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Unit of study_

CMPN2320: Music Notation and Publishing

Semester 1, 2023 [Normal day] - Sydney

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.

Unit details and rules

Unit code CMPN2320
Academic unit Composition and Music Technology
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge

Concurrent study with CMPN1331 is recommended where possible

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Ivan Zavada,
Lecturer(s) Peggy Polias,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Major Work
Written notation based assessment
50% Formal exam period
Due date: 09 Jun 2023 at 23:59
2000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3
Assignment 3x 5% Short Tasks
Written notation based assessment
15% Multiple weeks 500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3 LO2
Assignment Minor Work
Written notation based assessment
25% Week 07
Due date: 06 Apr 2023 at 23:59
1000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3 LO2
Small test In-class Quiz
In-class quiz
10% Week 11 45 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1

Assessment summary

  • The 3x5% small tasks assess specific abilities related to music notation: typically they require one page of notation
  • The minor task assesses instrument specific notation and part production through a simple arrangement exercise
  • The major task assesses accuracy in typesetting, score production and part production through the computer notation of a handwritten existing work by an Australian composer
  • The in-class quiz assesses key notation principles through a majority of multiple choice questions, with a small number of short answer questions.

Assessment criteria

The following assessment criteria are used for written work in this unit of study:

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

Demonstrates high level of initiative in research and reading; sophisticated critical analysis of evidence; high level engagement with theoretical issues, innovative use of reading/research material and impressive command of underlying debates and assumptions; properly documented and written with style, originality and precision.


75 - 84

Demonstrates initiative in research and wide, appropriate reading; complex understanding of question and ability to critically review material in relation to underlying assumptions and values; analyses material in relation to empirical and theoretical contexts; properly documented; clear, well-developed structure and argument with some signs of literary style.


65 - 74

Evidence of broader understanding than pass level; offers synthesis with some critical evaluation of material; coherent argument using a range of relevant evidence; some evidence of independent thought, good referencing. A high credit (70-74) shows some evidence of ability to problematise and think conceptually.


50 - 64

Written work meets basic requirements in terms of reading/research; relevant material; tendency to descriptive summary rather than critical argument; makes a reasonable attempt to avoid paraphrasing; reasonably coherent structure; often has weaknesses in particular areas, especially in terms of narrow or underdeveloped treatment of question; acceptable documentation.


0 - 49

Work may fail for any or all of the following reasons: Unacceptable paraphrasing; irrelevance of content; poor spelling; poor presentation; grammar or structure so sloppy it cannot be understood; failure to demonstrate understanding of content; insufficient or overlong word length.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date. After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded. Submission deadline is always 23:59 on the day indicated on the submission portal.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction (IW) Seminar (2 hr) LO1
Week 02 Notation Basics 1 Seminar (2 hr) LO1
Week 03 Notation Basics 2 Seminar (2 hr) LO1
Week 04 Computer notation Instrument specific notation Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 05 Instrument specific notation Parts and printing Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 06 Instrument specific notation/Intro to Major Assignment Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 07 Piano reductions Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 08 Unusual scores & advanced notation Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 09 Further techniques/Assignment group time Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 11 In-class assessment Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 12 Jazz and popular music notation Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 13 House style branding and design aspects Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3

Attendance and class requirements

  • Attendance: Students are expected to attend a minimum of 90% of timetabled activities for a unit of study, unless granted exemption by the Dean, Head of School or professor most concerned. The Dean,
    Head of School or professor most concerned may determine that a student fails a unit of study because of inadequate attendance. Alternatively, at their discretion, they may set additional
    assessment items where attendance is lower than 90%.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

There are no prescribed readings however “Behind Bars” by Elaine Gould (2011, Faber Music) is highly recommended.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. clearly express musical ideas in notation
  • LO2. present scores and parts at a publishable standard
  • LO3. identify appropriate software(s) and workflow strategies to support creative practice

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

Assessments have been modified following 2020 student feedback. Final Week of lecture has been modified to include House style branding and design aspects. All dates adjusted for 2023.

Writing materials including manuscript paper will be required for the first two weeks of this unit.



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