A comprehensive list of the software we have available at USSS.
USSS machines in the lab and studios have
- Sibelius ultimate - note processing
- Cubase 11 Pro - Digital Audio Workstation
- Reaper - Digital Audio Workstation
- GRM tools (in all studios)
- Harpex (Ambisonics: in studio 6)
- Ambisonic Toolkit (in studios)
- Full Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Premiere, Audition)
Here at Sheffield we are pioneering the use of open source software for music. This enables you to have your own copy at home.
- Audacity for audio editing
- Pure Data (pd) for computer music programming and USSSTOOLS
- Csound and Blue - text based computer music programming
- Supercollider - text based computer music programming
- MuseScore - note processing
We also use:
- Composers Desktop Project (CDP) - composition software for manipulating sound
- Granulab - granular synthesis software
- Cecilia - sound design processing environment (with self-gui development opportunities)
- Soundgrain - granular synthesis
- Pyo - python based computer music programming
- Sonic Visualiser - soundfile editor and analysis tool
- Praat - sound analysis software (esp. speech)
- MatLab (and Octave) - mathematics processing
- SPSS - Statistics tool
- Lilypond with Frescobaldi - score typesetting and engraving
- Blender - 3D modelling
- Python - programming
- C++ - programming
We don't just throw you in at the deep end however. In both pd and csound we have ready-made instruments that allow you to make music immediately.
Once you begin to figure out what is happening to your sounds, we 'peel back the interface' and show you how the instrument works. Then you can modify it and take whatever you need to make your own set of tools. See our teaching pages for more information as to how we blend content creation and creative computer music programming.
Purchasing software and hardware.
We increasingly receive questions from students about what software and hardware they need to complete their course. Here at Sheffield we aim to be software independent. Students have access to two DAWs in the studios so they will need to learn the basics in Cubase (there is a level1 module that achieves this). Once sounds are recorded or developed, students can mix on their own machines with whatever software they are used to. If you are writing instrumental music we continue to use Sibelius but are actively exploring other avenues (like Dorico and MuseScore).
Broadly speaking we try not to 'teach software'. We teach recording, editing, mixing and composition methods using a variety of tools to demonstrate the sonic results. Software like Cubase is extensive and complex, so some 'introduction' is necessary. For basic instruction we use 'LinkedInLearning' video materials to augment classroom work.
Students do not need to purchase any software. Depending upon where you see your use of music technology and the degree to which you find yourself needing your own equipment, a stereo USB interface will be useful, as will a good pair of headphones. If you wish to record at home, a USB microphone is effective but better still a condenser mic and a USB interface, which will give you much more freedom to extend your work in later years.
Also remember that there are student discounts on much software so make sure you take advantage of these if you plan to purchase. Finally, if you are working in our lab and need assistance, staff are in offices ready to help you. If you are at home there is no help available to you. We provide a lab of PCs with excellent keyboards, interfaces and headphones.
Study Music at Sheffield
The Music Department at Sheffield offers a broad spectrum of degrees delivered by some of the world's finest music researchers.
A world-class university – a unique student experience
Sheffield is a research university with a global reputation for excellence. We're a member of the Russell Group: one of the 24 leading UK universities for research and teaching.