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Unit information: Composition Portfolio in 2016/17

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Unit name Composition Portfolio
Unit code MUSIM0011
Credit points 60
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Professor. Pickard
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Music
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

The Composition Portfolio has a status equivalent to the Dissertation written by musicologists and scholars of most arts and humanities. The submission should therefore demonstrate a professional level of presentation, compositional accomplishment and imaginative aspiration. It typically comprises one large-scale work (such as a concerto of duration c. 15 minutes), or else a strongly argued chamber work (such as a string quartet perhaps) together with a short piece or pieces perhaps for voices or large ensemble totalling ca. 20-25 minutes. The norm is not a rule, however, and works for electronic or electro-acoustic media, non-standard ensembles, works with mixed media or film etc. are all permitted, while timing must be related to pace and density of musical thought. All submissions should be realistically performable and not merely conceptual.

Intended Learning Outcomes

  1. Comprehensive technical skills for professional score writing, including instrumental and other resources, instrumentation, orchestration, score layout and presentation.
  2. Up to date knowledge of and critical understanding of contemporary musical repertoire and related cultural ideas based on listening, score study and reading
  3. Acquisition of technical foundations of contemporary composition, supplemented by analysis of relevant scores
  4. As a Composer, to demonstrate a high level of technical assurance, the ability to select and generate appropriate constructional tools to bring about the articulation of a musical concept, to use form and argument effectively and clearly, to assess creative ideas objectively in relation to emotional and cultural context, and to develop a reflective and self-critical attitude.
  5. clarity and objectivity in expressing musical ideas
  6. capacity for creative and lateral thinking

Teaching Information

Individual tutorial meetings during TB 2 (typically six meetings in total).

Assessment Information

Portfolio (100%) comprising either a single large-scale work or a collection of shorter works

Successful attainment of outcome (4) will enable the student to demonstrate (1) - (3) and (5). A successful Project submission will also embody (6).

Reading and References

  • Adler, Samuel,The study of orchestration [3rd ed.] New York : Norton, 2002.
  • Gould, Elaine, Behind Bars - The Definitive Guide to Music Notation, London, Faber 2011
  • Read, Gardner, Compendium of modern instrumental techniques. Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1993
  • Read, Gardner, Modern rhythmic notation London : Victor Gollancz, 1980.
  • Read, Gardner, Music notation :a manual of modern practice [2nd ed].. London : Victor Gollancz, 1974