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Advanced Timbre: instrumental, vocal and digital approaches - MUS00092M

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  • Department: Music
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Martin Suckling
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25
    • See module specification for other years: 2023-24

Module summary

‘Orchestration’ considered as the use of timbre across instrumental, vocal and electronic media.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2024-25

Module aims

Orchestration is not (only) about writing for orchestra. Considered more generally, the technique of orchestration can be understood as the use of timbre to support, enhance, and often lead a musical argument – which is to say it is a fundamental aspect of composition, not a decorative addition.

While composers often specialise, today’s artists need to be confident in creating music across a variety of media. The different timbral resources and performing traditions of instrumental, vocal and electronic music offer different compositional possibilities: an awareness of and facility in each of these will support greater scope for your individual creative work.

In this module you will write for each scenario (instrumental ensemble, vocal ensemble, electronics with or without instrument) according to a specific brief. Your work will be supported by a series of introductory seminars in each area. There will be the opportunity to hear some of your music workshopped by performers from within the School.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module you should be able to:

  • Produce convincing compositions for instrumental, vocal and electronic forces;

  • Strategically deploy available timbral resources for structural and expressive effect in their creative work

  • Present performance materials to a professional specification


Task Length % of module mark
Composition portfolio
N/A 100

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

You will complete a portfolio of three short (2-3 minutes each) compositions to a prescribed brief, one each for instrumental, vocal, and digital (or mixed) media.


Task Length % of module mark
Composition portfolio
N/A 100

Module feedback

You will receive written feedback in line with standard University turnaround times.

Indicative reading


The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.