Music in the Digital Age

Freie Universität Berlin

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Music in the Digital Age

  • Host University

    Freie Universität Berlin

  • Location

    Berlin, Germany

  • Area of Study

    Music (BA), Music Technology

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    This course is only available during fall semester.

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Contact Hours

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    There is hardly any musical style, genre or context which has not been significantly affected by the pervasive digitalization of recent decades. From digital audio workstations to computer-generated music, from laptop performances to fan remixes, from cloud computing to commercial distribution channels – digital technology has profoundly changed the ways in which music is produced, performed, disseminated and consumed. In this course, we will examine the nature of these shifts and sample salient and productive intersections of music and technology. Through specific case studies, we will tackle the following questions: How have digital technologies enabled unprecedented modes of making, using and perceiving music? In what ways has digital mediatization shaped our experiences with musical content and style? And how do we reconcile the long-established connections between music, performance and liveness in an era when the paradigm of reproduction seems to be omnipresent?

    In the first five sessions we will consider the impact of digital technologies on the production of music. After an introducing outline of basic shifts in music and musicianship caused by digitalization and the computer, we will look at concrete musical examples in order to understand the influence of digital technologies both on the creative process of music making and on the aesthetic reflection on it.

    The second half of the course will start with exemplary examinations of digital music technologies in music-related genres and domains, such as film, video games or sound art.

    At the end of the semester we will extend the scope and consider cultural issues that are entailed by digital possibilities of sharing, disseminating and consuming music. In particular, we will discuss the intertwining of digitization and commodification as well as its impact on the experience of music in everyday life.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits are converted to semester credits/quarter units differently among U.S. universities. Students should confirm the conversion scale used at their home university when determining credit transfer.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations