MusM Composition (Electroacoustic Music and Interactive Media) / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Composition Project

Course unit fact file
Unit code MUSC40102
Credit rating 30
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Music
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course unit requires the completion of an instrumental/vocal or electroacoustic work or performed musical activity in response to specific criteria within a limited period of time. The criteria may be collaborative in nature, and/or may be location-specific  and/or may involve musical ideas and concepts relating to, or combining with, other art forms (visual, literary or dramatic), media (for example, film, interactive media or locative media), disciplines (scientific, artistic) and/or creative industries (for example, games web network). Previous projects have related to particular architectural spaces, visual media, historical concepts or themes, urban studies, etc. Students will be supported by individual supervisions as negotiated with the course tutor, alongside independent work. Students are responsible for organising the realisation of their compositions; in the case of instrumental/vocal composers, this includes organising performers, rehearsals and all performance materials. The project brief may take on online/virtual requirements, as circumstances dictate.


Available as Free Choice (UG) or to other programmes (PG)?

At PG level only, subject to Higher Education practical and theoretical knowledge of instrumental or electroacoustic music composition and the approval of the course director.



  • To enable the composition of a complete work/ musical activity with certain specifications within a limited time period.
  • To apply compositional techniques and strategy to what may be unusual or highly distinct circumstances.
  • To foster collaborative working and scheduling methods to ensure smooth delivery of the outcome.
  • To engage with audiences which may be drawn from the public and to take into consideration the needs, expectations and sensibilities of public audiences and presentation settings
  • To navigate virtual and online performance contexts, if required


Knowledge and understanding

  • Create pieces/activities that demonstrate a thorough understanding of instruments and/or technology to create new and distinctive sounds.
  • Create pieces/activities that demonstrate an understanding of the interrelationship between form and content, pacing the latter in order to make the former as cogent as possible.
  • Analyse and evaluate critically contemporary pieces.
  • Display a systematic understanding of creative processes and techniques used in contemporary music.

Intellectual skills

  • Plan, implement, evaluate and reflect critically on work in progress.
  • Construct and articulate medium-scale compositional designs/musical activities.
  • Critically analyse and evaluate compositional techniques and integrate them into their own works/activities.
  • Research and explore repertoire in order to develop an awareness of issues relating to composition in the 21st century.
  • Recognise and evaluate influences and reference in their own and others’ work.

Practical skills

  • Compose and organise a performance of a new composition/ musical activity to a set brief, taking into account specific circumstances (including, when required, social distancing and/or lockdown guidelines, or online/virtual necessities)
  • Develop compositional techniques and professional skills appropriate to creative needs.
  • Present clear and well-notated performance material (as necessary) that can be readily understood by professional performers, and/or develop technological platforms that respond to specific situations
  • Realise practical and creative solutions to specific criteria such as the composition of a musical work/activity to a set brief.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Demonstrate independent learning ability suitable for continuing study and professional development.
  • Engage in creative problem solving and display decision-making skills in complex and unpredictable situations.
  • Exercise an advanced level of initiative and personal responsibility.
  • Work in collaboration with others in order to realise personal projects.
  • Build imaginatively and creatively on the concepts of others.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Analytical Skills (surveying repertoire, analysing materials for musical potential)
Group/team working
Team work (collaborating with musicians); Interpersonal skills (collaborating with other students and musicians)
Initiative (inventing a creative concept and putting into motion); Creative problem-solving (fulfilling set task with set resources)
Leadership skills (being responsible for overseeing a creative product from inception through to final performance)
Project management
Working to tight deadlines (composing music, and preparing performance materials in time for workshops and performances); Organisational skills (finding and booking musicians and rehearsal space or technical resources)
Time management (running workshops and rehearsals); Editing (in preparing performance materials); Music technology skills in real-world contexts and settings

Assessment methods

Composition Project 100%


Feedback methods

Feedback method

Formative or Summative

Tutorials on work in progress



Feedback from peers in collaboration with performers



Written feedback on the project



Recommended reading

Study of relevant scores and audio/visual material, through self-directed learning, and on the advice of supervisor.


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Practical classes & workshops 6
Seminars 15
Work based learning 12
Independent study hours
Independent study 267

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Joshua Brown Unit coordinator

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