Module Catalogue 2022/23

MUS2050 : Composition and Arrangement in Folk and Modal Musics

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Ms Nancy Kerr Elliott
  • Lecturer: Ms Kathryn Tickell, Ms Imogen Gunner
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment

Students wishing to take this module must have passed a Stage 1 notation-based or studio-skills-based module.

Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



•       To further develop the student’s understanding, confidence and practical ability in arranging, composing and songwriting within and beyond folk and traditional genres.
•       To further build upon and apply the student’s theoretical knowledge and music writing skills, and so develop both a musically intelligent practice and a practical musical intelligence through the medium of composition and arrangement.
•       To explore the crafts of musical composition and arrangement in the folk genre through practical engagement with a range of creative methods and techniques selected from a plurality of repertoires and artists.
•       To encourage engagement with and understanding of relevant musical examples, increasing awareness of the field.
•       To facilitate independent, student-led creative practice.

Outline Of Syllabus

An optional module which will further develop and apply skills in arrangement and composition and the use of musical notation systems.

This module continues the line of development started in stage one theory and composition modules and will provide the bridge between theoretical understanding and creative application of the skills developed through composition and arrangement. The teaching will be responsive to particular areas of interest, and is intended to enable a fluid interaction between written, aural and practical creative approaches to composition and arrangement.

Students will learn about a range of approaches taken to composition, arrangement and songwriting by musicians working within or responding to the field of folk and traditional music, often using folk repertoire as inspiration for original composition. A range of case studies and practical creative techniques will be studied and then put into practice in students’ own creative work. The module will be delivered in a combination of synchronous seminars and workshops and supported by non-synchronous lecture materials. The assignments will be prepared in independent study time, and students must be prepared to share and discuss their own work in group sessions. Independent study time may also involve gaining additional practice in software such as Sibelius or home recording software, the knowledge of which will be required for this module.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

By the end of this module students will have developed:

•       Knowledge of current compositional and arrangement techniques and approaches in the field of contemporary folk music.

•       Enhanced awareness of relevant artists and repertoire in the field of contemporary folk music.

•       Competence in musical notation including the including the production of scores and parts.
with Sibelius music notation software.

•       Increased understanding of appropriate modules of expression, becoming better equipped for compositional study in the final stage of their programme.

Intended Skill Outcomes

At the end of the module students should be able to :

•       Produce compositions and arrangements that demonstrate the application of a practical compositional techniques developed and refined during the module.
•       Compose and arrange to a specific brief, involving effective planning, time management and the ability to work independently on a creative project.
•       Demonstrate fluency in the use of appropriate modes of expression (eg notation using Sibelius or (home) recording techniques).
•       Document, reflect upon and contextualise their own creative practice in the form of a written commentary that demonstrates knowledge and understanding of their musical field.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture112:0022:00Lecture material with associated tasks
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching61:006:00Seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops52:0010:00Practical workshops
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery20:301:00Online tutorial surgeries
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1161:00161:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lecture materials outline and illustrate techniques and approaches to composition and arrangement, guiding students in the acquisition of core knowledge and skills, which inform their practice.

Seminars and workshops provide a forum in which students will acquire further information and exchange ideas, providing the opportunity to work collectively, share creative work and exchange ideas. Students thus gain peer-to-peer feedback, and lecturers can can monitor students’ progress and understanding.

Regular independent study and creative practice is integral to the development of compositions and arrangements.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Portfolio2M30Portfolio of 2 set assignments. 1 assignment will showcase arrangement skills and 1 assignment will showcase composition skills
Portfolio2A70Portfolio consisting of 1 major composition assignment (60%) with supporting (1000 word) written commentary (10%)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Assessment methods allow tutors to track skills development and monitor learning, making possible responsive teaching. This module also extends learning into areas of creativity. Formative composition, arrangement and analysis tasks will be set and formative feedback offered by lecturers and peers in group seminars and 1:1 tutorials.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes

This has been revised by Catriona Macdonald, as Emily Portman (former ML ) is no longer staff at NU. She has provisionally changed the ML to new staff member Nancy Kerr.

Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2022/23 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2023/24 entry will be published here in early-April 2023. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.