Coronavirus (Covid-19) Information

Module WXK-2232:
Orchestration Today

Module Facts

Run by School of Music, Drama and Performance

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Guto Puw

Overall aims and purpose

The aim of this module is to provide the fundamental orchestration techniques required to be a succesfull orchestrator or composer today. In order to reach this aim, this module will cover basic orchestration techniques employed by Classical, Romantic and 20th Century composers (e.g. Beethoven, Rachmaninov and Prokofiev) and will also be applied to film scores. The module will gradually introduce each section of the orchestra starting with the strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion sections along with the full symphonic orchestra. This module will also cover the use of technology in today's industry including transferring MIDI data provided by composers from the DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) to Sibelius (notation software). Fundamentals of score and part preparation, copying and binding will also be covered. On completion of the module, the student will be equipped with the necessary skills to orchestrate music for several medium and genre.

Course content


Sem 2. Introduction to film orchestration. MIDI – tidying up in Logic. MIDI – to Sibelius from Logic. MIDI – tidying up in Sibelius. MIDI – orchestrating in Sibelius. Preparing a score for a typical recording session Part 1. Preparing a score for a typical recording session Part 2. Film orchestration techniques A. Film orchestration techniques B. Class Presentations.

Assessment Criteria


Work which shows a more detailed knowledge of scoring for orchestra, not only making use of the appropriate bowings, correct divisions of string instruments and splittings of woodwind and brass, but shows some imagination and artistic creativity in the use of the instruments.


Work which shows an elementary understanding of scoring for orchestra, making use of correct and appropriate string bowings, correct divisions of string instruments and splittings of woodwind and brass, and a practical knowledge of transposing the appropriate woodwind and brass instruments.


Work which shows detailed knowledge of scoring for orchestra, making full use of technical terms and symbols, and shows originality in the use of blendings of instrumental timbre.

Learning outcomes

  1. Studied and learnt the fundamentals of orchestrating idiomatically for orchestral instruments.

  2. Developed skills for reviewing, scrutinising and discussing orchestration techniques.

  3. Exhibited sufficient level of creativity, resourcefulness and imagination whilst orchestrating for full orchestra (for both traditional and film / media projects).

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Coursework 1 25
Coursework 2 25
Main Assingment 50

Teaching and Learning Strategy


11 lectures of 2 hours.

Private study 178

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
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • 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.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • 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

Subject specific skills

  • Musicianship skills – recognition, classification, contextualisation, reconstruction, exploration
  • Intellectual skills specific to Music – contextual knowledge, cultural awareness, critical understanding, repertoire knowledge, curiosity, analytical demonstration
  • Technological skills – digital capture, digital expression, digital innovation
  • Skills of communication and interaction – oral and written communication, public presentation, team-working and collaboration, awareness of professional protocols, sensitivity, ICT skills, etc.
  • 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)

Courses including this module

Optional in courses: