MUSA121-20S1 (C) Semester One 2020

Instrumentation and Notation for Composers

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 17 February 2020
End Date: Sunday, 21 June 2020
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Friday, 28 February 2020
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 29 May 2020


Developing students’ skills in creating and notating contemporary art music for live performance (vocal and instrumental), and building knowledge of compositional techniques and procedures.

This course is for students who want to compose music for instruments, voice, or electronic sounds. While all styles and genres are welcome, the course includes instruction in notation and instrumentation, so some fluency in music notation is advantageous.

Musa121 introduces fundamental compositional techniques and procedures applicable to a range of musical genres. The emphasis in the first semester of composition is creative fluency: the ability to generate a large amount of material quickly. You will compile a portfolio of musical works in any genre, and will have the opportunity to present these works in weekly composition workshops and / or public concerts. There are also opportunities to collaborate and have your music workshopped and performed by School of Music staff and student performers. Lessons also include compositional games and collaborative projects, listening and analytical exercises, and instruction in current best practices for notation and instrumentation.

Learning Outcomes

  • Gained broad knowledge of approaches to musical material across a range of contemporary genres;
  • Learned how to prepare professional quality scores, lead sheets, or media files;
  • Acquired foundational skills in compositional technique applicable across a range of musical genres;
  • Developed elementary skills in aural analysis and / or score study in a range of musical contexts;
  • Acquired skills in preparation of program notes

    Transferable skills:
  • The ability to work in a disciplined and persistent way on an individual project;
  • Peer review skills;
  • The ability to criticise one’s own work.
    • University Graduate Attributes

      This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

      Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

      Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.


Subject to approval of the Head of the New Music programme, on submission of a portfolio.



Timetable Note

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Timetable Note:
Student workload (150 hours) will be allocated to:
• 24 hours attending lectures
• 18 hours attending composition workshops
• 12 hours attending tutorials
• 20 hours completing analytical exercises
•  6 hours completing workshop diary
• 70 hours composing music

Students enrolled in this course are expected to attend all of the Composition workshops.

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Reuben de Lautour


Glenda Keam


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Analysis & Response Assignment 1 10%
Analysis & Response Assignment 2 10%
Workshop Commentary 10%
Composition Drafts 20%
Portfolio 50%

Analysis & Response Assignment 1   10%
Analysis & Response Assignment 2   10%
Portfolio Commentary                      10%
Composition Drafts                          20%
Portfolio                                          50%

There are two Analysis and Response assignments, a portfolio containing three works, and a workshop commentary for this course.  For the Composition Drafts assessment, the student will present work-in-progress versions of at least two compositions during composition workshops.

All assessments are due on the specified date, and should be submitted through the LEARN system. Late work will be accepted up to one week after the deadline with a 10% penalty.

Please check the course LEARN page for further details and updates.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $867.00

International fee $4,000.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see Humanities and Creative Arts .

All MUSA121 Occurrences

  • MUSA121-20S1 (C) Semester One 2020