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Academic Year 2021/2022

Techniques of Songwriting (MUS20720)

Arts & Humanities
2 (Intermediate)
Module Coordinator:
Assoc Professor Ciaran Crilly
Mode of Delivery:
On Campus
Internship Module:
How will I be graded?
Letter grades

Curricular information is subject to change.

In this module, students will explore the relationship between words and music by analysing a wide variety of song-writing techniques from different genres and eras. Students will be given a number of short writing assignments to master the various techniques taught in class. The aim is to equip students with a wide range of writing techniques which can be applied to a broad variety of creative working environments.

Students will maintain a listening and songwriting journal, detailing the ideas they have explored throughout the course, working either individually or collaboratively. The final evaluation will include submitting the songwriting journal, as well as the lyrics, chords and recording of an original song which should demonstrate a mastery of the specific techniques learned in class.

The students final songs will be shared in a workshop masterclass with special guest artists from the music industry who will offer their professional feedback and insight.

About this Module

Learning Outcomes:

All students completing this module will:
1. Become familiar with the work of songwriters from a diverse range of genres and eras
2. Become familiar with a range of lyric writing techniques, both technical and creative
3. Understand the rhythmic relationship between words and music
4. Become familiar with basic music theory and notation
5. Learn creative approaches to chords, melodies and structure
6. Learn about the real-world applications of these skills when building a career in the arts

Indicative Module Content:

Rhyme & Rhythm
 Scansion, metre and feet
 Sibilance, alliteration and assonance as rhythmic devices
 Internal rhyme
 Syllabic and melismatic settings
 Time signatures

Literary Devices
 Imagery and Word Painting
 Metaphor and Simile
 Thematic Development

Harmony and Melody
 Chord Progressions
 Tonicisation and Modulation
 Chromatic Alterations
 Extended Chords
 Scales and modes
 Notation

Student Effort Hours:
Student Effort Type Hours
Autonomous Student Learning






Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This module will be delivered through:
1. Taught classes introducing techniques of lyric writing and musical composition
2. Analyses of the work of songwriters from a diverse range of genres and eras
3. Recommended reading and listening
4. In-class exercises, small group work
5. Homework, written assignments
6. Professional feedback in workshops with special guest artists

Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Assignment: Written exercises will be given during class and for homework Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Portfolio: Students will maintain a written journal, keeping track of their creative ideas, class work and collaborative work, and taking stock of critical feedback from lecturers and guest artists Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Project: Submitting the chords, lyrics and recording of an original song, demonstrating a mastery of the techniques taught in class
Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No



Carry forward of passed components

Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 

Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.