MUS20880 Techniques of Songwriting

Academic Year 2022/2023

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 (or music notation) 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.

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Curricular information is subject to change

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:

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
Continuous Assessment: Students will be expected to contribute to class discussions and exercises, to submit regular homework assignments, and to demonstrate that they are making clear progress towards their final submissio Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Assignment: Submission of a recording (or music notation) of an original song, accompanied by a typed sheet of lyrics and chords, and a songwriting journal maintained throughout the term. Week 12 n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring 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?

The teachers will monitor student progress throughout the term, offering feedback on their regular homework assignments, and on the first draft of their original song before final submission.

Name Role
Dr Jonathan Creasy Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Practical Offering 1 Week(s) - 4, 7, 9, 10 Sat 10:00 - 15:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 22, 24, 26, 31, 32, 33 Fri 12:00 - 13:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 21, 23, 25, 29 Fri 12:00 - 13:50