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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Creative Approaches to Text
Module Code MC516
School 59
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Sean Doherty
Semester 2: Sean Doherty
Autumn: Sean Doherty
Module TeachersSean Doherty
NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 10
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Coursework Only

This module will explore, via a combination of lectures, lecturer-led and student-led seminars, and composition workshops, the creative approaches to text and text setting employed by composers of choral music, with a focus on repertoire from the late 20th century to the present day. Students will engage with a wide variety of primary sources (both textual and musical) and compositional approaches to develop a deep understanding of text-setting considerations when composing, performing, or conducting choral music. This module incorporates an ‘analysis through composition’ approach to the topic of text-setting, which encourages the students to engage with these ideas as composers and thus enabling a ‘composer’s-eye’ view of the repertoire.

Learning Outcomes

1. Analyse and evaluate a given text in terms of its literary content and its capacity to serve as the basis of a compositional sketch for choral forces.
2. Identify devices of musical rhetoric used by composers to convey their personal understanding of a text.
3. Analyse and interpret standard and non-standard approaches to text-setting in the work of a range of contemporary composers.
4. Evaluate the effect of creative approaches to text-setting in performance.
5. Demonstrate the practical application of creative (both standard and non-standard) approaches to text-setting in the composition of a choral work.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Independent Study50Score analysis and annotation
Independent Study50Independent study: music listening
Independent Study78Independent study: research
Independent Study50Independent study: composition
Total Workload: 250

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

Music and Rhetoric
Relative patterns of stress and metre in a variety of languages; rhetorical features; types of accent: metric, agogic, dynamic, melodic (contour and melisma); open and closed vowels; vowel modification; open and closed syllables

Types of text (poetry, prose, and phonetic; nonsense texts); the condition of the text; the vocal style(s) employed; the intelligibility of the text

Text/Music Relationships
Types of music/text relationships: direct mimesis, displaced mimesis, non-mimetic relationship, arbitrary association, synthetic relationship, and anti-contextual relationship

Analysis seminars
Analysis seminars in which students present their own research on their choice of contemporary choral compositions

Composition workshops
Composition workshops in which students present, conduct, perform, and critique their own creative outputs

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
EssayAnalytical written paper (2000 words)40%Week 25
Music CompositionComposition assignment (5 minutes) and reflective commentary (2000 words)60%Sem 2 End
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

  • Alwes, Chester Lee: 2015, A History of Western Choral Music (2 vols.),
  • Cook, Nicholas: 2014, Beyond the Score,
  • Cook, Nicholas: 2018, Music as Creative Practice,
  • Cook, Nicholas, and Richard Pettengill (eds.): 2013, Taking it to the Bridge: Music as Performance,
  • De Quadros, André: 2012, The Cambridge Companion to Choral Music,
  • Gould, Elaine: 2011, Behind Bars: The Definitive Guide to Music Notation,
  • Henson, Blake, and Gerald Custer: 2013, The Composer’s Craft,
  • Henson, Blake, and Gerald Custer: 2014, From Words to Music,
  • Hines, Robert Stephan: 2001, Choral Composition: A Handbook for Composers, Arrangers, Conductors, and Singers,
  • Hurty, Jon: 2018, Improvisation for Choirs: Building Community Confidence and Creativity,
  • Roma, Catherine: 2006, The Choral Music of Twentieth-Century Women Composers: Elisabeth Lutyens, Elizabeth Maconchy, and Thea Musgrave,
  • Sharp, Avery T: 2002, Choral Music: A Research and Information Guide,
  • Shenton, Andrew: 2018, Arvo Pärt's Resonant Texts Choral and Organ Music 1956–2015,
  • Shrock, Dennis: 2009, Choral Repertoire,
  • Strimple, Nick: 2002, Choral Music in the Twentieth Century,
  • Warburton, Annie: 1981, Melody Writing and Analysis,
Other Resources

35318, Score, Contemporary Music Centre, 2012, Choirland: An Anthology of Irish Choral Music, 35319, Score, Agnew, Elaine, 0, Bread, 35320, Score, Barry, Gerald, 0, 'Long Time' and 'The Coming of Winter', 35321, Score, Britten, Benjamin, 0, Rejoice in the Lamb, 35322, Score, Clarke, Rhona, 0, The Old Woman, 35323, Score, Cleary, Siobhan, 0, Theophilus Thistle and the Myth of Miss Muffett, 35324, Score, Dellaira, Michael, 0, The Campers at Kitty Hawk, 35325, Score, Gee, Erin, 0, Mouthpiece, 35326, Score, LeFanu, Nicola, 0, On the Wind, 35327, Score, MacMillan, James, 0, Seven Last Words from the Cross, 35328, Score, Pärt, Arvo, 0, Tribute to Caesar, 35329, Score, Rautavaara, Einojuhani, 0, Ludus verbalis, 35330, Score, Saariaho, Kaija, 0, Nuits Adieux, 35331, Score, Shaw, Caroline, 0, Partita for 8 Voices, 35332, Score, Walsh, Jennifer, 0, Duration & its Simple Modes,
Programme or List of Programmes
MACSMA in Choral Studies
MPTPMPhil (Theology, Philosophy & Music)
TPPMMaster of Arts

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