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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Music

Postgraduate Course: Instrumentation and Timbre (MUSI11068)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryInstrumentation and timbre remain 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 you with the practical and analytical techniques necessary to develop a secure technique for instrumental ensemble writing within a creative context.
Course description A weekly series of lectures, supported by small-group tutorials, will cover a series of advanced topics in acoustic instrumentation and ensemble writing (including orchestral works) arising from 20th and 21st Century practices. These will include: an analytical approach to ensemble techniques; creative approaches to instrumental colour and texture; preparation of scores and materials to a professional standard; practical workshop sessions with professional ensembles. You will study existing repertoire in detail and develop your own skills of instrumental writing in a series of practical exercises.

The main aims of the course are:
- to encourage your analytical approach to existing orchestral/ensemble repertoire
- to improve your knowledge and understanding of the techniques of creating effective instrumental textures and sonorities
- to develop your skills of presentation and preparation of performance materials
- to develop your communication skills and practices applicable to working with professional musicians

You will examine and analyse 20th and 21st Century approaches to instrumentation and explorations of timbre, including the use of synthetic textures and live electronics. In addition to the lectures and tutorials, you will take part in two practical workshop sessions: one with Music's Ensemble in Residence, and one with another professional chamber ensemble. During these workshop sessions you will be able to work directly with the ensemble to trial your original instrumental work and/or new instrumentations of existing work.

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2022/23, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  22
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 6, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 148 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Assessment will consist of three components.

Component 1 (30% of course mark): Original Score 1
Submitted mid semester, this Original Score can comprise either an original instrumental composition or a (re-)instrumentation/orchestration of existing repertoire, and can include composition to accompany media (e.g. film). Material will be assessed by single marking with moderation, and judged on the basis of its effectiveness, its practicality and creativity in terms of instrumental writing, and its technical presentation.

Component 2 (60% of course mark): Original Score 2
Submitted during the Exam Period, this Original Score can comprise either an original instrumental composition or a (re-)instrumentation/orchestration of existing repertoire, and can include composition to accompany media (e.g. film). It will be a more substantial piece of work compared to Component 1. Material will be assessed by single marking with moderation, and judged on the basis of its effectiveness, its practicality and creativity in terms of instrumental writing, and its technical presentation.

Component 3 (10% of course mark): Reflective Creative Diary «br /»
Submitted during the Exam Period, the reflective diary is a written submission that documents the student's development and changing critical understanding of timbre and instrumentation throughout the course. The diary can comprise (but is not limited to): reflections on timbre as it relates to their own composition practice or musicological discipline (etc); reviews of live performances and recordings that focus on instrumentation; reflective accounts of tutorials and instrumental ensemble sessions; accounts of their creative process with regards to timbre. The diary will be assessed by single marking with moderation, and judged on the basis of its communication of the student's critical approach to timbre, and as documentation of the critical application of theories studied.
Feedback Formative feedback will be provided at several times throughout the course, including verbal feedback on class exercises as part of lectures and tutorials. A significant amount of formative feedback will be offered as part of the two instrumental workshops: students will receive verbal feedback on their instrumentation and technical score presentation from the Ensemble in Residence / other visiting ensemble and teaching staff, followed by written feedback compiled from verbal comments expressed during the session.

Written feedback will be provided for all summative assessments.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of contemporary approaches to instrumentation through creative practice and reflective writing.
  2. Apply a significant range of contemporary instrumentation techniques to creative practice.
  3. Develop creative and original uses of instrumentation techniques through creative practice.
  4. Critically review the use of complex timbres in musical works.
  5. Employ appropriate ICT skills to create professional-level 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.

The instrumental ensemble workshops with the Ensemble in Residence and other professional ensembles will benefit the student's personal effectiveness through introducing them to professional working sessions 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.
Keywordsinstrumentation,orchestration,timbre,composition,music for screen
Course organiserMr Neil Smith
Course secretaryDr Ellen Jeffrey
Tel: (0131 6)50 2430
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