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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Music

Postgraduate Course: Composing for Screen (MUSI11071)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course introduces you to techniques, concepts and approaches to composing music for a range of screen-based narrative media -- mostly cinema, but also video games and television.

The course will cover aspects of screen music analysis and interpretation, and provides professional training in composition for screen media. The course will help you to conceptualise and realise a dramatic musical score, and will support you in developing an original compositional voice in a screen-based context.
Course description The course aims to teach you about how screen music works by introducing you to methods for analysing and evaluating examples of screen music from around the world. Students will learn how music changes in different visual contexts and will develop a means of talking about audiovisual interactions by exploring key texts from a now well-established body of screen music literature.

The course will support you to develop work quickly and to produce musical material under time and context pressures. You will learn how to 'spot' and conceptualise a musical score in terms of music's dramatic function, how to employ music technologies used to produce music on screen, and to find ways of realising musical ideas with your peers.

By exploring how to create, adapt and arrange your musical ideas in constrained contexts, you will nourish your individual compositional voice and style in readiness for future challenges.

Part 1
During the first half of the course, you will be challenged to explore, understand and analyse the multiple ways music and visuals situate and resituate each other. You will be introduced to recent developments in screen music scholarship and consider case studies from a variety of historical, theoretical and cultural perspectives. You will compose a title sequence and an end credits sequence for a feature film (duration: around 3 mins in total), television series or game.

Part 2
In part two of this course, you will freely compose musical material to accompany three related sequences from a short film, television series or video game (total duration: 7-8 mins).
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesSkills in digital music and sound production and/or score reading and writing. Pre-requisites to be determined via discussion with the Course Organiser.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2022/23, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  20
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 12, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 6, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 8, Formative Assessment Hours 1, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 167 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) - Submission 1: title and end credits sequences for a feature film, television series or game (total duration: 2-3 mins) 40% (week 6)
- Submission 2: music for three related cues from a short film, television series or video game (total duration: 7-8 mins) 60% (in first week of exam diet)
Feedback - Formative Assessment: students will be provided with verbal in-class feedback in the seminars, workshops and tutorials. Areas of weakness will be identified and targeted in engagements with the lecturer/tutor, and areas of strength discussed.
- Summative Assessment: students will receive written feedback via Learn on summative components of assessment in keeping with UoE policy.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Synthesise general stylistic norms into original and distinctive musical material
  2. Create original musical material within constraints of time, narrative and context
  3. Realise musical ideas into sound with creative use of appropriate music technologies
  4. Integrate an extensive understanding with an analytical appreciation of the potential for music in visual media
Reading List
Coulthard, Lisa. 2017. 'Affect, Intensities, and Empathy'. In The Routledge Companion to Screen Music and Sound ed. Miguel Mera, Ronald Sadoff and Ben Winters. Abingdon: Routledge.

Kulezic-Wilson, Danijela. 2017. 'Sound Design and its Interactions with Music'. In The Routledge Companion to Screen Music and Sound ed. Miguel Mera, Ronald Sadoff and Ben Winters. Abingdon: Routledge.

Mera, Miguel & Anna Morcom. 2009. 'Introduction: Screened Music, Trans-contextualisation and Ethnomusicological Approaches'. In Ethnomusicology Forum, 18 (1): 3-19.

Slobin, Mark. 2008. Global Soundtracks: Worlds of Film Music. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, vii-62.

Winters, Ben. 2010. 'The Non-Diegetic Fallacy: Film, Music, and Narrative Space'. In Music & Letters, 91(2), pp. 224-244.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Knowledge and Understanding:
You will leave this course with a critical understanding of how music on screen works and will demonstrate extensive and detailed knowledge of how to create musical ideas in a moving image context. You will develop a critical understanding of a range of approaches to composing music for screen and of the myriad interactions of music and visuals in screen-based media.

Practice: applied knowledge
You will leave this course with strong skills in realising musical ideas and turning them into professional/viable sounds to accompany sequences of moving images. You will learn how to develop and extend musical themes and ideas within the same work.

Cognitive Skills
You will develop an ability to critically analyse the complex relationships between music, image and narrative. You will respond to problems and issues in screen music composition by producing a substantial portfolio of original creative work for screen.

Communication and ICT
You will have opportunities to share your ideas with others and communicate your musical ideas to other musicians. You will learn how to use an industry-standard Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) to an advanced level and develop critical listening, sound production and score production skills.
KeywordsComposing for Screen,Audio Vision,Composition,Stylistic Composition,Arrangement,Collaboration
Course organiserDr Chris Letcher
Tel: (0131 6)50 2333
Course secretaryDr Ellen Jeffrey
Tel: (0131 6)50 2430
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