SyllinGalanodel
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How is this part of the course structured? Is it about making original music, or more about writing in the styles of other composers? How much freedom do you have, or is that saved until later years?

I’d like to do focus on composition but I’m not sure if it would be better at an academic university or conservatoire. Maybe I’m wrong, but Oxford seems like a mix, depending on what modules you pick.
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Maestoso58
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I have an extremely rough idea about the music course at Cambridge and I think it's more academic. They require submissions of written work on music, iirc. If you're planning to focus on composition and not scholarly work, then I think conservatoires would be the better option.
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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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(Original post by SyllinGalanodel)
How is this part of the course structured? Is it about making original music, or more about writing in the styles of other composers? How much freedom do you have, or is that saved until later years?

I’d like to do focus on composition but I’m not sure if it would be better at an academic university or conservatoire. Maybe I’m wrong, but Oxford seems like a mix, depending on what modules you pick.
When I was at Ox ten years ago, original composition could be up to one sixth of your first year examined options, and one eighth of your third year examined options (no exams in second year). There are modules called 'Techniques of Composition' which are more kinda pastiche composition/harmony and counterpoint. You can also do an optional module in orchestration in second and third year.

OxMus is a current student and will correct me if things have changed since I left
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SyllinGalanodel
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(Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
When I was at Ox ten years ago, original composition could be up to one sixth of your first year examined options, and one eighth of your third year examined options (no exams in second year). There are modules called 'Techniques of Composition' which are more kinda pastiche composition/harmony and counterpoint. You can also do an optional module in orchestration in second and third year.

OxMus is a current student and will correct me if things have changed since I left
Ah ok, so you can only focus up to a third and then 3/8 of your degree on music writing of some sort. Interesting, I’ll think about it, thank you! Ps. What is the module ‘edition with commentary’?
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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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(Original post by SyllinGalanodel)
Ah ok, so you can only focus up to a third and then 3/8 of your degree on music writing of some sort. Interesting, I’ll think about it, thank you! Ps. What is the module ‘edition with commentary’?
In all honesty, I'm not entirely sure what that module is I don't think many people do it. In fact, I'm not sure anyone in my year group did it, hmmm :holmes: Tbh an Oxford degree is mostly essay writing so if that's not your kinda thing, you need to think carefully about what you want out of the degree and whether Oxford would give you that. That said, people go from Oxbridge undergrad to music conservatoire postgrad very easily, but it's not very easily done at all the other way around. So that's worth bearing in mind too, if getting experience of both types of institutions is important to you :yes:
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OxMus
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Hi SyllinGalanodel,

It hasn’t changed a lot from what The_Lonely_Goatherd describes. The handbooks for Prelims 2018 and FHS 2018 (finals) are available online and contain details of the composition, techniques, orchestration, and ‘edition with commentary’ modules (and everything else) — maybe you should take a look. The current course is now pretty much the same for those 4 modules listed (but there are differences elsewhere).

https://www.music.ox.ac.uk/assets/Pr...k-2018-web.pdf

https://www.music.ox.ac.uk/assets/FH...version-SA.pdf

I’d also suggest that a university degree helps to cultivate a critical/analytical mindset which might enrich your compositional work, because you’d better understand the processes/structures of music. Also, Oxford has a really active music scene which involves composers a lot (eg writing music for ensembles/composing competitions etc.), so you can compose outside your degree.

I didn’t compose for Prelims and I won’t compose for finals (although I will take all Techniques papers), so I can’t be much help, I’m afraid. I’d reiterate what The_Lonely_Goatherd has said, though: if you really don’t like writing essays, you should reconsider whether a university music course is for you, because (especially at Oxford), that’s what you’d be doing for most of your degree.

(Original post by SyllinGalanodel)
How is this part of the course structured? Is it about making original music, or more about writing in the styles of other composers? How much freedom do you have, or is that saved until later years?

I’d like to do focus on composition but I’m not sure if it would be better at an academic university or conservatoire. Maybe I’m wrong, but Oxford seems like a mix, depending on what modules you pick.
Last edited by OxMus; 5 months ago
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SyllinGalanodel
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Yeah I’m just having a think, I don’t mind essays as long as I’m interested in the topic, and I love music (only problem is my handwriting is terrible). As much as I love composition, I think my brain would get bored going straight into only practical, and so it might be better doing it at post grad, but this is quite expensive, and I don’t come from a particularly wealthy family I could fall back on.
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SyllinGalanodel
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If I chose in the first year to do composition and solo performance with singing. What percentage of my time would be spent on essays vs. practical.
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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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(Original post by SyllinGalanodel)
If I chose in the first year to do composition and solo performance with singing. What percentage of my time would be spent on essays vs. practical.
OxMus can confirm whether this is still the case but I'm guessing you'd still have to write around 2 essays per week, every week (for 8 weeks, for at least 2 terms)
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OxMus
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(Original post by SyllinGalanodel)
If I chose in the first year to do composition and solo performance with singing. What percentage of my time would be spent on essays vs. practical.
As The_Lonely_Goatherd says, all students write two tutorial essays per week for the special topics/foundations regardless of what options you choose. Tutorial work constitutes the bulk of a week’s workload. The “percentage” ratio would depend how fast you can churn your essays out, I suppose, but if you’re looking for a practical course, look elsewhere. That’s my advice.
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