module specification

MD4007 - Composing with Technology (2018/19)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2018/19
Module title Composing with Technology
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Computing and Digital Media
Total study hours 300
210 hours Guided independent study
90 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 0%   A1. Week 4 submission Individual work (practical component and report) Soundscape
Coursework 35%   A2. Midterm submission on week 17 Individual work (practical component and report) Portfolio of short musical sketches
Coursework 65%   Final Project Individual work (practical component and report) Final Project: composition
Running in 2018/19
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year City Tuesday Afternoon

Module summary

Module brief:
This module offers students the opportunity to learn through engagement with practical projects. This is a subject discipline module, which explores the practice of music composition through the use of technology. At the end of the module the students will have completed a substantial piece of work. In doing so, they will have travelled a journey through a production process that typically includes pre-production, experimentation, development, and resolution.
The module considers the creativity of the inquiring student at its core for the investigation on innovative ways to combine sounds musically. At this level, the student selects a project from a menu of choices. Music composition can be investigated through a variety of styles and languages, from popular and classical, through experimental and contemporary repertoires. Students will engage on composition exercises, critical listening, and seminar discussions.
This Module consists of the following subjects:
● Music notation
● Music composition
● Critical listening
● Stylistic & Formal Analysis
● Sound production
● Instrumentation
● Seminar discussions
● Popular music
● Classical music
● Experimental music
● Contemporary music
● Computer music

On completion of this module, students should be able to demonstrate skills and understanding of music practice to devise the needed elements and processes of composition with technology, integrating creative, technical and critical learning.
This module is generally taught over 30 weeks with formative assessments on Weeks 4 and 17 and summative assessment on Week 28, followed by peer presentations and feedback sessions. This is a core module for the two pathways of BSc Music Technology and Production: Sonic Arts and Music Production.
Aims of the module:

The module aims to integrate creative, technical and critical learning and skills in the field of music composition with access to a variety of contemporary technologies, providing students with the basic experience and skills sufficient to enable them to work independently towards completion of a project; increasing their understanding of practice through learning from and with other students; learning to manage and plan their time effectively; and exploring the domain of acoustic and digital sounds, to develop expertise on the use of DAW (digital audio workstation) for sequencing and arranging, recording, editing, processing, and mixing of new works.


The syllabus is organised to meet the needs of the two cohorts — Music Production and Sonic Arts — while at the same time contributing to integrate their practice as members of the same community: Music Technology
Key subject areas:
● Music notation; Music composition; Instrumentation: Melody, scale and mode; harmony; texture in music, Why write music down?  LO2

● Critical listening; Stylistic & Formal Analysis – Listening Critically: thinking about music; talking about music; writing about music.  LO1, 5

● Seminar discussions and presentations  LO1, 3, 4, 5

● Popular music repertories: analysing the commercial and urban music arena.  LO2, 4, 5

● Analysing concert music: Classical music; Experimental music; Contemporary music; Computer music.  LO2, 4, 5

● Sound and music production  LO2

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The balance between independent study and scheduled teaching activities within this module is 70% and 28% respectively (+2% assessment preparation/delivery).
Scheduled teaching follows the average contact time, per standard 30-credit module across the University, at 84 hours (3 hours per week). We excluded from this total the two weeks at the end of the module, which are dedicated to preparation for the Final Project submission and Presentations & Feedback sessions. The scheduled teaching is divided in Lectures, Workshops, and Seminars and they take place in the Computer Lab and in the Music Studios.
Independent study provides students with the opportunity to develop LO1 – The ability to work independently towards defined objectives and LO4 – The ability to manage and plan their time productively. For example, by making and reviewing a schedule. Students have access to the Computer Lab, AV Suites (part of the Music Studios), and Library facilities at London Met. Blended Learning is maintained via Weblearn Course and Module pages with full documentation of the activities developed in class. Opportunities for reflective learning/PDP are promoted through feedback and written reports, embedded in all assessments with emphasis on reflection of their work. Formative assessment and feedback is planned to address their learning development needs and to capture their learning achievements with a regular request of reflective commentaries in all written submissions.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to demonstrate:
• LO1 – The ability to work independently towards defined objectives.
• LO2 – Skills and understanding of subject specific practice (Music Composition with Technology).
• LO3 – The ability to work with, and learn from other students. For example, by discussing their work in group seminars, by asking for and using constructive criticism.
• LO4 – The ability to manage and plan their time productively. For example, by making and reviewing a schedule.
• LO5 – The skills of integrating creative, technical, and critical learning

Assessment strategy

Formative Assessment 1 (Week 4 submission). Individual work (practical component and report) Soundscape. It should also include a commentary analysis of 700 words.

Formative Assessment 2 (week 17 midterm submission). Individual work (practical component and report) Portfolio of short musical sketches. It should also include a report of 1200 words. It should be resubmitted at the end of the module to reflect on Formative Feedback.

Final Project
The final project will consist of a major composition of about 2-3 minutes in length. It should also include an individual report of 2000 words.



Core Text:

Aldwell E., Schachter, C. Cadwallader, A. (2011) Harmony and voice leading, Boston, MA: Schirmer/Cengage Learning. [5th edition, 2017]
Frank, R.J., Metz, K. (2011) Fundamentals for the Aspiring Musician: A Preparatory Course for Music Theory, Taylor & Francis Group
Rossing, T.D., Moore, F.R., Wheeler, P.A. (2002) The Science of Sound (San Francisco; London: Addison Wesley)
Voegelin, S (2010) Listening to Noise and Silence: Towards a Philosophy of Sound Art (New York, Continuum). E-book - Full text from Dawsonera

Recommended Reading:

Butler, M.J. (2006) Unlocking the Groove: Rhythm, Meter, And Musical Design in Electronic Dance Music in: Profiles in Popular Music Series, Indiana University Press
Dogantan, M. (2008) Recorded music : philosophical and critical reflections / edited by Mine Dogantan-Dack, London : Middlesex University Press
Cope, David (2001) New Directions in Music, Waveland Press
Copland, A. (1953) What to listen for in music, New American Library; Muller. [new edition: 2009]
Grisey, G, ‘Tempus ex Machina: a composer’s reflection on musical time’, Contemporary Music Review 2 / 1 (1987). Available by request.
Nyman, Michael (2002) Experimental Music: Cage and Beyond (Music in the Twentieth Century), Cambridge University Press


International Computer Music Association, Resources, Array, Online access:
IRCAM: Research Teams, Online access:
Thomas, D.B. (n.d.) Music Theory – Videos for my music theory students at The University of the Arts, Philadelphia, Online access:

Electronic Databases:

Breckenridge, S. L. (2015) Music Taste or Waste: Critical Listening Skills for Students, Teachers and Parents, Ed. 2, revised, Kendall Hunt Publishing
Cook, N. (1992) Music, imagination and culture, Oxford [U.K.] ; New York : Clarendon. E-book - Full text from ACLS Humanities E-Book
Dell’Antonio, A (ed.) Beyond Structural Listening? Postmodern Modes of Hearing (Berkeley, University of California Press, 2004). E-book - Full text from JSTOR DDA
Frith, S, ed. (2001) The Cambridge Companion to Pop and Rock, (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge) E-book - Full text from Cambridge Companions Online
Szendy, P (trans. Mandell, C) Listen: A History of Our Ears (New York, Fordham University Press, 2008). E-book - Full text from JSTOR DDA