MU5005 - Techniques of Composition, Harmonic Analysis and Improvisation 2

What will I learn on this module?

In this module, you will build on the core first-year course, Techniques of Composition, Harmonic Analysis and Improvisation. The module focuses on more advanced harmonic progressions including the use of dominant 13th, diminished 7th, Neapolitan 6th and Augmented 6th chords, and on broader tonal structures.

Students produce weekly harmony assignments which may include analytical exercises, harmony exercises and pastiche composition. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the distinctions between composer, improviser and performer were much less distinct than today, and we will explore repertoire through improvisation.

How will I learn on this module?

There are weekly seminars and tutorials. The seminars may include some lecture input, student presentations, group discussions of musical scores, improvisation workshops and related exercises, feedback on work to the whole class. The tutorials are in smaller groups, and are designed to give help and guidance on drafts of your work.

You will learn most through your active engagement with the exercises in harmony and through pastiche composition. Sometimes, an in-course assignment will include the submission of previous work corrected in the light of feedback. This ensures that the written and oral feedback you receive on your work is absorbed and can be of some practical use. This work will be supported by analytical assignments.

There is an online textbook which will be required reading; this is readily available on the eLearning Portal.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

You will be given considerable support by the Module Tutor within workshops and tutorials, during publicised office hours and via email. You will be constantly working with your peers in a spirit of mutual support, encouragement and collaboration. The programme leader will guide you through the requirements and expectations of your course. You will receive on-going feedback each week during the seminars which will help you prepare for the in-course assessments; you will oral feedback on your in-course assessments as well as a mark and written annotations. The online textbook will support you in your weekly work.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. You will understand advanced harmonic progressions, especially those involving the dominant 13th, diminished 7th, Neapolitan 6th and Augmented 6th.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
2. You will be able to use chords such as the dominant 13th, diminished 7th, Neapolitan 6th and Augmented 6th

3. You will be able to undertake a structural analysis of tonal music.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

4. You will demonstrate a capacity for curiosity, creativity, and intellectual openness.

How will I be assessed?

1. Portfolio of written and recorded work, built up during the year (100%). MLOs 1, 2, 3, 4

Feedback will be given on drafts of work. Written feedback will be in the form of annotations to the score(s). Feedback will be given during the course of the module on each piece of work that will contribute to the portfolio.


MU4003 Techniques of Composition, Harmonic Analysis and Improvisation



Module abstract

This module focuses on more advanced harmonic progressions. It is centred on weekly assignments which may include analytical exercises, harmony exercises, pastiche composition and improvisation.

Course info

UCAS Code W320

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Humanities

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2022 or September 2023

Fee Information

Module Information

All information on this course page is accurate at the time of viewing.

Our Campus based courses starting in 2022 and 2023 will be delivered on-campus with supporting online learning content. We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to adjust the delivery of our education accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

On-campus contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with any additional restrictions, which may be imposed by the Government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors. This could potentially mean increased or fully online delivery, should such restrictions on in-person contact time be required.


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