Composition Core Units

Subject details

The following is ordered alphabetically by area, and contains the non-principal study core units of study for all undergraduate degrees and diplomas. Many of these core units of study can also be taken as electives.

Composition

Compositional Techniques and Analysis

CMPN1611 Instrumentation and Orchestration

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Damien Ricketson Session: Semester 1 Classes: 2 hour seminar/wk Assumed knowledge: It is strongly recommended that participants have a good grasp of modern and 20th century repertoire. Assessment: Folio of short orchestration exercises (30%), Large ensemble arrangement (30%), analytical essay (40%).
Instrumentation and Orchestration will enhance students' knowledge of the key instruments of the modern orchestra. The study of instrumentation will develop in-depth understandings of the technical limitations and creative potential of the main instrumental families. The study of orchestration will examine instrumental combinations with reference to the use of colour to foreground and background musical lines. Additional content will include some study of acoustics and the perception of timbre, arranging and transcribing as well as notational standards and conventions. Works examined in class will span the entire 20th century and into the 21st century. Students will be expected to undertake weekly readings and/or listenings and conduct independent research.
CMPN1612 New Music, New Thinking

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Damien Ricketson Session: Semester 2 Classes: 2 hour seminar/wk Prerequisites: CMPN1611 Assessment: Two assignments (2x50%) comprising an analytical essay and a composition exercise or performance project.
New Music, New Thinking is designed to challenge the way in which students' understand the music of our time. Through in-depth analyses of music of the past 100 years, students will be exposed to a variety of compositional techniques, concepts and aesthetics. Areas of enquiry may include noise, stasis, pastiche, the open form, unconventional instruments and microtonality. The content and assessment of this subject will enable students to further develop critical thinking and judgments with regards to the composition of new classical music and relate this knowledge to other contemporary cultural practices. Students will be expected to undertake weekly readings and listenings, participate in discussion and conduct independent research.
CMPN2613 Comp Techniques: Number and Process

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Michael Smetanin Session: Semester 1 Classes: 2 hour seminar/week Prerequisites: CMPN1612 Prohibitions: CMPN2011 Assessment: Two analytical essays of set works, combined with short compositional tasks: 3,000 words each (2x50%).
This unit of study looks at classic techniques and processes in composition which emerged during the middle to the later part of the twentieth century. The focus is on key works of this period by composers such as Stockhausen, Xenakis and Ligeti and others. The material covered will enable the student to strengthen their own repertoire of compositional techniques and allow them to understand their own work in a clear historical context.
CMPN2614 Comp Techniques: Tonality and Process

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Michael Smetanin Session: Semester 2 Classes: 2 hour seminar/week Prerequisites: CMPN2613 or CMPN2011 Prohibitions: CMPN2012 Assessment: Two analytical essays of set work combined with short compositional tasks: 3,000 words each (2x50%).
This unit of study looks at techniques and processes in tonal and minimalist composition which emerged during the later part of the twentieth century. The focus is on key works of this period by composers such as Andriessen, Reich, Adams and others. The material covered will enable the student to strengthen their own repertoire of compositional technique and allow them to understand their work in a clear historical context.

Composition Through Improvisation

CMPN1000 Composition Through Improvisation 1

Credit points: 3 Teacher/Coordinator: Judy Bailey Session: Semester 1 Classes: 1hr workshop/wk Assessment: Weekly assignments (70%), final recorded composition (30%).
This unit aims, through performance, to help students develop vital aural and improvisational skills which will significantly enhance their compositional process.
CMPN1003 Composition Through Improvisation 2

Credit points: 3 Teacher/Coordinator: Judy Bailey Session: Semester 2 Classes: 1hr workshop/wk Prerequisites: CMPN1000 Assessment: Weekly assignments (70%), final recorded composition (30%).
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.
CMPN2000 Performance for Composers: Percussion 1

Credit points: 3 Teacher/Coordinator: Daryl Pratt Session: Semester 1 Classes: 1hr workshop/wk Assessment: Weekly assignments/classroom participation (20%), aural division etude (20%), technical exams (2 x 15%), ensemble composition (30%).
This unit of study is designed to enable composers to gain insights into composing for percussion instruments. Knowledge about percussion composition will be facilitated by a 'hands on' approach incorporating basic stick techniques, rudiments, pulse and subdivision and ensemble performance utilizing improvisation and indeterminate notation systems.
CMPN2001 Performance for Composers: Percussion 2

Credit points: 3 Teacher/Coordinator: Daryl Pratt Session: Semester 2 Classes: 1hr workshop/wk Prerequisites: CMPN2000 Assessment: Weekly assignments/classroom participation (40%), Aural division etude (20%), composition and performance of a piece for percussion ensemble (40%).
This unit of study enables composers to develop an understanding of percussion composition through the development of basic percussion performance techniques, the creation of percussion ensemble compositions, performing complex rhythms and the experience of ensemble performance.

Electroacoustic and Computer Music

CMPN1631 Electroacoustic Music

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Ivan Zavada Session: Semester 1 Classes: One 2 hr lab/studio class/wk Prerequisites: MUED1002 or MUSC2653 Assessment: Composition demonstrating electroacoustic techniques (40%), acousmatic composition in surround sound (60%).
This unit will explore current techniques in electroacoustic composition. Electronic music composers have been "diffusing" stereo works in surround spaces for many years. This unit of study explores composing for a surround space, and investigates writing multichannel electroacoustic works. Students will discuss recent examples of the electroacoustic repertoire to gain an understanding of current practices, and will gain an insight into the recording process leading to the making of their piece.
CMPN1632 Computer Music Fundamentals

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Ivan Zavada Session: Semester 2 Classes: 2 hr lect/wk, 1 hr lab class. Prerequisites: MUED1002 or MUSC2653 Assessment: 2 programming assignments (2x25%), final project (50%).
Note: Students who don't have the prerequisite, but have prior computer programming experience can apply to the Coordinator for permission to enrol.
This unit will focus on interactive and algorithmic composition based on formal processes to create music with computers. This unit investigates an interactive graphical programming environment for music, audio and media called Max, allowing the composer to program and implement interactive music processes quickly and with varying levels of sophistication, thus encouraging the student to explore real-time creative possibilities of digital music technology.
CMPN2633 Computer Music Advanced

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Ivan Zavada Session: Semester 1 Classes: 2 hr lect/wk, 1 hr lab class. Prerequisites: CMPN1632 Assessment: 2 programming assignments (2x25%), final project (50%)
This unit will focus on interactive and generative composition within the digital audio domain and the application of sound synthesis to live electronic music performances in which sound is generated and transformed during the performance rather than pre-recorded. This unit investigates sound generation techniques allowing the composer to create and modify sound with current software applications. Students will explore the means by which sound is produced with computers to extend the creative possibilities of digital signal processing.
CMPN3634 Interactive Media & Sound Installations

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Ivan Zavada Session: Semester 2 Classes: 2 hr lect/wk Prerequisites: CMPN1632 Assessment: Creative projects (100%).
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.