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Unit information: Music Theory and Composition in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Music Theory and Composition
Unit code ARTF00003
Credit points 20
Level of study QCA-3
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Pettigrew
Open unit status Not open

None, though it is expected that students who take this option with a view to progressing to an undergraduate degree in Music will have the equivalent of AS Level Music and/or ABRSM Grade 6 in Music Theory.



School/department Arts Faculty Office
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit aims to prepare students in the Foundation Year in Arts and Humanities for study on an undergraduate degree programme in Music.

Students beginning on that degree programme are expected to have attained a certain level of proficiency in music theory and composition. In this unit, students will extend their existing knowledge and understanding of music theory and its application in composition.

Intended Learning Outcomes

The unit aims to help students develop the requisite technical skills in musical theory and composition required to study Music at undergraduate level, with a particular focus on preparing students for the undergraduate degree in Music at Bristol. In particular, students will attain:

1. knowledge of the notation used in western music, including standard signs and musical terminology, such as standard notation for clefs, time signatures, key signatures, rests, dynamic markings, ornamentation, and phrasing;

2. understanding of the tonal elements of music, such as intervals, keys, scales, and chords, and an ability to identify these elements in a given piece of music;

3. the ability to construct balanced rhythmic patterns;

4. the ability to complete standard melodic or harmonic structures used in various historical eras;

5. skill in using the technical knowledge acquired elsewhere in the unit in their analysis of musical scores and the composition of short music pieces.

Teaching Information

The unit will be taught in small-group seminars.

Students will be asked to mark each other’s formative exams; these will then be re-marked by the seminar tutor, and the students will discuss the results.

Assessment Information

This unit will normally be assessed by six formative 30-minute exams and six summative 30-minute exams.

ILOs (1)-(4) will normally each be assessed by a single formative exam and a single summative exam. ILO (5) will then normally be assessed by the remaining two formative and two summative exams.

Reading and References

Music Theory in Practice: Grade 7 Peter Aston and Julian Webb (ABRSM)

The AB Guide to Music Theory: Part I Eric Taylor (ABRSM)

How Music Works: A listener's guide to harmony, keys, broken chords, perfect pitch and the secrets of a good tune John Powell (Penguin)