a high level of artistic aptitude, as approved by the aptitude test.

Good command of English

Candidates applying for the aptitude test, who have neither a German general qualification for university entrance nor a degree / graduation in a German speaking course of studies have to prove sufficient knowledge of the German language (comparable with level A1-GERR). This can be proven either through submission of appropriate test certificates or through a conversation with the Board of Examiners during the aptitude test. If necessary, the Board of Examiners advices to take part in study-integrated German classes according to the respective language skills.

Entrance into the program possible in both summer and winter semester

Master of Music (M.Mus.)

(Sound Art Composition)

Program objective Participants in the Master's degree program in sound art composition will graduate from the course capable of working independently at the highest artistic levels on artistic concepts in the field of sound art composition. They will be qualified to work as independent artists with their own artistic voice, capable of implementing artistic work for the art market, museums, galleries or major festivals in professional, striking ways. The skills that are also acquired in the process can also be applied in other professional settings, such as media and media production as well as consulting and conceptual design for projects.
Course structure and contents

The course of studies encompasses the compulsory modules:

1. Major subject l and ll

Sound Art Composition major

2. Artistic performance I, II and III

project work including working in sound studios and media competence, colloquium, project implementation

3. Theoretical fundamentals

History of composition, compositional techniques of the 20th and 21st century, acoustics, theory of perception and sound-specific ear training

Module examinations after 2., 3. and 4. semester
Master examination after 4. semester

(For more information see the annex of the Examination regulations relating to the respective course of studies and the module handbook respectively.)

Master’s examination
  1. Module-by-module exams during the course of studies
  2. Realization of an artistic project including conceptual design
  3. Master’s thesis, artistic-practical part
  4. Master thesis, written-theoretical part
  5. Oral exam

Requirements for the aptitude test

The aptitude test is comprised of a two-stage selection process.

Pre-selection: The aptitude test committee will review the submitted documents and select which applicants are to be invited to a personal interview. These applicants will be informed about the topic of the admissions interview 8 to 12 weeks prior to the interview to be able to prepare a project sketch.

The topic of the project sketch for the 2011/12 winter semester: Sound and nature. Develop ideas related to sound and nature; you have the freedom to approach the topic however you wish. The result could be that you imagine you have the opportunity to convert a public park or natural area for several weeks using sound. What kind of sounds would be involved? What would the technical setup involve? It could also be something entirely different within the context of sound and nature ... Record your thoughts in a written or visual concept, including sample sounds. The focus of the concept should be artistic ideas; that said, a sketch how it would be implemented and a cost calculation should also be included.

Admissions interview: Applicants will present their prepared project sketches as part of the admissions interview. The main purpose of the admissions interviews is to determine the applicant’s artistic background and general interests.

The following are to be included with the application for the aptitude test:

  • Curriculum vitae
  • Written explanation of reasons for applying for this degree program
  • Program-specific portfolio of works
  • Depiction of planned artistic projects to be implemented during the degree program
  • An artistic project sketch relating to the field of sound art composition