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Unit information: Extended Study: Composition Portfolio in 2021/22

Unit name Extended Study: Composition Portfolio
Unit code MUSI30059
Credit points 40
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Ellison
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Music
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit will begin with weekly seminars on contemporary music, each one highlighting an issue for creative response in the form of a weekly exercise or compositional miniature on specified topics. Later in the semester, this will be replaced by the composition of more extended movements for student ensembles as agreed with the unit director. In the second semester, students will be required to compose one or two additional pieces by agreement with the unit director, providing an opportunity for fuller development of the composer's interests, through more extended structures of a dramatic or symphonic nature.


This unit aims to immerse student composers in a broad range of recent stylistic developments through detailed technical and analytical study of models; application of specified techniques in exercises, workshop compositions and more extended pieces potentially for public performance; and self-critical reflection and constructive comment on the work of peers (in the small group tutorials).

Intended Learning Outcomes

Successful completion of this unit will enable students to:

  1. recognise and discuss the main established practices of contemporary music
  2. understand and comment in detail on a variety of 20th-century compositions
  3. respond creatively to given issues or problematics
  4. further develop and display technical competence and imaginative quality within the emerging individual style beyond that achieved in previous levels
  5. deepen self-recognition of the composer’s ‘authentic’ voice
  6. compose suitable contemporary works for small ensembles
  7. compose suitable contemporary works for larger forces, such as orchestra, choir or mixed ensemble.

Teaching Information

Seminars, workshops, individual and small group tutorials. Participation in department research seminar. Attending concerts within the department's concert series. Participation in group workshops and masterclasses within the Music Futures programme.

Assessment Information

(a) three prescribed miniatures addressing specific musical problems (Weighting: 15%) Successful attainment of outcome (ILO 3) will enable the student to demonstrate (ILO 1-2)

(b) a commissioned work for agreed ensemble, (Weighting: 35%). Successful attainment of outcome (ILO 4) will enable the student to demonstrate (ILO 6) Students are required to attend the workshops at which these compositions are performed in order to receive credit points.

(c) approved original composition(s) Successful attainment of outcome (ILO 4) will enable the student to demonstrate (ILO 7) (Weighting: 50%). the whole making a varied portfolio of c.20 mins. duration . A successful portfolio will also embody (ILO 5).


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. MUSI30059).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.