Composition Studies

Unit outlines will be available through Find a unit outline two weeks before the first day of teaching for 1000-level and 5000-level units, or one week before the first day of teaching for all other units.
 

Composition Studies

Composition Studies core requirements apply to students undertaking the following courses. Specific requirements are listed in the relevant enrolment pattern.
(a) BMusic (Composition for Creative Industries program)
(b) BMusic (Digital Music and Media program)
(c) BMusic (Composition)
(d) BMusic (Music Education) in Composition
(e) BMusic/BAdvanced Studies (Composition)
(f) Diploma of Music
Composition Studies units are also available as electives in all BMusic and Diploma of Music courses.
CMPN1000 Composition Through Improvisation 1

Credit points: 3 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Kevin Hunt Session: Semester 1 Classes: 1hr weekly ensemble class Assessment: Weekly assignments (70%),final improvised performance (30%). Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Note: student should have 3-4yrs experience in playing music and with a passion to improvise.
Through performance and ensemble interaction, this unit helps students develop vital aural and improvisational skills that will significantly enhance their creative and compositional process. Students experience the wonders of ‘real-time’ creation of music without the aid of notation on their respective instruments and are encouraged to develop their intuition while learning to rely on their musical ideas. Class feedback and discussion of each in-class improvisation provides weekly opportunities for formulating individual compositional ideas regarding melody, harmony, rhythm, form and structure.
CMPN1003 Composition Through Improvisation 2

Credit points: 3 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Kevin Hunt Session: Semester 2 Classes: 1hr weekly ensemble class Prerequisites: CMPN1000 Assessment: Weekly assignments (70%), final recorded composition (30%). Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Note: students should have 3-4yrs experience in playing music and with a passion to improvise.
This unit continues to develop through performance and investigation into experimental modes of presentation, to help students develop vital aural and improvisational skills which will significantly enhance their compositional process. As the student gains experience improvising, skills are developed for making informed 'split-second' decisions based on intuition and musical responsiveness. The ‘Sounds of Surprise’ performance provides a thrilling close to this essentially two semester experience of spontaneous music creation.
CMPN1010 Creative Vocal Ensemble

Credit points: 3 Teacher/Coordinator: Assoc. Professor Paul Stanhope Session: Semester 2 Classes: 5 x 2 hr lectures; 5 x 2hr workshop/rehearsals; 2 x 2 hour workshop/rehearsals in Special Projects Week Prerequisites: CMPN1331 or CMPN1601 Assumed knowledge: Sight singing; basic choral skills required; familiarity with music notation and music notation software Assessment: 1 major composition or major work for 3 or more voices with or without accompaniment; (25%); Two short compositions based on Lecture-series topics and workshopped in class (25%). An essay of 2500wds based on Lecture topics is offered as an alternative (50%). Ensemble participation and performance: 50% Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Note: Sight singing; basic choral skills required; familiarity with music notation and music notation software highly recommended.
Musicians from diverse backgrounds work together towards the creation of new work manifested in compositions, arrangements and performances for vocal ensembles (e.g. choirs or smaller consorts of voices). Lecture focus on the analysis of compositional techniques found in early music through to the contemporary era, encompassing an eclectic range of styles. Students experience the performance of these styles in a workshop situation by forming a ‘resident ensemble’ where ideas based upon the analysed techniques are tried out in a workshop situation. Online multitrack recording is offered as an alternative delivery method to live workshop situation. Composition-focused students benefit from feedback of their new works in the workshops, while performer-focused students may experience the process of creating new compositions or arrangements for the first time. A selection of student work will be presented in an end of semester concert by the Creative Vocal Ensemble. Students will be able to take these skills developed in this course into future professional situations as composers, performers, conductors and arrangers.
CMPN1014 Sound Recording Fundamentals

Credit points: 3 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Ivan Zavada Session: Semester 1,Semester 2 Classes: 1 hr lect/wk, 1 hr lab class/wk Assessment: Stereo Recording (60%), Online Quiz (30%), Participation (10%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
In this unit of study students will be introduced to a range of audio technologies and gain a basic proficiency in sound recording, editing and mixing. Students will experience working in the Conservatorium sound studios, and learn how to make good quality recordings with portable recording devices. This unit of study also examines microphone design, stereo microphone techniques and digital audio recording. Students will experience prac-based recording sessions to gain a comprehensive understanding of the recording technology on offer at the Sydney Conservatorium.
CMPN1310 Percussion Composition Workshop

Credit points: 3 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Damien Ricketson Session: Semester 1 Classes: 2hr seminar/week Assessment: Series of composition exercises for solo and ensemble percussion (100%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Percussion Composer Workshop is designed to develop compositional practice via hands-on performance-oriented curricula. This Unit of Study is will provide composition students with insights into playing and composing for percussion instruments. A basic and tactile understanding of percussion sounds and playing techniques, together with ensemble experience is an essential foundation for successful composition in this creative medium. After successfully completing this unit of study, students will be able to: demonstrate rudimentary percussion playing techniques; increase their understanding and ability to accurately conceptualise and perform complex rhythms; have performed in a percussion ensemble on a variety of percussion instruments; have composed works exploring the colour and rhythmic potential of the percussion medium.
CMPN1611 Instrumentation and Orchestration

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Carl Vine Session: Semester 1 Classes: 2 hour seminar/wk Assumed knowledge: Students enrolling in this unit of study are expected to be able to read and understand instrumental music notation of moderate complexity Assessment: short orchestration exercises (45%), score analysis presentation (20%), large ensemble arrangement (35%). Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Instrumentation and Orchestration, enhances students' knowledge of the modern orchestra while reinforcing core musicianship skills. Instrumentation study investigates the technical limitations and expressive potential of individual instruments. Orchestration examines a range of instrumental combinations in diverse styles and ensemble contexts, and requires that students learn best typographic practice and current conventions of notation and score layout. In examining instrumental characteristics the unit will also cover the fundamentals of acoustics and timbre perception, and will demand a thorough grasp of the harmonic series and its broader musical implications. Throughout the course students will be required to present their own arrangements and transcriptions.
CMPN1612 New Music, New Thinking

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Damien Ricketson Session: Semester 2 Classes: 1 x 1hr lecture/week, 1 x 1hr tutorial/week Assessment: Three assessment items: (1) essay (50%); weekly engagement in discussion and creative exercises (30%) and; (3) portfolio of three small creative works (20%). Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
New Music, New Thinking is designed to challenge the way in which students understand the music of our time. Through analyses of recent music and artistic themes, discussion and creative tasks, students will be exposed to a variety of compositional techniques, concepts and aesthetics. The content and assessment of this subject will enable students to further develop critical thinking concerning their future contribution to the world of new music be it in composition, performance, musicology or education.
CMPN2320 Music Notation and Publishing

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Ian Whitney Session: Semester 1 Classes: 1 x 2hr seminar in computer lab/week Assumed knowledge: Concurrent study with CMPN1331 is recommended where possible Assessment: 1 x portfolio of series of exercises (25%), 1 x minor score presentation (20%), 1 x major score presentation (55%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Music Notation and Publishing builds student capacity to notate music at a professional industry standard. Through study of published scores and text books on music notation, students learn what the standards of music notation are, and how to approach complex or difficult notation problems. The unit introduces the professional notation software. A series of short challenges develops skills in key areas of music publishing, such as the preparation of scores and parts, piano reductions, film score standards, and much more. The final assessment project is engraving a first edition of an important Australian work.
Textbooks
Behind Bars by Elaine Gould.
CMPN2510 Scoring and Arranging for the Screen

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Phillip Johnston Session: Semester 2 Classes: 1 x 2hr lecture/week, 1 x 1hr lab/week Assessment: 4 x small tasks (20%), 1 x film score for chamber ensemble/equivalent (30%), 1 x film score for full orchestra/equivalent (50%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
An application of various musical skills and disciplines pertinent to today's music industry, this unit of study explores fundamental aspects of composing, arranging and orchestrating for the screen. Theoretical principles are drawn from dramaturgy and cinematography, and applied to concerns of form, aesthetics, orchestration and technology to inform the various practical processes of preparing a music score from its inception to the delivery of parts for a recording session. Scoring and Arranging for the Screen offers a pragmatic approach to negotiating the pressing demands faced by screen composers in today's film and television industry.
CMPN2613 Comp Techniques: Number and Process

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Peter McNamara Session: Semester 1 Classes: 2 hour seminar per week Prerequisites: CMPN1612 Assessment: Analytical essay (30%); original composition (50%); presentation (20%). Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Note: Strong music theory and notation skills are essential in this unit of study
Number and Process emphasises the study of important and innovative composition techniques that apply various mathematical processes emerging predominantly from the mid 20th century onwards. The focus is on key works of composers such as Webern, Stockhausen, Boulez, Xenakis and other influential composers of the late 20th century. The studied techniques will enable students to strengthen and expand their compositional repertoire and provide an understanding of how their work appears in a clear historical context.
CMPN2614 Comp Techniques: Tonality and Process

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Peter McNamara Session: Semester 2 Classes: 2 hour seminar per week Prerequisites: CMPN2613 Assessment: Analytical essay (30%); original composition (50%); presentation (20%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Note: Strong music theory and notation skills are essential in this unit of study
Tonality and Process emphasises the study of important and innovative composition techniques that apply to various alternative processes using tonality emerging throughout the 20th century. The focus is on key works of various Russian composers, American minimalist composers, Louis Andriessen and other influential composers of the 20th century. The studied techniques will enable students to strengthen and expand their compositional repertoire and provide an understanding of how their work appears in a clear historical context.
CMPN3620 Advanced Instrumentation/Orchestration

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Assoc. Prof Michael Smetanin Session: Semester 2 Classes: 1 hr seminar and 1 hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: CMPN1611 Assumed knowledge: Students should be competent in score writing and fundamental knowledge of instruments and orchestration while also having composition experience Assessment: 2 Short instrument tasks 25% each, 1 major orchestration assignment 50% Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
The study of advanced orchestration and instrumentation techniques of the 20th and 21stcenturies and application of these to orchestration Task and a major orchestration assignment.
CMPN3634 Interactive Media and Sound Installations

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Benjamin Carey Session: Semester 2 Classes: 2 hr lect/wk Prerequisites: CMPN1013 or MUSC2653 Assessment: Sound Apparatus Project Presentation (25%), Relation Agents Group Project Presentation (25%), Final Project Public Presentation/Performance (50%). Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Note: The unit makes use of interactive programming techniques and other technical skills taught in CMPN2631/2632. Enrolling concurrently in one of these subjects alongside CMPN3634 is recommended.
This unit will focus on electronic music composition involving new paradigms brought about by real-time performance, installations, network technology, human computer interaction, gestural control and integration with visual arts and video animations. This unit of study will also investigate the available literature on topics such as multimedia, interactive and installation work in the context of contemporary sound art practice.
CMPN3635 Writing Music for the Moving Image

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Daniel Blinkhorn Session: Semester 1 Classes: 6 x 1 hour lectures for the first six weeks; 6 x 2 hour tutorials thereafter Prerequisites: MUED1002 or CMPN1013 or MUSC2653 or MUED4002 Assessment: Written paper (20%), Presentation (30%), Final Music (50%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
The unit provides a practical introduction into the creation of, and aesthetics for music and
moving image. Topics for discussion will include, but are not be limited to: relationships
between image and sound, diegetic and non-diegetic sound, thematic development,
partnerships between composers, directors and other such collaborations within the creative
sector, sound design, music for games and animation, and non-commercial applications of
music for image (audiovisual art, cymatics etc). The unit seeks to enable
students the ability to develop a skillset within their own studio spaces for the creation and
dissemination of their projects; both at a sector ready, as well as a technically proficient level.
Importantly, students will be presented with a variety of possible projects and collaborations
with industry partners across differing creative sectors.
CMPN3636 Live Electronic Music Performance

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Benjamin Carey Session: Semester 1 Classes: 1 x 1hr lecture per week, 1 x 2hr tutorial per week Prerequisites: (CMPN1013 or MUSC2653) and (CMPN1631 or CMPN1632) Assumed knowledge: Students enrolling in this Unit of Study are expected to have previous experience with music technology, including recording and music creation software. Students will be expected to perform Assessment: 1 x 1500 word essay (30%), 1 x Group Performance (30%), 1 x Solo Performance and Reflective Diary (40%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Live Electronic Music Performance is an innovative and diverse area of contemporary performance practice. Posing significant and exciting challenges for the rendering of music using digital technology, Live Electronic Music Performance requires genuine interdisciplinary skills such as technical development and problem solving, improvisation, musical composition, live sound reinforcement and ensemble communication. This area of performance employs a wide range of technologies, musical styles and performance methodologies. This unit aims to give students the skills necessary to navigate the various tools and techniques available in order to create innovative live performances using electronic and digital technologies.
CMPN3000 Composer Performer Workshop 1

Credit points: 3 Teacher/Coordinator: A/Prof Michael Smetanin Session: Semester 1,Semester 2 Classes: 2hr workshop/wk Assessment: For composers: Professional approach in workshops (60%) and CPW concert attendance, submission of program notes and 2 copies of each score to be played, concert management duties such as stage managing and preparation of programs and publicity (40%). For performers: Professional approach in workshops (50%), Performance at the CPW concerts (30%), Classroom presentation of instrumental techniques (20%). Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
The Composer Performer Workshop provides both composers and performers with the opportunity to work together in the performance of new and experimental works.
CMPN3001 Composer Performer Workshop 2

Credit points: 3 Teacher/Coordinator: A/Prof Michael Smetanin Session: Semester 1,Semester 2 Classes: 2hr workshop/wk Prerequisites: CMPN3000 Assessment: For composers: Professional approach in workshops (60%) and CPW concert attendance, submission of program notes and 2 copies of each score to be played, concert management duties such as stage managing and preparation of programs and publicity (40%). For performers: Professional approach in workshops (50%), Performance at the CPW concerts (30%), Classroom presentation of instrumental techniques (20%). Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
The Composer Performer Workshop provides both composers and performers with the opportunity to work together in the performance of new and experimental works.
CMPN4000 Composer Performer Workshop 3

Credit points: 3 Teacher/Coordinator: A/Prof Michael Smetanin Session: Semester 1,Semester 2 Classes: 2hr workshop/wk Prerequisites: CMPN3001 Assessment: For composers: Professional approach in workshops (60%) and CPW concert attendance, submission of program notes and 2 copies of each score to be played, concert management duties such as stage managing and preparation of programs and publicity (40%). For performers: Professional approach in workshops (50%), Performance at the CPW concerts (30%), Classroom presentation of instrumental techniques (20%). Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
The Composer Performer Workshop provides both composers and performers with the opportunity to work together in the performance of new and experimental works.
CMPN4001 Composer Performer Workshop 4

Credit points: 3 Teacher/Coordinator: A/Prof Michael Smetanin Session: Semester 1,Semester 2 Classes: 2hr workshop/wk Prerequisites: CMPN4000 Assessment: For composers: Professional approach in workshops (60%) and CPW concert attendance, submission of program notes and 2 copies of each score to be played, concert management duties such as stage managing and preparation of programs and publicity (40%). For performers: Professional approach in workshops (50%), Performance at the CPW concerts (30%), Classroom presentation of instrumental techniques (20%). Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
The Composer Performer Workshop provides both composers and performers with the opportunity to work together in the performance of new and experimental works.
MUSC2614 Composition Workshop

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr. Amanda Cole Session: Semester 1 Classes: 2 hour workshop per week Prerequisites: 18 credit points of 1000-level units Assessment: Contribution in classes and concerts (20%), concert composition (60%), written assignment (20%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Composition Workshop is designed as an opportunity for students from all musical backgrounds to play, write and perform music together. Each student will write a new piece for an ensemble of classmates that will be performed in an end of semester concert. Set topics studied in this course include: Creative and Resourceful Instrumentation (body percussion, mobile phones as instruments, the human voice and found percussion instruments), Soundscape, Indeterminacy and Loops. The first four weeks of the course are spent exploring these topics through lectures and creative group composition exercises. Students will also look notating their music using one-page scores, graphic notation, time-space notation and text scores. From Week 5 onwards, students will workshop and rehearse their own concert piece for an ensemble of musicians from their class.