3.3 Composition

Students must learn how to develop musical ideas, including extending and manipulating musical ideas, and compose music that is musically convincing through two compositions. One must be in response to an externally set brief (Composition 1) and the other a free composition (Composition 2).

The combined duration of the compositions must be a minimum of four and a half minutes.

Compositions must demonstrate technical control in the use of appropriate musical elements and how they are combined to make sense as a whole. Please refer to the tables of musical elements in Subject content.

Students must be able to compose music in one or both of the following formats:

  • instrumental/vocal: produce notated score, written accounts and/or lead sheet by traditional means or by using music software as appropriate
  • production: generated entirely digitally, by using music software, without notated score but with accompanying annotation.

Students must be able to make creative use of the musical elements appropriate to their chosen style or genre of music.

Documenting the composition

Programme note

Students must write a Programme note of approximately 150 words for each composition, which clearly informs the assessor of their compositional intention. This must include how it relates to the selected audience/occasion. Students must also provide details of any software and hardware used in their compositional process.

In all cases the recording of the composition must be accompanied by one or more of the following documents:
  • staff notated score
  • lead sheet
  • aural guide.

Please refer to Component 3: Composition assessment grids for more information about how composition will be marked.