Instrumentation, Voicing and Orchestration

Module code: W3076
Level 4
15 credits in autumn semester
Teaching method: Workshop, Lecture
Assessment modes: Coursework

During this module you will deepen your knowledge and understanding of the western musical repertoire over the past 500 years in ways that are relevant to all modern musicians. You will survey works for voices and instruments by examining a case study from a different time period each week of the module. The aim is not a standard history of music, rather the focus is on voicing and instrumentation, giving you the chance to understand and link technical changes to historical contexts through close study and to gain vital skills in music's practice and craft. Each week you will start a practical exercise in class, which will help you to complete your assessments (an exercise and a creative project). Your survey will include works by Josquin, Tallis, Palestrina, Monteverdi, Bach, Beethoven, Debussy, Ruth Crawford Seeger, Judith Weir and Unsuk Chin.

Having taken this module you will have consolidated and improved your competence in reading scores and further developed your technical understanding of and practical abilities in orchestration. You will also have gained insights into the structures and internal organisation of music for a wide range of vocal and instrumental ensembles from 1500 to the present day.


If not a music student, grade 7 level instrument or voice must be demonstrated.

Module learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate through practical compositional and arrangement work with voices and instruments a critical understanding of music's inner workings.
  • Demonstrate competence in writing musical scores, including scores with multiple instrumental and/or vocal parts.
  • Show knowledge and understanding of instrumental and vocal part-writing through a portfolio of short arrangements.
  • Demonstrate competence and confidence in using music notation software.