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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Music

Postgraduate Course: Postgraduate Orchestration (MUSI11059)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryOrchestration developed as an identifiable skill through the 19th century, but it remains a powerful and evolving means of musical expression not only in mainstream composition, but also in contemporary music for the moving image. This course will equip students with the practical and analytical techniques necessary to develop a secure technique for orchestral writing, within a creative context. A weekly series of lectures, supported by individual tutorials will cover a series of advanced topics in Orchestration. These will include: an analytical approach to orchestral techniques; the relationship of orchestral sound to moving image; creative approaches to orchestral colour and texture; preparation of scores and materials to a professional standard. You will study existing orchestral repertoire in detail, and develop your own skills of orchestration in a series of practical exercises
Course description Aims of the Course

To introduce advanced concepts and techniques of orchestration, in order:
- to encourage your analytical approach to existing orchestral repertoire
- to improve your knowledge and understanding of the techniques of creating effective orchestral textures and sonorities, including to the moving image
- to develop your skills of presentation and preparation of performance materials


1. Introduction to the analysis of orchestral technique.
2. Analysis of selected scores by Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss.
3. Cinematic Orchestration
4. Practical Orchestration Session 1
5. Practical Orchestration Session 2 (including some conducting)
6. Creating and balancing orchestral texture.
7. Analysis of selected scores by Claude Debussy
8. Effective preparation and presentation of score materials.
9. Analysis of selected scores by Igor Stravinsky
10. Contemporary orchestral effects
11. Revision class.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 11, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 2.5, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 6, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Assessment will be by independent double marking of a submitted portfolio of orchestrations. The portfolio should normally contain at least TWO completed orchestral scores: one set piece, and one scoring project to film. The material will be judged on the basis of its effectiveness, its practicality in terms of instrumental writing, and its technical presentation. Criteria for assessment may include some or all of the following:

- Effectiveness and balance of orchestral textures
- Idiomatic writing for instruments
- Choices of instrumentation
- Effectiveness of the relationship of the score to any accompanying images
- Presentation of the written score

Learning Outcomes Assessed

1. A secure and informed technique for orchestration. 80%
2. The ability to prepare and present performance material in a professional manner. 20%
Feedback Formative feedback will be given on a number of class exercises.
Formative feedback will be given on orchestral direction and rehearsal.
Written feedback will be given on final assessment.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Develop a well-informed and critical approach to the analysis of orchestral scores.
  2. Develop a secure and informed technique for orchestration.
  3. Apply knowledge, skills and understanding in preparing and presenting orchestral materials in a professional manner.
Reading List
Black, D. & Tom Gerou. Essential Dictionary of Orchestration. Los Angeles: Alfred Publishing, 1998.
Del Mar, N. Anatomy of the Orchestra. London: Faber, 1981.
Lawson, C. (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to the Orchestra. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003
Rimsky-Korsakov, N. (M. Steinberg ed., E. Agate trans.) The Principles of Orchestration. Toronto: Dover Publications, 1964.
Mathews, Paul. 2006. Orchestration : an anthology of writings. New York; London: Routledge.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Graduates will have a critical understanding of the expressive purpose of orchestral textures.
Graduates will have a clear understanding of idiomatic writing for orchestral instruments.
Graduates will be able to deal effectively with orchestral musicians, clients and other collaborators, during rehearsal, performance and recording.
Graduates will be able to prepare print materials to a high quality.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Thomas Butler
Course secretaryMiss Remi Jankeviciute
Tel: (0131 6)51 5773
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