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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

MUSS3240 Composition

40 creditsClass Size: 20

Module manager: Dr Scott McLaughlin

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23


MUSS2621Electronic & Computer Music

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Building on skills and contextual knowledge at levels 1 and 2, students work with a supervisor in group tutorials to develop two pieces that relate to critical and experimental composition since the 1950s. Students are not restricted (within practical reason) in their choice of medium or instrumentation, and are encouraged to develop an independent compositional voice through creative application of rigorous technique and broad knowledge of their chosen compositional field.


On completion of this module, students will have typically produced two compositions (each 40% of the final mark) alongside two critical commentaries on those compositions (each 10% of the final mark).

Students should be capable of presenting their ideas to a very high standard, with clarity in the most appropriate form of notation/documentation and of providing an informed commentary on their work. The emphasis at level 3 is very much in terms of student-directed learning where, through small group tutorials, the lecturer primarily facilitates the creative process undertaken by the student. Students may decide to produce a piece of purely acoustic work, purely electro-acoustic work or a combination of both, depending on the aesthetic justification for doing so (which will be documented in the commentary). Students are encouraged to investigate their own interests in technological developments, media, aesthetics, models (where appropriate), conceptual thinking, stylistics, spatialisation, technical processes, extra-musical inspiration and influences more generally.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module students will be able to:
1. assimilate technical knowledge in an original way,
2. to employ methodologies for creative problem solving,
3. to present work to a very high standard,
4. to be self-aware about their compositional choices and their aesthetic position
5. choose appropriate notational or other presentation methods for their practice.

Skills outcomes
Compositional skills
Applied music technology skills
Notation skills


Composition work is carried out in collaboration with a supervisor. The makeup of each composition is governed by the student's choice of activity, genre, medium, and form, as a guide (see above).

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours385.00
Total Contact hours15.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)400.00

Private study

Students will be directed to online resources developed to support the module as appropriate, and a reading list will be provided. Students will be expected to demonstrate their understanding of the relevant research context in their approach to practical work.

Private study time will typically include:
• 11 hours of preparation for and follow up from each tutorial (logs etc. as required)
• 100 hours of self-directed background reading and listening
• 274 hours for creation of the compositions, including preparation for the work-in-progress tutorial

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

The tutorial nature of the classes provide opportunities for staff and peer feedback across the module.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
AssignmentOriginal composition to be agreed with tutor in tutorials. Accompanying commentary (1000-1500 words)50.00
AssignmentOriginal composition to be agreed with tutor in tutorials. Accompanying commentary (1000-1500 words)50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

% of formal assessment for each assignment: 40% composition, 10% commentary.

Reading list

There is no reading list for this module

Last updated: 29/04/2022 15:26:01


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