Explore Composition – Bath Spa University

Create worlds of sound and collaborate with composers, songwriters and sound artists.

At Bath Spa we have a very active group of composers, songwriters and sound artists from undergraduate level through to Masters and PhD. Creative work is developed through a series of projects and briefs, supported by seminars, workshops, tutorials and visiting speakers, leading to a live or recorded presentation of everything that is made.

As a department we support a very wide range of approaches to composition. The courses aim to extend your technical skills and deepen your awareness and critical understanding of recent music in order to help you find your own direction. We do this as a community through a series of projects which create opportunities to make work in response to a brief, mirroring what is expected in professional practice, and giving you the chance to develop your own way to make music.

The video and project links below show some recent work, but examples of this variety include:

  • electronic and instrumental film scores
  • pieces for small ensembles
  • site-specific music for dance
  • music for education and community groups
  • an orchestral tone poem about the Welsh coast
  • pieces made entirely in Minecraft and Mozilla Hubs
  • a spoken word piece using fan fiction.

Creative Sound Forum

Our Creative Sound Forum brings together composers, sound artists, sound designers on the MA Composition, MA Sound, PhD, BA Music and staff to explore recent work by visiting practitioners. Composers and writers present their work as part of the series, and provides a great insight into current compositional practice for students and staff.

Projects

Explore some recent projects by undergraduate and postgraduate composers at Bath Spa.

Echoes (2021)

An online installation built in Mozilla Hubs by third year composers, with a programme including electronic lofi, ambient orchestral and dark jazz, with accompanying visuals.

(re)location (2021)

site-specific project created by second year dance and music students in Spring 2021 which explored how work developed online and in the studio could be transferred to different spaces around the Newton Park campus.

Fifty Useful Tools for the Home Workshop (2020)

A brand new body of work created by dance and music students at Bath Spa University, exploring the idea of the home as a museum and the objects within it as tools for making.

some new music for the home (2020)

New work by final year BA Music students at Bath Spa University, including pieces intended for concert performance, ambient and immersive audio soundscapes, explorations of memory and the human voice, musical theatre, and audio-visual pieces.

plus minus / near far (2020)

This year our regular project with Plus Minus Ensemble moved online, with the postgraduate composers writing pieces for clarinet, cello and piano for remote recording. The composers spent time workshopping material with the players, before the trio recorded their parts separately to make the edited recordings you will hear in this event. The other pieces in the programme are drawn from their portfolios over the past year and include work for acoustic and electronic resources.

Research

Our composition research community is built around staff and PhD projects, which are brought together through our Open Scores Lab research group which meets weekly in term time. The Lab functions as an environment in which creative practitioners can experiment with new approaches to scoring, working with colleagues in other disciplines to support their research.

It brings together composers and artists whose practice includes making open scores in different media with performers who are experienced in realising open scores in performance. We work with graphic designers who focus on the visual display and communication of information and creative computing specialists who explore networked processes and interactive systems. We also collaborate with other researchers in related disciplines where there is a common interest in scoring and communicating instructions.

The work of the Lab is to develop new approaches to scoring music, and consequently to develop new modes of music making. This takes place through weekly meetings and a series of focused projects that deal with a specific aspect of score making. You can find out more about the research on the Open Scores Lab blog page.

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