Module code: MUS2035

Module Overview

This module introduces you to a range of fundamental compositional techniques and concepts, applicable in many stylistic contexts.

Module provider

Music and Media

Module Leader

MERMIKIDES Milton (Music & Med)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 106

Lecture Hours: 12

Seminar Hours: 6

Tutorial Hours: 2

Guided Learning: 12

Captured Content: 12

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

None for Music and Tonmeister students, otherwise by approval from relevant departmental heads.

Module content

The following is an indication of the likely topics to be covered:

  • Idiomatic composition for solo instruments, ensemble and/or electronics

  • Notation for contemporary music.

  • Compositional methodology.

  • Content related to student work.

  • Presentation and discussion of student work.

  • Module content addressing broadly applicable compositional techniques informed by a range of sources.

Theoretical areas may include (indicative content)

  • Pulse, tempo and metre

  • Meters, patterns and polymetre

  • Elements of groove

  • Stylistic rhythmic composition and production

  • Motif and melody

  • Tuning concepts

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to develop their compositional skills through engagement with contemporary compositional techniques, theories and awareness of relevant creative practice.

The formative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Weekly compositional exercises exploring particular techniques

  • Feedback during workshops and/or Surreylearn

  • An unassessed presentation in week 10 on the students’ developing portfolios and research.

Summative assessment

Student learning is assessed through the following coursework exercises:

  • Coursework 1: A composition with a duration of up to 5 minutes, together with a commentary of no more than 1000 words and an audio realization and notation of the work, showing theoretical understanding, independent research and idiomatic creative application of module concepts. The coursework is worth 50% of the final grade.

  • Coursework 2: A composition (which may be multi-movement) demonstrating theoretical understanding and a creative idiomatic application of module concepts, with a duration of up to 6 minutes, together with a commentary of no more than 1000 words and an audio and notational realization of the work. The coursework is worth 50% of the final grade.

Both portfolios will gauge the strength and weaknesses of various areas including

  1. theoretical understanding of module concepts

  2. Initiative and rigour of research skills

  3. Idiomatic and impact of musical application

  4. Presentation of commentary and scores

  5. Creativity and ambition of projects

  6. Critical reflection and evidence of awarness of, and contextualisation with, relevant compositional practice.

  7. Quality of audio realisations of works.


Feedback is given throughout the module, through compositional exercises, workshops and tutorials. Detailed feedback on the portfolios is given (with a breakdown of strengths and weaknesses) in order to enhance continuing compositional practice.

Module aims

  • Introduce you to research methods that support creative practice.
  • Forge a connection between your practice and broader musical culture.
  • Develop analytic insight into idiomatic compositional practice.
  • Develop practical skill in idiomatic compositional practice.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Carry out research and analysis in support of creative practice. KCP
2 Have an improved understanding of theoretical concepts relating to compositional practice. KCP
3 Compose strongly idiomatic music. P
4 Have an improved set of instrumental, technological and production skills. P
5 Improve your listening skills, and the understanding and appreciation of a wide range of musical styles. T
6 Develop a critical attitude towards the sources of knowledge you draw on during your studies and learn how to manage the information they contain in order to meet the demands of your assignments. CT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

Encourage an active engagement with compositional practice through concept-led research and listening in a wide range of styles, and practical experience in writing for a range of idioms (using instrumental, electronic and mixed media).

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Lectures.

  • Seminars.

  • Tutorials.

  • Workshops.

  • Guided reading and listening.

  • Responding to questions in class.

  • Preparing and giving class presentations.

  • Producing a portfolio of research material and an accompanying composition.

  • Producing a portfolio of individual compositional work.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: MUS2035

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Music BMus (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Music and Sound Recording (Tonmeister) BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Music and Sound Recording (Tonmeister) BMus (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Mathematics with Music BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Creative Music Technology BMus (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2022/3 academic year.