module specification

MD5054 - Music for Film and Media (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24, but may be subject to modification
Module title Music for Film and Media
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Computing and Digital Media
Total study hours 150
30 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
84 hours Guided independent study
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 35%   Composition exercises and diary
Coursework 65%   Film Composition and Report
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester City Thursday Afternoon

Module summary

In Music for Film and Media, you will explore the fundamental principles and approaches in composing music for applications in film, television, computer games, advertising, and other media.

In doing so you will explore practices in scoring for media and the moving image, orchestration and supporting onscreen storylines and actions. You will examine uses of music in film and media, and critical approaches in the field of composing for film which have shaped the industry and working practices.

You will engage in exercises composing for a range of scenes, genres and formats, putting into practice the techniques, theory and principles learned.

This module will allow you to further develop your understanding of music theory, synthesising your understanding of composition and song writing to practices in writing for film and media. 

You will explore the production and use of cue sheets and mood boards as part of the working practices in composing for film and media, as well as expanding on your practices with Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) and MIDI. You will develop on the use of DAWs as tools for composing and arranging for media including spotting and aligning on screen cues and cuts.

This module aims to:
• Examine the uses of music in media and film
• Expand your understanding of music theory
• Introduce concepts of orchestration and instrumentation
• Explore practices in writing music for film and media
• Open pathways of employment in composing for film and media

You will be assessed through a range of formative composition exercises and a major composition for a piece of film or media. In doing so you will have to opportunity to collaborate with students from Games or Film and Television production.


• Composition and music theory (LO1, 2, 3)
• Music for the moving image (LO1, 2, 3)
• Cue Sheets (LO1, 2)
• Orchestration (LO1, 2)
• Critical and Analytical Listening (LO3, 4)
• MIDI and instrumentation (LO1, 4)
• Music for computer games (LO1, 2)

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Students teaching and learning will consist of weekly classes comprising a combination of seminars, and studio practice workshops totalling 36 hours of contact time. Students will be given the opportunity to engage in practical workshops in the Music Studios, including guided demonstrations and composition tasks.

The learning and teaching in classes will be supported by the University’s VLE and a blended learning approach, sharing class materials, recommended reading. Tutorials will also be offered to support students in the preparation of their assessments.

In addition, students will undertake independent study, including researching, assessment planning and practice supported by the music technical demonstrator.

Students will engage in reflective practice, reviewing their own, and each other’s compositions.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this module, you should be able to:

LO1. Compose music for a range of uses in film or media.
LO2. Demonstrate the use of working practices in music for film and media.
LO3. Explain with clear understanding the use of music to support the moving image, discussing the outcomes of your composition critically, establishing clear recommendations for future practice.
LO4. Demonstrate effect use of Digital Audio Workstations in producing music for film and media

Assessment strategy

Composition exercises and diary – 35% weighting
Students will complete 3 short exercises in composing for film and media, composing music for 3 short video clips of film, advertisements, and games. In addition to the practical outcome, students are required to submit a diary (including reflections on feedback from tutorials).

Final composition and report – 65% weighting
In the final composition project, students are required to compose music for a piece of moving image. In doing so applying the theory and practice covered across the course of the module. Students will be given the choice between collaborating on a student project from Film and TV production or Games or working on an existing scene from Film, TV, Games or Advertising. In addition to the final composition, students are required to submit a 2000-word report, detailing the conception, planning and production of the composition, making critical reflections and conclusions from the end results.



Core Reading:
• Aldwell, E., Schachter, C., & Cadwallader, A. C. (2019). Harmony & voice leading.
• Allen, J.A. (2018) Music theory for electronic music producers: the producer’s guide to harmony, chord progressions, and song struture in the MIDI Grid. Minneapolis, MN: Slam Academy.
• Bell, E (2017) The Art of Songwriting: How to Create, Think and Live Like a Songwriter. Song Foundry.
• Bell, P. (2020) Creating Commercial Music: Advertising, Library Music, TV Themes, and More. Berklee Press Publications.
• Carter, N. (2020) Music theory: from absolute beginner to expert.
• Hewitt, M. J. (2008). Music theory for computer musicians. Delmar.
• Hill, A.W. (2017) Scoring the screen: the secret language of film music. Montclair, NJ: Hal Leonard Books (Music pro guides).
• Kruk, M. and Alexander, J. (2019) Introduction to writing music for television.
• Phillips, W. (2014) A composer’s guide to game music. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press.
• Schifrin, L (2011) Music composition for film and television. Boston, Mass: Berklee.
• Sturman, P (2010) Harmony, Melody and Composition. Cambridge University Press.