Final year - Music

Independent studies

Musicology Dissertation (20 credits)

  • This module may be taken with Special Subject - Musicology provided that the fields of enquiry are contrasted.

The student will, with supervision from a designated tutor, research and write a short dissertation on an aspect of Musicology of their choosing (but in an area which can be adequately supervised by a member of the academic staff). The dissertation may be historical in nature, focusing, for example, on a composer or a group of composers, on a genre, form or style, or on a musical institution or patron. Alternatively, it may be analytical, or discuss performance practice, or comprise an editorial project. The module will build on the skills acquired in musicological modules taken in Years 1 and 2 and may draw on the knowledge acquired but will emphasise the application of skills to a field of enquiry wholly or mainly new to the student.

Studio Composition (20 credits)

  • Prerequisite: Successful completion of the optional module Studio Composition.

The module builds on the skills acquired in the Studio Composition modules offered in Years 1 and 2, i.e. the composition of original electroacoustic music via the medium of computer-based technology. Following an initial recording session to gather individual source sound materials, classes (of 2 hours most weeks in Semester 1) provide a thorough grounding in the resources available in Studio 6, focusing on digital sound editing, processing and mixing techniques in the Macintosh environment and consolidating skills learned in earlier Studio Composition courses. More advanced and elaborate signal processing software than that used in B11 is then introduced. Classes will also include discussion of compositional and aesthetic issues, with the learning process significantly informed by guided reading and listening - attendance at the weekly MiniBEAST listening sessions (11.30-12.30 on Wednesdays throughout Semesters 1 & 2) and at BEAST events in Birmingham are compulsory components of the course, for which students are required to keep a diary containing critical notes on the works presented; they should therefore avoid scheduling instrumental lessons or committing to any other activities at these times. In Semester 2, attention shifts to the composition of individual pieces by each student; scheduled class times provide an opportunity for the tutor to monitor and give feedback on the progress of each student’s piece as it develops, with the class tutor focus on the specific material and compositional ideas of each person.

Paper Composition (20 credits)

  • Prerequisite: Successful completion of the optional module Paper Composition.

The module seeks to build on the skills and knowledge acquired in the Paper Composition modules offered in Years 1 and 2 with a view to enabling the student to produce a portfolio of compositions using a mixture of traditional music notation and its modern extensions, and which can be performed successfully by a group of specified instrumentalists/vocalists.

Semester 1: Issues in Contemporary Music: 5 weekly seminars on a variety of substantial and influential works, analysis, aesthetic and perceptual issues and aspects of performance. The course requires extensive listening. Tutorials follow.

Semester 2: A tutorial course intended to monitor the preparation of the composition folio. 

Additional seminars, workshops and concerts with BCMG (Birmingham Contemporary Music Group) and others are an integral and quality part of the course.

Additional seminars, workshops and concerts with BCMG (Birmingham Contemporary Music Group) are an integral and quality part of the course. Attendance is required (10% of the final mark) and one mark will be subtracted for each unjustified absence. Bona fide membership of New Music Ensemble so as to develop an understanding of twentieth century performance practices is also required.

Solo Performance (20 credits)

This module comprises: regular individual tuition (10 hours) on either an instrument or voice with approved tutors at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire or employed by the University of Birmingham; also occasional seminars/workshops on stagecraft and programming. An accompanist is available for two hours in total, including rehearsal and recital time.

This module cannot be taken with 23480 LH Special Subject Solo Performance. Attainment of 52% or more in the first study assessment of LI Solo Performance is recommended for admission to this module. This module may be taken only by instrumentalists or vocalists (it is not open to accompanists or conductors).