MUSCOMP 2011 - Composition Advanced 2B

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2019

This BMus Advanced course at level 2B aims to develop skills in the practice of musical composition and seeks gradually to expand the student?s knowledge of styles, structures, notation, and score presentation. The weekly composition seminar is equivalent to the parallel ?Technique and Repertoire? classes for performance students and addresses matters of compositional technique in relation to significant works from the repertoire. The student?s own creative work is nurtured through weekly individual lessons with a specialist composition teacher. At the second year level it is expected that the creative works will be longer and musically more developed than those submitted during the first year.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code MUSCOMP 2011
    Course Composition Advanced 2B
    Coordinating Unit Elder Conservatorium of Music
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites MUSCOMP 2010
    Restrictions Available to BMus (Adv) students only ? by permission including audition/interview
    Assessment Oral presentation 30%, Creative portfolio 70%
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Charles Bodman Rae

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

    No information currently available.

    University Graduate Attributes

    No information currently available.

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    No information currently available.


    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    In addition to compulsory attendance at both the two-hour weekly Composition Class and the student's Composition Lesson (with the allocated specialist composition tutor) students majoring in composition are, of course, expected to devote a significant number of hours each week to their creative, compositional work as they prepare for each end-of-semester Composition Portfolio. It is strongly recommended that students majoring in composition should make good use of the non-teaching weeks, because these are the periods of the year that allow for intensive compositional work on major pieces (without the distraction and interruption of other course requirements). Each semester contains a two-week mid-semester non-teaching period, and it is recommended that during these weeks the composition students will devote several hours each day - for 10 to 14 days - working on their portfolio pieces. In addition, students majoring in composition are expected to devote one or two hours each day to their creative work during the teaching weeks of each semester.

    Most students enrolled for Composition as the Principal Study for their degree will wish all to make good use of the non-teaching periods that precede each semester of taught activity. For example, it is customary for a major work scheduled for performance during Semester One to be drafted before the beginning of that semester. For a major work scheduled for performance during Semester Two it is expected that the drafting will largely take place during the June-July Winter Break, ie before the beginning of Semester 2.

    It should be understood that the course requirements can be fulfilled at a basic level by attending the classes and tutorials, submitting the minimum number of pieces for each portfolio, and making the required oral presentations. But most students majoring in composition will aspire to have several of their works (perhaps major works, for large forces and relatively long duration) rehearsed and performed. This type of enhanced experience requires considerable investment of time in creative activity, preparation of scores, preparation of instrumental parts, organising rehearsals, and organising performances.
    Learning Activities Summary
    The schedule of topics for the Composition Class each semester will, of course, vary slightly from year to year in response to external and internal considerations such as: the repertoire of the Adelaide Smphony Orchestra (particularly premieres); the repertoire of the Australian String Quartet (particularly premieres); the programming of Elder Conservatorium performances (particularly premieres) by student composers; guest contributions by distinguished visiting composers; guest contributions by composers in the Elder Conservatorium postgraduate programme (MPhil and PhD composition candidates). With that proviso the schedule of topics for the Composition Class in Semester One will be according to the following sequence.

    Week 1: Introduction, and survey of forthcoming premieres and guest composer presentations
    Week 2: Variation Technique, with related repertoire
    Week 3: Chaconne/Passacaglia Technique, with related repertoire
    Week 4: Guest Composer A (related to corporate concert events of ECM/ASQ/ASO etc.)
    Week 5: Aleatory Technique, with related repertoire
    Week 6: Layered Ostinato Technique, with related repertoire
    Week 7: Guest Composer B (related to corporate concert events of ECM/ASQ/ASO etc.)
    Week 8: Refrain-Episodes Technique, with related repertoire
    Week 9: Pitch Complementation Technique, with related repertoire
    Week 10: Guest Composer C (related to corporate concert events of ECM/ASQ/ASO etc.)
    Week 11: Oral Presentations (A) on chosen repertoire and compositional technique
    Week 12: Oral Presentations (B) on chosen repertoire and compositional technique

    The schedule for the individual composition tutorials will be determined by the student's preparation (guided by the tutor) of pieces of the end of semester portfolio submission. The normal requirements for those portfolio submissions are detailed in the section on Assessment.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Portfolio of Compositions (according to the guidelines given in the Course Outline) : 70 % weighting

    Oral presentation to the Composition Class (on an approved aspect of compositional technique) : 30 % weighting

    The Oral Presentations will be scheduled in the Composition Class in Weeks 11 and 12 of each semester.
    The Portfolio of Compositions must be submitted no later than the Friday of Week 13 in each semester.
    The Portfolio guidelines are slightly different for each semester and year level (for full details see the consolidated Course Outline document provided to all students both electronically by email and in hard copy at the beginning of each semester and online via MyUni/Canvas).
    For the Oral presentation each student will be allocated a 15 minute 'slot' during the Composition Class (in Weeks 11, 12 or 13) in order to make a 10-minute presentation followed by 3 minutes of questions.
    Assessment Detail
    A: PORTFOLIO (70% weighting)

    For each full year of study there is an “Interim Portfolio” submission at the end of Semester 1, followed by the “Final Portfolio” submission at the end of Semester 2. Each will generate a separate result for the academic transcript (70% weighting for the relevant semester). All the finished pieces and works in progress that were submitted for Semester 1 should also be submitted in the end of year portfolio, hopefully with refinements and improvements (and attention should be drawn to such revisions). The contents can be negotiated with the designated composition tutor, but the following are to be regarded as the minimum requirements at the relevant year level.

    Year 1, Semester 1

    A suite of FIVE short pieces for solo piano according to an alternating and contrasting tempo scheme of fast/slow/fast/slow/fast. The five pieces should also explore other areas of contrast, for example: metres (time signatures); register; chords versus lines; chords below melody versus melody below chords; contrasting/complementary pitch fields (e.g., black versus white notes); alternation/opposition of modes. These suggestions are intended to be merely indicative rather than exclusive.
    A collection of at least THREE solo pieces (unaccompanied) for orchestral instruments from different family groups, for example: Cello, Clarinet, Trombone (being those instruments of the widest range from their respective families). These solo pieces should aim to explore a wide range of idiomatic techniques.

    Year 1, Semester 2

    The pieces from Semester 1, with revisions/refinements, plus…
    A song for voice and piano. The focus for this piece will be on the setting of text. Care should be taken with: the selection of text/poem; the choice of voice type; the treatment of vocal tessitura across the relevant voice range; correct subdivision of words into syllables; correct placement of syllables (text underlay); melismata on suitable words/vowels; correct use of phrase markings (for melismata).
    A movement for: piano trio; or string quartet; or wind quintet; or brass quintet; or percussion quartet. It is expected that this will be the most extended and developed piece contained in the end-of-year portfolio. For this reason, students are advised to begin work on the piece in Semester 1 and continue working on it through the mid-year (winter) break. Elements of the piece as a “work in progress” can be appended to the Semester 1 portfolio submission.

    Year 2, Semester 1

    A group of THREE pieces for string quartet exploring contrasts of various kinds (fast/slow, arco/pizz., chords/lines, on-the-string/off-the-string, muted/unmuted, long/short bowing, and so forth).
    A choral setting for SATB. Care should be taken with: the selection of text/poem; the choice of language (not necessarily English); the treatment of vocal tessitura for the various voice types; correct subdivision of words into syllables; collect placement of syllables (text underlay); melismata on suitable words/vowels; correct use of phrase markings (for melismata).

    Year 2, Semester 2

    The pieces from Semester 1, with revisions/refinements, plus…
    A work for mixed ensemble, of circa 5-7 players, with/without solo voice
    A piece for string orchestra, with optional subdivisions. The instrumentation can be expanded by including four solo woodwind parts.

    Year 3, Semester 1

    A work for solo piano, duration circa 5-10 minutes. The purpose of this piece is to prepare for the orchestral work in Semester 2. So it should be conceived in terms of orchestral textures and sonorities, and it does not have to be pianistically idiomatic.
    A piece designed to be synchronised to a segment of a chosen film. The instrumentation is left open. The piece can either be presented as a conventionally notated score, with precise timings and cue points, or it can be engineered through a suitable sequencing programme.

    Year 3, Semester 2

    The pieces from Semester 1, with revisions/refinements, plus…
    An extended vocal work, either for solo voice and ensemble/orchestra, or for choral forces (a cappella or accompanied).
    A work for either symphonic orchestra or wind orchestra. This piece can be an orchestral version of the piano work submitted in Semester 1. Hence there can be two versions of the same work contained in the end-of-year portfolio.

    B: ORAL PRESENTATION (30% weighting)

    For the Oral Presentation each student will be allocated a 15-minute 'slot' in one of the Composition Class sessions, in either Week 11, Week 12, or Week 13 (the number of sessions devoted to this task will depend on the total number of students enrolled in a particular year). The presentation should be 10 minutes in duration, and will be followed by three minutes of questions from members of the group. The topics should be proposed to the Head of Composition for approval by the mid-semester break in order to allow plenty of time for preparation. The topics should be analytical in nature and should focus on a particular aspect of compositional technique, with reference to a specific piece from the repertoire. In this respect the Oral Presentation relates directly to the concept of "Technique and Repertoire" that underpins both Composition Class and the equivalent classes for performance students. Particular care should be given to the 'manner' and professionalism of the presentation. It should be audible, fluent, engaging, well prepared, well illustrated, and well rehearsed. It should not be improvised, mumbled, over hesitant, too short, or too long. The style of presentation should be relatively formal (ie standing and scripted).

    No information currently available.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.