Module code: MUS2036

Module Overview

This module develops your knowledge and practice of compositional techniques and concepts, and their application in a range of stylistic contexts. You will encounter and expand your knowledge of a diverse range of global and historical musical practice on the acoustic and electronic domains, as well as theoretical concepts that unite and delineate such broad approaches. In so doing, you will not only learn to emulate specific compositional practice, but also to forge an individual, informed and contemporary compositional voice.

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: 86

Lecture Hours: 22

Seminar Hours: 6

Tutorial Hours: 2

Guided Learning: 12

Captured Content: 22

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


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)

  • Scale construction

  • Modes

  • Process and compositional systems

  • Electro-acoustic composition

  • Cryptograms and Sonification

  • Improvisation, Indeterminancy and Chance

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 on the students’ developing portfolios and research.

Summative assessment

Student learning is assessed through a Compositional Portfolio which includes:

  • A suggested number of 3 notated works with a total duration of up to 15 minutes.

  • A commentary of up to 2000 words analysing the works and providing critical reflection and contextualisation of creative practice.

  • An audio realisation of the works.

  • A score or relevant notation of the works

This 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 portfolio is given (with a breakdown of strengths and weaknesses) in order to enhance continuing compositional practice.

Module aims

  • Develop research and analysis in support of creative practice.
  • Develop musicianship skills in support of creative practice.
  • Develop skills in writing about creative practice.
  • Develop individual compositional practice.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Develop research and analysis in support of independent creative practice. KCT
002 Have an improved understanding of theoretical concepts relating to compositional practice. KCP
003 Compose strongly idiomatic music informed by a range of musical cultures. P
004 Improve instrumental, and digital production skills. P
005 Improve your listening skills, and the understanding and appreciation of a wide range of global and historical musical cultures. T
006 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.

  • 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: MUS2036

Other information

The Department of Music and Media is committed to developing graduates with attributes encompassing employability, digital skills, global and culture awareness, sustainability as it relates to music and the wider arts and, finally, resourcefulness and resilience. This module addresses these learning pillars in the following ways.

Resourcefulness and Resilience: This module builds a students confidence and ability to compose to a brief, and develop their compositional approaches, with individuality and independence. It challenges the student to gain the resourcefulness and resilience to conceive of compositional ideas, realizing and communicating them in notation, audio and written commentary.

Employability: This ability to work with efficiency and professionalism as a composer is a highly employable skill, particularly in this contemporary media-rich musical environment. This module motivates students to work to a deadline with high quality work, and be able to communicate their work effectively in music notation, audio production and written analyses.

Global and cultural capabilities: To compose music  effectively, one must gain a deep understanding of its practice. Students on the module are required to engage with a wide range of repertoire from a wide range of global cultures and practices, with a sense of open listening and appreciation. These include a range of (non-) notational strategies, and to diverse and radical approaches to pitch, rhythmic and timbral parameters.

Digital capabilities: This module requires a direct engagement with a range of digital music approaches, including music sequencing, music notation, word processing and audio production. 

Sustainability: Composing using digital music technology allows the production of music with minimal physical and energy resources, travel impact and other consumables. The ability to create, collaborate and publish outputs with contemporary music technologies has a direct and significant impact on sustainability.


Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Music BMus (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Music and Sound Recording (Tonmeister) BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Music and Sound Recording (Tonmeister) BMus (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Mathematics with Music BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Creative Music Technology BMus (Hons) 2 Optional 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 2024/5 academic year.