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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Music

Undergraduate Course: Instrumentation and Timbre (MUSI10106)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryInstrumentation and timbre remain powerful and evolving means of musical expression in composition for live and mediated performance and screen media. This course will equip you with the practical and analytical techniques necessary to develop a secure technique for instrumental ensemble writing within a creative context.
Course description In this course you will develop your instrumental writing and skills related to working with instrumentalists. You will improve your knowledge and understanding of the techniques of creating effective instrumental textures and sonorities and develop your analytical approach to existing orchestral/ensemble repertoire. Score presentation and preparation of performance materials will also be explored, and you will be given opportunity to develop your communication skills and practices applicable to working with professional musicians.

This course is practice-based, and you will develop your own skills of instrumental writing through a series of composition and/or arranging exercises. You will also closely examine and analyse 20th- and 21st-Century approaches to instrumentation and explorations of timbre, including the use of synthetic textures and electronics.

A weekly series of lectures, supported by fortnightly small-group tutorials, will cover a series of advanced topics in acoustic instrumentation and ensemble writing. You will also take part in a practical workshop session with visiting professional musicians.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Composition 2 (MUSI08030) OR Composing for Voices and Instruments (MUSI08080)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesProficiency in reading and writing Western European music notation is required, to a level that facilitates the reading of large-scale orchestral scores. Those wishing to check their eligibility or suitability for this course should email the Course Organiser.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2022/23, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  19
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 5, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 6, Summative Assessment Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 162 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Assessment will consist of three components.«br /»
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Component 1 (30% of course mark): Original Score 1, submitted in Weeks 5-7«br /»
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Component 2 (60% of course mark): Original Score 2, submitted during the Exam Period«br /»
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Component 3 (10% of course mark): Reflective Creative Diary, submitted during the Exam Period«br /»
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Learning Outcomes 1, 2 and 3 are addressed by all components. Learning Outcome 4 is addressed by the Original Scores 1 and 2.«br /»
Feedback Verbal and written formative feedback on class exercises will be provided by teaching staff on an ongoing basis. Another important feedback event will be the practical workshop session where students will receive verbal feedback from visiting professional musicians and teaching staff.

Summative feedback on assessments will be provided in line with university guidance.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of approaches to instrumentation through creative practice and reflective writing.
  2. Apply a range of contemporary instrumentation techniques to creative practice.
  3. Critically review the use of complex timbres in musical works.
  4. Employ appropriate ICT skills to create scores and instrumental parts.
Reading List
Black, D. & Tom Gerou. 1998. Essential Dictionary of Orchestration. Los Angeles: Alfred Publishing.
Del Mar, N. 1981. Anatomy of the Orchestra. London: Faber.
Lawson, C. (ed.). 2003. The Cambridge Companion to the Orchestra. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Rimsky-Korsakov, N. (M. Steinberg ed., E. Agate trans.). 1964. The Principles of Orchestration. Toronto: Dover Publications.
Mathews, P. 2006. Orchestration : an anthology of writings. New York; London: Routledge.
Fineber, J. 2000. 'Guide to the basic concepts and techniques of spectral music'. Contemporary Music Review, 19:2, pp.81-113.
Adler, S. 2002. The Study of Orchestration (3rd ed.) New York: W.W. Norton and Company.
Gould, E. 2011. Behind Bars: the Definitive Guide to Music Notation. London: Faber.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Instrumentation and Timbre will foster personal and intellectual inquiry, analytical and creative thinking and problem solving. This is achieved through students applying contemporary techniques in instrumentation to their own composition practice, as demonstrated through the two submitted instrumentations/orchestrations or original compositions. Through completing a reflective creative diary, students will develop practice-as-research methodologies and critical thinking.

Working with professional ensembles during workshop sessions will benefit the student's personal effectiveness through introducing them to professional working environments with highly skilled musicians: the students will develop their interpersonal and (oral/written) communication skills and leadership/team-working skills when working with these instrumentalists.

Instrumentation and Timbre will promote digital literacy through the use of appropriate, industry-standard notation software.
Course organiserMr Neil Smith
Course secretaryDr Ellen Jeffrey
Tel: (0131 6)50 2430
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