MUS-10034 - Introduction to Composition
Coordinator: Miroslav Spasov Room: CKF05 Tel: +44 1782 7 33395
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 4
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 172
School Office: 01782 733147

Programme/Approved Electives for 2020/21


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2020/21

This module is the initial component of the pathway in composition that runs throughout the Music programme and also complements MUS-10033 Twentieth-Century Musics. Students engage with technical and aesthetic issues relating to the contemporary musical practice. Students will be introduced to different approaches to organising musical materials focusing on pitch, duration, dynamics, texture, timbre, structure and form. The activities will include study of works from the Western tradition through analysing scores and listening to chosen pieces focusing on contemporary works. Students will compose two small scale compositions for instruments (it may also include voice) demonstrating understanding of technical and creative aspects arising from the analysis.
It should be noted that this module is NOT suitable for Music Technology students who do not play an instrument (ABRSM grade 7 or equivalent) or who do not have a basic knowledge of Music Theory (ABRSM grade 5).

The aim is for students to:
- engage with technical and aesthetic issues relating to the composition of predominantly instrumental and vocal music and to acquaint students with a specific issues relating to contemporary western art music.
- study compositional practices drawn from historical and contemporary models.
- acquire skills in compositional techniques for the generation and organisation of musical material.
- understand how the music syntax develops into larger structural units.┐

Intended Learning Outcomes

comprehend the practice of realising creative work;: 1,

understand how pitch, duration and harmony evolve into structural units;: 1,

comprehend, devise and structure musical forms;: 1,2,

organise a variety of musical materials;: 2,

identify compositional techniques and models in relation to their historic contexts and apply them to their own work;: 1,2,

respond creatively to given musical environments and resources.: 2,

Study hours

4 hours of plenary sessions (lectures)┐
4 hours of music analysis workshops┐
12 hours of small-group tutorials┐
50 hours of consolidating plenary content and preparing workshop materials; assimilation of the topics discussed in class through analysis of prescribed works and directed technical studies; listening to discography relevant to the module and individual project.┐
80 hours of preparation for the assessment.┐
TOTAL: 150 hours

School Rules

For students not registered on the Music programme, AS or A Level Music or equivalent OR ABRSM grade 7 (inc grade 5 theory). This module is NOT available for Music Technology students without one of these qualifications.

Description of Module Assessment

1: Assignment weighted 30%
Music analysis
Completion and submission of four analytical exercises, each featuring compositions from various historical periods prescribed by module tutor/supervisor. Students will be asked to analyse the melodic-rhythmic phrasing, voice leading, harmony and harmonic rhythm, as well as structure-building processes. The analysis will consist of music score annotations and brief comments of about 200-250 words for each of the analytical exercises.

2: Project weighted 70%
Independent Creative Project
Two original compositions, one of which must be composed for two or more performers (length: approx 4 minutes each composition). The compositions must show evidence of understanding of techniques explored during plenary sessions, workshops, and tutorials. The submissions will consists of a music score accompanied by programme notes (up to 200 words for each composition) and an audio recording of one of the compositions.