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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Orchestration & Contemporary Composition
Module Code MC401
School 59
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Sean Doherty
Semester 2: Sean Doherty
Autumn: Sean Doherty
Module TeachersSean Doherty
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Coursework Only

This module explores key concepts and techniques in orchestration, contemporary composition, and music technology through practical tasks and creative composition. Students will gain an understanding of orchestral instruments, performance techniques, instrumental sections, and important repertoire. They will use music analysis to identify the melodic, harmonic, and bass functions of piano scores, and will distribute these to the appropriate orchestral instruments/sections in their artistic orchestration. Students will develop their music technology skills as they manipulate recordings to create compositions of Musique concrète. They will perform and analyse Minimalist works to identify their key compositional techniques. They will use these techniques to compose a work for symphony orchestra as the culmination of their current study in composition.

Learning Outcomes

1. Display an understanding and appreciation of key concepts and techniques in orchestration, contemporary composition, and music technology.
2. Compose short exercises in relevant forms and textures
3. Utilise literacy, performance and compositional skills appropriate to the level
4. Present and manipulate relevant composition work in appropriate notation software
5. Adapt the acquired compositional, performance, literacy and technological skills to the contexts of teaching and research.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture24Lecture on course content
Assignment Completion48Weekly compositional tasks appropriate to course stage
Independent Study53Reading, music, listening, score study
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Study of orchestration in a range of repertoire; laying out a score; transcription from short score to open score; instrumental ranges, combinations, and orchestrating for specific ensembles.

Original composition in Contemporary Style
New forms and new techniques; minimalist styles; electronic media.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
AssignmentContemporary Techniques50%Week 6
AssignmentOrchestration50%Week 12
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Sevsay, E: 2013, The Cambridge Guide to Orchestration, Cambridge University Press., Cambridge,
  • Cope, D.: 1997, Techniques of the Contemporary Composer, Schirmer/ Cengage Learning, New York,
  • Gould, E.: 2011, Behind Bars: The Definitive Guide to Music Notation, Faber Music., London,
Other Resources

50220, website, 0, MuseScore Resources, http://www.musescore.org/, 50221, website, 0, Online Scores, http://www.imslp.org/, 50226, Website, Open Music Theory, 0, Orchestration, https://viva.pressbooks.pub/openmusictheory/part/orchestration/,
Programme or List of Programmes
BREDMBachelor of Religious Education & Music
BRMBachelor of Religious Education & Music

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