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

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Portfolio of Compositions

Course unit fact file
Unit code MUSC40120
Credit rating 60
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Full year
Offered by Music
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


Students will create a portfolio of compositions over the duration of the course (one year full-time or two years part-time). Instrumental and vocal composers will be offered opportunities to have their works workshopped and/or performed by the Music Department’s professional ensembles such as the Quatuor Danel and Psappha. Further opportunities for performances exist through the department’s student contemporary music ensemble. Electroacoustic Music and Interactive Arts composers will have performance opportunities through Electroacoustic Festivals and concert events (i.e. MANTIS, Sines and Squares, locativeaudio, etc.). It is also possible to combine instrumental / vocal and fixed media / interactive compositions in a portfolio. The work will be supervised through regular tutorials with feedback provided on work-in-progress.



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 use compositional technique and craftsmanship to demonstrate originality and imagination through composing for a variety of media.
  • To develop critical thinking on compositional techniques with a special emphasis on structural elements in the composition.
  • To demonstrate a professional standard of organisational and management skills in collaborating with other musicians appropriate to creative needs.
  • To show attention to detail through preparing and editing performance material to professional standards.
  • To plan, implement, evaluate and reflect critically on work in progress.


Learning outcomes

  • Work increasingly independently as a composer, taking advantage of opportunities offered through the course, but also finding opportunities to write pieces and work with performers / organisations / studios independently.


Knowledge and understanding

  • Compose pieces that demonstrate a thorough understanding of instruments and/or technology to create new and distinctive sounds.
  • Compose pieces 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- to large-scale compositional designs.
  • Critically analyse and evaluate compositional techniques and integrate them into their own works.
  • 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

  • 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.
  • Conceive musical ideas and manipulate them in an inventive and individual way, developing material into well-formed and coherent musical structures.
  • Realise practical and creative solutions to self-determined criteria in creation of music that develops a distinctive personal voice.

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) 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
Time management (running workshops and rehearsals); Working to tight deadlines (composing music, and preparing performance materials in time for workshops and performances)
Editing (in preparing performance materials); Organisational skills (finding and booking musicians and rehearsal space)

Assessment methods

Original composition 100%


Feedback methods

  • Verbal feedback in tutorials (formative)
  • Aural feedback through rehearsal with musicians (in the case of Instrumental / Vocal composers) (formative)
  • Written feedback on final submission (summative)


Recommended reading

Study of relevant scores and/or recordings, through self-directed learning, and on the advice of supervisor.


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Project supervision 5
Independent study hours
Independent study 595

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Camden Reeves Unit coordinator

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