Final year - Music

Special subjects

Musicology (40 credits)

  • This module may only be taken with Independent Study Musicology if the fields of enquiry are contrasted.
  • Prerequisite: Normally a mark of at least 60 in either Year 2 Music Analysis or Critical Musicology

The student will, with supervision from a designated tutor, research and write a dissertation on an aspect of Musicology of their choosing. Areas of investigation will result in a prose dissertation, but this may include analysis, editing, or performance, if approved and appropriate. Attendance at the Department’s Musicology Research Seminar series (selected Tuesdays at 5 pm) is compulsory.

Studio Composition (40 credits)

  • Prerequisite: Successful completion of Year 2 Studio Composition, normally with a mark of at least 60.

Semester 1: Seminars (of 2 hours most weeks) to ensure that students are thoroughly familiar with all the available Studio resources. Starting from a group recording session to gather individual source sound materials, the course builds on and consolidates techniques learned in course B11 Studio Composition, focusing on digital sound editing, processing and mixing. More advanced and elaborate signal processing software than that used in B11 is also introduced. Guided reading and listening, along with discussion of compositional and aesthetic issues, will inform the learning process. This is aided by attendance at BEAST events in Birmingham and by weekly listening sessions throughout Semesters 1 & 2, curated by staff and postgraduate composers, using the Elgar Room MiniBEAST system. Attendance at these sessions (11.30-12.30 on Wednesdays) is part of the course, with students keeping a diary of attendance and critical notes on the works presented; 322 students should avoid committing to any other activity at this time. Towards the end of Semester 1, classes will be replaced by individual tutorials to establish the specific materials for each student’s piece and the best methods of developing that material for the compositional aims of each person.

In Semester 2, attention shifts almost completely to the composition of individual pieces by each student. To support this, fortnightly individual tutorials with the class tutor focus on the specific material and compositional ideas of each person.

Paper Composition (40 credits)

  • Prerequisite: Successful completion of Year 2 Paper Composition, normally with a mark of at least 60.

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 fortnightly seminars on a variety of substantial and influential works, analysis, aesthetic and perceptual issues and aspects of performance. The course requires extensive listening. 5 alternating tutorials.

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. 

Solo Performance (40 credits)

Instrumentalists and Vocalists: Regular individual tuition (20 hours) on either an instrument or voice with approved tutors at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire or employed by the University of Birmingham. Occasional seminars and workshops on programming, presentation and other general matters. An accompanist is available for students for four hours in total, including rehearsal and recital time.

Conductors: As above, but including conducting either designated instrumental ensembles (orchestral conductors) or a specially constituted vocal ensemble (choral conductors).

Accompanists: As for instrumentalists, but focused on the role of accompanist rather than soloist.

In all cases the module focuses on developing the skills and techniques needed by a solo performer (instrumentalist, singer, conductor) to perform successfully music of a high level of technical and interpretive difficulty. For all students except conductors, an opportunity to perform in a lunchtime concert in the Spring term is offered but not examined. This module cannot be taken with 22028 LH Solo Performance (Independent Study). Attainment of 62% or more in the first study assessment of LI Solo Performance is a recommendation for admission to this module.