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    Creative music composition, including songwriting, music for film and theatre, arranging and writing idiomatically for instruments.

    Contemporary Composition focuses on both songwriting and composition. Prospects for a career as a composer or songwriter are enhanced by a greater knowledge of a diverse range of music. We encourage students to have 'many strings to their bow', in order to meet the challenges of the modern music industry. This paper develops a range of skills and provides good vocational support for a career as a creative musician.

    About this paper

    Paper title Contemporary Composition
    Subject Music
    EFTS 0.15
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $1,173.30
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    MUSI 101 and either (MUSI 131 or MUSI 135)
    MUSI 231, MUSI 235
    Schedule C
    Arts and Music

    Teaching staff

    Professor Anthony Ritchie
    Professor Peter Adams
    Dr Madeleine Parkins-Craig

    Paper Structure
    The paper is structured into modules that cover songwriting, arrangement and orchestration, writing for film, and developing compositional technique.
    Teaching Arrangements
    This is a full-year paper that has two lecture sessions every week. Tutorials for work in progress take place every four weeks.

    Textbooks are not required for this paper. All materials will be provided in class.

    Course outline

    Please contact the School of Performing Arts for a copy of the most recent paper profile.

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Global Perspective, Interdisciplinary Perspective, Lifelong Learning, Communication, Critical Thinking, Information Literacy, Self-motivation, Research, Teamwork.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    Students who successfully complete this paper will have:

    • Developed new skills and understandings of creating, notating and realising new music via recording and performance
    • The ability to suggest new ideas and areas for development
    • Understanding of global trends, national and international influences, musical hybrids and multimedia
    • Understanding of creative practices and the ability to place them in context
    • Developed compositional research skills - research conducted into compositions and songs, film music, texts, etc., along with background to instruments and technology
    • The ability to critically evaluate new compositions and to understand how this information informs the development and creation of new musical works


    Semester 2

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    A1 Tuesday 11:00-11:50 29-35, 37-40, 42


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    A1 Tuesday 11:00-11:50 41
    Wednesday 15:00-15:50 41


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    A1 Wednesday 15:00-15:50 29-35, 37-40, 42
    Thursday 14:00-14:50 29-35, 37-42
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