School Of Arts, Culture And Language
Module - Semester 1
Pwyll ap Sion
Students will be introduced in each lecture to the basic elements (the ‘nuts-and-bolts’ if you will) of songwriting, including melody (melodic shaping), harmony (harmonic patterns), formal archetypes, word-setting (word-painting), rhythm, texture and so on. These will be illustrated with reference to several song idioms ranging from singer-songwriters of the 1970s such as Elton John and Joni Mitchell to more recent pop and rock styles. On successful completion of the module students will have produced a portfolio of songs and song arrangements, which they will have either successfully performed on their own or in a group context, or recorded to a high standard, or composed using music notation software such as Sibelius.
-threshold -Third Class: D- to D+ (40%-49%) The crucial element is the creation of musical ideas. Factors which may limit a mark to this level include: a simplistic or over-complex global structure not supportive of or supported by the material of which it consists; musical argument only intermittently discernible with only limited exploration of materials; musical ideas few and/or of questionable value; an imbalance in unity and diversity at the expense of sustained interest (especially through uncritical repetition of material verbatim); variability in the appropriateness of the use of instrumental, vocal, sonic and/or technological resources; technique restricted to a rather basic level; some basic, though not always successful, attempts to achieve musical shaping and control phrases, gestures, pacing, tempo, dynamics, sonorities and textures; mostly adequate presentation, though with some significant lapse, and materials that may need some revision to be of practical use in performance. The presentations are poorly researched and presented.
-another level-Lower Second Class: C- to C+ (50%-59%) The main quality meriting a mark in this category is the creation and technical realisation of musical ideas to achieve an effective overall outcome. Factors which may limit a mark to this level include: a global structure not always fully supportive of or supported by the material of which it consists; intermittent lapses in the cogency of musical argument; some aspects of musical ideas left unexplored or under-developed; invention present but limited; mixed success in the effective juxtaposition and relationship of ideas and materials; some imbalance in unity and diversity (especially though overuse of material without development); occasional inappropriate use of instrumental, vocal, sonic and/or technological resources; technique solid but not always assured and fluent; intermittent and limited musical shaping and control of phrases, gestures, pacing, tempo, dynamics, sonorities and textures; some presentational lapses, with some limitations as to the practicability of materials in performance. The presentations are reasonably well researched and presented.
-good -Upper Second Class: B- to B+ (60%-69%) The distinguishing quality is the creation, technical realisation and organisation of imaginative musical ideas to create an aesthetically convincing overall outcome. The composition exhibits a majority of the following: a well articulated and effective global structure; a clearly discernible musical argument, constructed through the exploration and development of musical ideas and materials; imaginatively conceived and articulated musical ideas; unity and diversity well balanced, such that the composition achieves a good degree of interest and coherence; appropriate and effective use of instrumental, vocal, sonic and/or technological resources contributing to creative ends; assured use of appropriate technical means; good sensitivity to the shaping of phrases, gestures, pacing, tempo, dynamics, sonorities and textures, showing an appreciation of their overall effect on the musical outcome; presentation of a good standard, with good attention to detail and some evident consideration of the practicability of performing materials. The presentations are competently researched and presented.
-excellent -First class: A- and A (70%-83%) The distinguishing quality is the creation of a compelling, engaging and aesthetically satisfying overall outcome through sustained musical imagination and technical command. The composition exhibits a majority of the following: a coherent, tightly constructed global structure; a cogent, convincing and sustained musical argument, constructed through the exploration and development of the full potential of musical ideas and materials; musical ideas conceived and articulated with evident flair and imagination, and some degree of originality; an entirely appropriate (but not necessarily equal) balance of unity and diversity, such that interest and coherence are sustained throughout; distinctive, creative and idiomatic use of instrumental, vocal, sonic and/or technological resources; confident, fluent and discerning use of appropriate technical means; evidence of acute sensitivity to the effectiveness of, and assured control over, the shaping of phrases and gestures, pacing, tempo, dynamics, sonorities and textures, and the combination, juxtaposition and relationship of ideas and materials; impressive presentation, with excellent attention to detail and full consideration of the practicability of performing materials (whether for live performance or the realization of electroacoustic presentation).The presentation shows detailed research and is presented to a high standard.
First class: A+ to A** (84%-100%)Compositions in this category would be convincing and credible within a programme of professionally composed works. Marks in this band will only be awarded in exceptional cases in which the composition offers an utterly compelling musical experience achieved through real creative originality combined with an absolutely assured technical realization. The presentation shows detailed research and is presented to a very high standard.
- Acquired a detailed knowledge of certain songwriting styles and techniques
- Acquired the ability to articulate informed and incisive ideas about song styles, their historical development, and the musical contexts from they emerged, and be able to apply sound methodological and conceptual approaches to specific examples
- Acquired the creative tools and procedures that will enable them to write songs to a high (i.e. near-professional) standard either in performance, in a recording or written out in musical notation
- Developed the necessary skills to present assessed work to a standard expected at this level