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Module WXK-3234:
Composing for Film/Media

Module Facts

Run by School of Music, Drama and Performance

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1 & 2

Organiser: Dr Owain Brown

Overall aims and purpose

  1. To provide an understanding of the competitive world of composing music for film and the media.
  2. To create or expand the knowledge of music technology which is associated with the composition of music for film and the media, such as synchronising music with moving images.
  3. To provide an understanding of the end product created by composers e.g. deliverables including cut-down versions of tracks.
  4. To develop an understanding of the business, legal and financial issues which are involved with music for film and the media.

Course content

The aim of the course is to equip students with the necessary technical and creative skills to prepare them for the world of music for film, television and the media – a field of composition that is full of challenges but very rewarding. Instruction will be given on the use of specific software and hardware (such as Logic Pro and Sibelius), as well as how to synchronise images with sound, the use of keyboards and software samples, and basic mixing techniques. Alongside this will be a series of lectures on topics relating to research, industry and criticism of musical styles and genres in the media. Examples from the work of some of the masters of the form will be analysed to enable the student to gain an understanding of the medium. Detailed attention will be paid to business and legal implications.

CO-REQUISITES: Ideally students will have experience of Orchestration Today (WXK2232 or WXC2232) and Composition (WXK2233 or WXC2233) or Acousmatic Composition (WXK2235), but this is not essential.

Assessment Criteria


The work demonstrates a basic, though limited, understanding of subject material, with some capability of theoretic thought and sufficient mastery of the covered topics. Certain evidence of a creative approach will be required for the main assignment.


The work demonstrates a clear understanding of subject material, a satisfactory level of theoretic thought, and an understanding of the main topics. Sufficient evidence of a creative and intelligent approach, with adequate creative expression.


The work demonstrates an excellent understanding of subject matter, with evidence of a natural flair in this area, an original approach, and excellent compositional skills.

Learning outcomes

  1. On completion of this module, the student should be able to demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the fundamentals of the work of a composer for the media.

  2. On completion of this module, the student should be able to demonstrate a thorough knowledge of synchronising music with picture.

  3. On completion of this module, the student should be able to demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the balance and mix of their music.

  4. On completion of this module, the student should be able to demonstrate detailed knowledge of business matters relating to music for the media.

  5. On completion of this module, the student should be able to demonstrate a specialism in composing in a range of genres.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
COURSEWORK Coursework 2

TV Advert.

CLASS TEST Rep test 1

Repertoire Test

COURSEWORK Main Assignment 1

Score a scene from a short film supplied.

COURSEWORK Coursework 3

Library Music (‘Production CD Music’) Assignment.

COURSEWORK Coursework 4 (unassessed)

Showreel CD; 4 minutes of music from previous assignments.

CLASS TEST Rep test 2

PRS/Business Test.

COURSEWORK Main Assignment 2

Score a scene from a short film supplied (or gained in collaboration with a Director).

COURSEWORK Coursework 1 (unassessed)

Compose to a given Corporate Video Brief.


Teaching and Learning Strategy

Private study 156

10 studio-based seminars (50 minutes each, 5 in each semester, delivered fortnightly). 1 reading week in each semester.


11 lectures each semester (delivered weekly).


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.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Mentoring - Able to support, help, guide, inspire and/or coach others
  • 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
  • Creative skills – conception, elaboration, adaptation, presentation, collaboration, preservation
  • Intellectual skills specific to Music – contextual knowledge, cultural awareness, critical understanding, repertoire knowledge, curiosity, analytical demonstration
  • 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 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

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: