MUSIC323-19B (HAM)

Acoustic and Electroacoustic Composition

15 Points

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Division of Arts Law Psychology & Social Sciences
School of Arts


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Paper Description

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This course aims to develop and refine the individual compositional skills developed in studies so far, and to assist in the emergence of the student’s individual creative voice through supervised composition projects. The practice-based structure of this course will extend creative skills, technical expertise, and artistic understanding.

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Paper Structure

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Composition portfolios should include two substantial and contrasting works. These works may be acoustic, electroacoustic, multimedia or a combination of genres. It is essential that plans for all works are discussed with the supervisor before they proceed.

Students are required to maintain regular contact with the supervisor during teaching times in the semester as the portfolios of original compositions develop during that period. It is important that work is produced throughout the semester so that input from the supervisor can be digested by the student and amendments made to pieces as they are composed.


Students in this paper are expected to take part in activities in the Conservatorium of Music as may be appropriate. Participation in course related seminars and composition workshops, as advised by the supervisor, is mandatory. Attendance at the Wednesday Lunch Hour Concerts, Friday Performance Hour and other activities is highly recommended. Active and critical listening plays a crucial part in one’s musical development and interaction with student performers can contribute a vital, practical element to compositional skill.


The student is responsible for:

• attending and participating in all scheduled teaching sessions, including seminars, tutorials and lab tasks

• keeping in contact with the supervisors, particularly via Moodle and by email

• completing and handing in work in progress throughout the course

• attending all meetings, as requested by the supervisor

• completing any additional course related work required by the supervisor, such as directed readings, research or listening

• maintaining the timetable for handing in work as set by the supervisor

• preparing the completed portfolio to a professional standard of finish, with scores being computer set and appropriately bound, and electroacoustic and multimedia works mastered to a professional standard and uploaded to Soundcloud or Vimeo as appropriate. Each portfolio must have an accompanying, concisely written exegesis addressing the principal aesthetic and technical elements of the compositions.

Supervision times: Monday 1.10pm – 3pm in room I1.06B or by arrangement. Supervision times will be used for group sessions, individual tutorials or seminars on a case by case basis. The primary means of communication about events will be Moodle.

Also note:

Wednesday 1.00 – 2.00pm, Lunchtime Recital Series

Friday 1 – 2.30pm, Student performance hour

Concert Chamber, Academy of Performing Arts

Also check the B Semester Concert Programme for other Conservatorium events


Students studying music are reminded of the importance of attending concerts. In particular, all music students are expected to attend the Wednesday lunch hour concerts in the Concert chamber, Academy of Performing Arts, and are strongly urged to subscribe to the Chamber Music New Zealand programme, and attend performances by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

Concert FM radio provides a wide repertoire of recorded Western music as well as many interesting talks on musical matters (91.4MHz).

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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:

  • Outcomes

    Students who successfully complete the course will have expanded and deepened creative musical skills, technical expertise and artistic outlook.

    This course aims to expand the creative musical skills, technical expertise and artistic outlook of students by building on previous knowledge and experience, and insisting on each student taking innovative steps into some artistic territory that is new to them. Seminar contributions will facilitate clearer and more fluent explanations fo their respective artistic intentions, processes and experiences.

    Linked to the following assessments:
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This course is assessed primarily on the basis of a portfolio of original compositions prepared in consultation with the course supervisor. The make-up and size of the portfolio will be agreed by discussions between the student and supervisor.

Students will complete two substantial works of about 10 minutes’ duration each. Participation (attendance, questions, contribution to discussion) in tutorials will be worth 10% of the course mark.

Assignments are classed as either 'familiar' or innovative'. These terms refer to each student's individual prior experience and previous compositions. Students must undertake either two 'innovative' components, or one 'familiar' and one innovative'. For example, if you have written successful piano pieces in the past, then composing more piano music would be considered working with 'familiar' materials in this paper. Similarly, if you have produced successful fixed media electroacoustic pieces already, them composing another such work would be continuing to use 'familiar' elements. So at least one of the two compositions for this paper must involve extending yourself artistically and technically in new directions. The portfolio will be assessed by the course supervisor.

The first work to be completed requires the submission of a plan first, followed by the completed work. For the second work, a reflective commentary must be handed in a week after the completed creative work is handed in.


29 July, Monday Plan for the first creative work due (15% of course mark)

2 September, MondayCompleted first creative work due (30% of course mark)

4 October Friday, Completed second creative work due (30% of course mark)

11 October, Friday, Reflective analytical commentary on the second creative work due (15% of course mark).

Assignments are to be submitted electronically, in an appropriate format, to the lecturer using Moodle. Note also that, as far as possible, good quality recordings are to be made of acoustic works and handed in on CD or uploaded to Soundcloud, You Tube or similar. Of course acoustic compositions must be submitted primarily as scores edited to a professional standard of finish.

Pedagogy of the assessment items: The assessments have been designed to enable you to demonstrate imaginative development, growing technical skill and increased analytical self-awareness as practising creative artists.

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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 0% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 0% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. PLAN for Composition Project 1
29 Jul 2019
11:30 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
2. Composition Project 1
2 Sep 2019
11:30 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
3. Composition Project 2
4 Oct 2019
11:30 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
4. Analytical-reflective commentary on Project 2
11 Oct 2019
11:30 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
5. Participation in tutorials
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Recommended Readings

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Nicholas Cook Analysing Musical Multimedia

David Cope Techniques of the twentieth century composer

Alex Ross The rest is noise: listening to the twentieth century

Elaine Gould Behind Bars

Collins, Schedel and Wilson Electronic music (best accessed electronciall, ie.via Kindle or iPad)

A. Cipriani and M. Giri Electronic Music and Sound Design: Theory and Practice with Max/MSP - Vol. 1 and 2


Contemporary Music Review

Electronic Musician


The Computer Music Journal

Organised Sound


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Other Resources

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Online Support

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There is an online Moodle community for this course. Moodle can be accessed via the Universty online site when you log on. Important dates and the paper outline are all available from this site.

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In line with Faculty recommendations, students in this course are expected to complete 200 hours of total learning time. In this case, the majority of that time will be spent in self-directed composing.

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Linkages to Other Papers

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Prerequisite papers: MUSIC315 or MUSI315 or MUSIC340 or MUSI340




Restricted papers: MUSI323

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