This course is available through clearing

If you already have your exam results, meet the entry requirements and hold no offers, then you can apply to this course now.

Contact the admissions team

If you're waiting for your results, then sign up to our clearing alerts to get all the information you need ahead of results day.

Sign up now

BA Music and Drama / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Coronavirus information for applicants and offer-holders

For the latest updates on how coronavirus will affect applicants and offer-holders, you can visit our FAQs.

Read our latest coronavirus information

Holding an offer for 2020 entry? Visit our dedicated offer-holders page.

Information for offer-holders

Course unit details:
Composition for Film

Unit code MUSC30541
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by School of Arts, Languages and Cultures
Available as a free choice unit? No


Choose from either:

Film Music: designed to provide students with choices in compositional outcomes by responding to films and their soundtracks with original scores in a wide variety of styles.

The Game-Audio strand: it builds upon MUSC20161 Interactive Media Composition Environments (20cr) by exploring further the creative potential of sound in the context of game, graphics and physics engines. It introduces students to licensed software (e.g. Unity3D) and current methods to publish outcomes for alternative media such as mobile devices, tablets, web browsers, and stand alone applications. The module provides practice-led methodologies to understand the tools and the thinking behind them and with a focus on sound in the creative industries (especially games) but also in other artistic environments.  One of its aims is to increase students' employability either working as freelance composers and aggregators or as part of an interactive media company. 

For Fixed and Live Interactive Music with computers: compositional projects allied with research fields of compositional staff delivering the course in both electroacoustic and instrumental realms.


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Interactive Media Composition Environments MUSC20072 Pre-Requisite Optional
Instrumental Composition MUSC20321 Pre-Requisite Optional
MUSC20172 Pre-Requisite Optional

For Film Music: MUSC20321 or MUSC20362 or other Level 2 composition unit

MUSC20161 Interactive Media Composition Environments (20cr)

For Fixed and Live Interactive Music with computers MUSC 20161 or MUSC 20162


* Provide opportunities for students to creatively and individually respond with original contemporary music to other media in a variety of ways
* Undertake research into aesthetics and practical issues arising from contemporary composition within and to the boundaries of current realms of research.
* Increase student employability either as freelance composers or working within media companies.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course students should be able to:



There are seven extended lectures, two seminars and two weeks of tutorials for this course held in NOVARS.  Class presentations by students prepares them for the final, 100% weighted assignment.


For film music option, the Aims are to provide opportunities for students to compose music in response to film scenes with non-musical, extant soundtracks; undertake research into aesthetics and practical issues arising from interdisciplinary work in sound and the moving image; to develop practical skills in sound-image creation and synchronisation using technology.  The Learning Outcomes are to develop the ability to creatively respond to visual imagery with sensitivity and in a variety of ways; provide the student with practical experience in editing a soundtrack or scoring in a scenic manner; define perceived and psychological territories through comprehensive control of a soundtrack's design.



Introduces students to licensed software (e.g. Unreal Engine 4) and current methods to publish outcomes for alternative media such as mobile devices, tablets, web browsers, and stand alone applications.



The topic should focus in-depth on an area agreed between student and supervisor. Topics might include sound diffusion and spatial audio, interactivity, signal processing and software environments, sonic design, installation work, analysis or repertoire study. Outcomes (assignments) can be either theory-based (i.e. essay writing) or creative/practice-based (i.e. compositional or tool/programming outcomes).


Teaching and learning methods

Film Music: lectures, supervisions, presentation.  Electroacoustic option: supervisions and, where applicable, group discussion and presentation.

Knowledge and understanding

Articulate aesthetics and practical issues arising within film or electroacoustic composition; OR understand the technologies and tools necessary for working in the creative industry (especially games).

Intellectual skills

Demonstrate the development of a more advanced, creative and specialised response to a topic in the context of a field of study

Practical skills

    Demonstrate enhanced skill in using technology, should they so choose to use it, when realising specific compositional outcomes;

Prepare and deliver a presentation on a negotiated aspect of the module as a formative experience toward completing a piece of work

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Demonstrate the development of dialogue through supervisions whilst undertaking a negotiated field of study in order to strengthen his/her general communicative abilities and to communicate a specific point of view or outcome.

Employability skills


Assessment methods

Assessment task


Weighting within unit


Film Music module: 5 to 6 mins of contiguous original music integrated into a non-musical, extant soundtrack

Game-Audio: conception, creation and publication of a sound-centric game project

Live and Interactive: 5 mins original music









Feedback methods

Supervisions, in-class discussion and scheduled presentation of preparatory film work provide on-going feedback to student interaction and seminars on a weekly basis.  Formal assignment written feedback upon conclusion.

Recommended reading



Brown, Royal S. Overtones and Undertones (California, 1994)

Bryan Key, W  Media Sexploitation (Signet, 1976, pp 98-145)

Burt, G  The Art of Film Music (Northeastern Uni Press, 1994)

Chion, Michel  Audio-vision: Sound on Screen (trans. Gorbman)

Gorbman, Claudia, Unheard Melodies: Narrative Film Music (Bloomington, 1987)

Murch, W  In the Blink of an Eye: A Perspective on Film Editing (Silman-James Press, 2001)

Pasquariello, N Sound of Movies: Interviews with Creators of Feature Sound Tracks (San Francisco, 1996)


Numerous films from lecture playlists, as well as these particular Hitchcock films:

The Lady Vanishes, The Thirty-Nine Steps, Young and Innocent, Strangers on a Train, Vertigo, Rear Window, The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), Psycho.



UNREAL ENGINE 4 (UE4) Resources:


UE4 installer can be freely downloaded from Epic games website, including the source code for recompiling it.

Tutorials, Assets, Forums, Mods are available directly from the Epic Launcher.



Collins, Karen, Game sound: an introduction to the history, theory, and practice of video game music and sound design. Published Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press 2008

Truby, John. The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller. Publisher Faber & Faber, 2010

Thompson, Jim; The computer game design course: principles, practices and techniques for the aspiring game designer. Published London : Thames & Hudson 2007

Marks, Aaron; The complete guide to game audio: for composers, musicians, sound designers, and game developers. Published Burlington, MA ; Oxford : Focal Press/Elsevier 2009

Interactive storytelling for video games: a player-centered approach to creating memorable characters and stories

Lebowitz, Josiah; Klug, Chris- Interactive storytelling for video games: a player-centered approach to creating memorable characters and stories

Emmerson, Simon, The Language of Electroacoustic Music¿(London: Macmillan, 1986).


Examples of open-source sound libraries:¿

- Freesound - (login required)

¿- e.g. Berklee samples - ; John Ffitch


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 11
Practical classes & workshops 3
Tutorials 11
Independent study hours
Independent study 175

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Kevin Malone Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Additional eLearning content

Technology is used in this course, the training of which is delivered in pre-requisite courses.  This course does not teach the use of software, although software applications (e.g. ProTools) will be used on a basic level.  NOVARS is the primary resource; (portable) recording equipment as developed in previous courses.


Return to course details