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MU2025: COMPOSITION 1 (2017-2018)

Last modified: 27 Feb 2018 14:58

Course Overview

This course will go into more detail on some of the ideas put forward in Introduction to Contemporary Composition (a year one course), but not exclusively. It (and its sister course Composition 2) will introduce compositional skills that are of importance to contemporary composers. These will include such styles/techniques as: modality, 12 tone technique, iso-rhythm and minimalism. Students will learn these techniques and assimilate them very quickly, being assessed on two pieces of compositional work over the half-session. Students will be required to regularly critique existing works using these techniques and this will be factored into the assessment process.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 2
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Old Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Dr Phillip Cooke

Qualification Prerequisites

  • [$2]

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Music (MU) (Studied)
  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?

  • MU2003 Composition 1 (Studied)
  • MU2511 Composition (Studied)

Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

Course Aims
To encourage personal artistic expression and to develop in students a range of skills, techniques and understanding to enable them to become effective composers with the beginnings of an original and individual voice. To facilitate a critical understanding of contemporary music-making and to be aware of their place in this society.

Main Learning Outcomes
1) demonstrate knowledge and understanding of various compositional approaches and methods, particularly contemporary practices and idioms;
2) apply methods of aural and written analysis to the process of composition;
3) be able to use notation effectively (where appropriate) with performers;
4) demonstrate a degree of individuality in composition;
5) display awareness of the musical, structural and technical aspects of the compositional process;
6) communicate an applied knowledge and understanding of the techniques and aesthetic processes involved in creating music;
7) demonstrate communication skills by translating the music from composer to performer;
8) demonstrate ability to take on board advice and suggestions from peer group composers through discussion and sharing of work;
9) demonstrate critical thinking at all times and to be aware of their place in contemporary music making.

Degree Programmes for which this Course is Prescribed

  • Music Joint

Contact Teaching Time

22 hours

This is the total time spent in lectures, tutorials and other class teaching.

Teaching Breakdown


1st Attempt

This module will consist of three discrete projects, two compositional and one critical, covering:

1) Composing a work utilising new harmonic techniques (summative - 40%)
2) Composing a work utilising new rhythmic techniques (summative - 40%)
3) A reflective essay based on the listening the students have undertaken and recorded in their 'journal (summative - 20%)

Students will compose both pieces, one to be handed in half way through the course, the other at the end. The reflective essay will also be handed in at the end of the course.


Students resubmit any composition(s) or the essay forming part of the submission that may have failed. (100%)

Formative Assessment

Students will be required to regularly critique existing works using the techniques studied and will be required to write a listening 'journal' in which students listen to, and make notes on at least 10 pieces relevant to the course. This will be checked on a regular basis, with time (30 minutes) factored into each lesson/tutorial for students to feedback on the pieces they have listened to. The journal will eventually form part of the summative assessment as the basis of a reflective essay.


Oral feedback on work in composition lectures and tutorials. Written feedback on portfolio. Constant feedback on listening journal on a weekly basis.  Students can obtain face to face feedback on compositions from course-coordinator during Office Hours.

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