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Module WMP-4121:
Composition Project I

Module Facts

Run by School of Music and Media

30 Credits or 15 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Guto Puw

Overall aims and purpose

This module focuses on composition in a contemporary idiom. Each student will be encouraged to develop their own particular interests within a broad range of styles relevant to the twenty-first century. Individual supervisory sessions will seek to develop competence and confidence in composition through the use of various contemporary techniques. Students will be required to bring along examples of work in progress on a regular basis, to which the tutor will address questions relating to melody, harmony, rhythm, structure, form, timbre, word setting or technological means, in addition to addressing questions relating to aesthetic approaches, the nature and presentation of ideas, contemporary context, and so on.

Course content

The content of the course will be defined by each individual student’s own interests, explored under the guidance of the module tutor or other relevant members of staff.

Assessment Criteria


Threshold (50-59) Work which displays a basic grasp of certain contemporary styles and techniques, capable writing for instruments, voices or other media, and which shows some creative ability.


Good (60-69) Work which displays a positive engagement with and response to contemporary compositional practice, confidence and assurance in its treatment of style, form and technique, an impressive level of creative promise and originality, and a sure understanding of musical instruments, voices or other media, and how to write for them.


Excellent (70+) Work which displays an advanced and highly refined understanding of and response to contemporary musical styles, forms and techniques, an impressive range of technical resources and high degree of creative thought, and a developed awareness of how to write for musical instruments, voices or other media.

Learning outcomes

  1. Upon successful completion of the module, students will be able to compose proficiently in a contemporary style using a range of appropriate techniques.

  2. Upon successful completion of the module, students will be able to work in a language and idiom with artistic relevance to contemporary art culture.

  3. Upon successful completion of the module, students will be able to work with self-confidence with the tools and materials of composition, in relation to studio based work and/or instrumental and vocal compositions.

  4. Upon successful completion of the module, students will be able to think and work with originality and creative independence.

  5. Upon successful completion of the module, students will have nurtured their skills in critically evaluating the compositional merits within a particular style and their ability to apply it to their own work.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Portfolio of Compositions 2 70
Portfolio 1 - Composition/Exercises 30

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Supervised time in studio/workshop

Six 2 hour sessions (every fortnight) on compositional approaches, techniques and theoretical issues for all students.

Five 2 hour group tutorials and/or individual supervision focusing on the students’ own work. Each genre will be led by relevant member of staff.

One supervisory meeting every week, up to 1 hour in duration.

Private study

Private study.


Transferable skills

  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
  • Leadership - Able to lead and manage, develop action plans and objectives, offer guidance and direction to others, and cope with the related pressures such authority can result in

Subject specific skills

  • Musicianship skills – recognition, classification, contextualisation, reconstruction, exploration
  • Creative skills – conception, elaboration, adaptation, presentation, collaboration, preservation
  • Technological skills – digital capture, digital expression, digital innovation
  • Intellectual skills shared with other disciplines – research and exploration, reasoning and logic, understanding, critical judgement, assimilation and application
  • Skills of personal management – self-motivation, self-critical awareness, independence, entrepreneurship and employment skills, time management and reliability, organisation, etc.
  • Enhanced powers of imagination and creativity (4.17)


Reading list

Christoph Cox & Daniel Warner (eds.) Audio culture : readings in modern music (New York, 2004)

A. Cipriani & M. Giri, Electronic music and sound design : theory and practice with Max/MSP (Rome, 2010)

S. Emmerson (ed.), Music, Electronic Media and Culture (Burlington, 2000)

A. Whittall, Musical Composition in the Twentieth Century (New York, 1999)

T. Wishart, On Sonic Art, (Amsterdam, 1996)

Pre- and Co-requisite Modules

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: