Composition and Songwriting

To create is to be human. This subject equips students with an understanding of compositional techniques so they can create their own original music. First, the building blocks of music are explained and explored, including pitch, rhythm, tone colour, texture, and structure.  Then these individual elements are combined and manipulated to express musical ideas in a variety of genres.

Quick Info

  • Currently offered by Alphacrucis: Yes
  • Course code: MUS340
  • Credit points: 10
  • Subject coordinator: Daniel Thornton

Awards offering Composition and Songwriting

This unit is offered as a part of the following awards:

Unit Content


  1. Explain musical pieces in terms of their musical elements;
  2. Generate musical ideas;
  3. Select appropriate harmonic and melodic structures;
  4. Compose musical works;
  5. Rearrange musical elements to maximise the intent and impact of the composition.

Subject Content

  • Musical elements
    • Duration
    • Pitch
    • Tone Colour
    • Dynamics & Expressive Techniques
  • Texture
  • Analysing musical compositions
  • Generating musical ideas
  • Writing lyrics
  • Popular music harmonic conventions
  • Musical structures
  • Arranging techniques

This course may be offered in the following formats

  • Face to Face (onsite)
  • Distance/E-learning (online)
  • Intensive (One week: 7 hours per day for 5 days = 35 class hours + approx 85 hours out of class time for research, writing, exam preparation and execution, ancillary activities associated with completion of assigned tasks)

Please consult your course prospectus or enquire about how and when this course will be offered next at Alphacrucis University College.

Assessment Methods

  • Journal Entries (10%)
  • Minor Essay (25%)
  • Music Compositions (50%)
  • Composition Revisions (15%)

Prescribed Text

  • Primary readings provided