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2024/25 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

MUS5121M Composition Studies

30 creditsClass Size: 20

Module manager: Oliver Thurley

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2024/25

Pre-requisite qualifications

Normally first degree in music; demonstrable knowledge of music and musical terminology, and experience of composition and compositional techniques.

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module focusses on the practical aspects of being a professional composer, and is delivered as weekly group seminars. Creative work is undertaken and discussed both for its own sake and to support students critically address their professional skills, including but not limited to; presentation (e.g. of scores or audio files) that is in line with industry norms and standards; working to very specific limitations and short deadlines; considering how composers connect with their specific audiences (e.g. composer websites).


On successful completion of this module, students should be able to consider and address all relevant pragmatic elements of a compositional project, and respond in a detailed and creative manner to the specifics of compositional context. The module provides an opportunity for students to compose with a specific focus on pragmatic aspects of composition as a profession, and to explore collaborative and interdisiciplinary approaches to composition; such as installation, audience participation, site-specific work, etc.

Students attend weekly group seminars that include a mix of discussion of their ongoing composition work, case study compositions, amd relevant theoretical context (e.g. around collaboration, or interdisciplinary composition).

Learning outcomes
On successful completion of the module students will have demonstrated the following learning outcomes relevant to the subject:

1. Demonstrate an ability to apply (or work within) pragmatic industry and genre norms

2. Situate their work in a relevant aesthetic context and discourse.

Skills Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the module students will have demonstrated the following skills learning outcomes:

3. Communicate clearly (as an elevator pitch) their proposal in response to a specific external condition.

4. Demonstrate creativity and individuality while responding fully to the specifics of a compositional context.


Details of the syllabus will be provided on the Minerva organisation (or equivalent) for the module

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours289.00
Total Contact hours11.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress is monitored on a regular basis via the individual and group tutorials and Minerva communication systems. Formative assessment is provided in tutorials where staff give feedback on student progress and advice for future development and presentation of work.

An oral presentation (elevator pitch) has been included within this module since it is felt that the ability to discuss one’s music is a critical skill for a composer, given the numerous real-life situations in which this sort of interaction is encountered. It has been placed as a support element (formative feedback) within the ‘commission’ assignment of this module since this piece of work most closely resembles a real-world compositional situation.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
AssignmentTwo-week take-away paper in the form of a hypothetical compositional commission. Submission of composition and commentary.50.00
AssignmentSubmission of composition and commentary.50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 10/04/2024


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