The University of Southampton

MUSI3134 Arranging

Module Overview

This module teaches the principles of how to approach an arrangement (being clear in purpose, audience, aesthetic and practical professional considerations like budget, personnel and venue) as well as the technical considerations of how to plan and execute that arrangement successfully (doing the right research and preparation into the style, and being aware of how it is possible to be aware of, control and even invent different technical parameters).

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

Understand the technical elements of an arrangement. This means things like grasping the principle that contrasts map onto form, and that the roles in the musical fabric (bass, melody, countermelody, chords, non melodic lines and so forth) are interdependent and require separate fine control through an arrangement. • Give you the experience of real-life examples of arranging work across a spectrum of styles • Give you the skills to be able to work as a professional arranger

Learning Outcomes

Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Assemble case studies under a thematic umbrella and apply a unified theoretical approach
  • Gather information independently from a cross-section of disciplinary resources
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Identify and discuss critically a variety of manifestations of hip hop from distinct social contexts
  • Discuss how globalisation impacts on and contributes to understanding hip hop
  • Discuss how hip hop impacts on and contributes to understandings of globalisation
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Transfer ideas about musical practice from one genre to another through the lens of globalisation
  • Transfer methodologies from the social sciences and humanities more broadly to the study of music


This is a principle-centred, and practical module and seeks to create an inclusive paradigm for the student which enables you to approach the challenges of undertaking an arrangement with confidence, through focusing on a specific process (e.g. research > reflect > plan > draft), and following certain principles (e.g. contrasts map onto form, interdependence of bass/chords/countermelodies/ non-melodic lines and so forth). The module is simply divided into three parts: (1) it will set some context and parameters - to outline what arranging is, why it is done, who it is for and also its place in the world (how it is and is not composition and if and why that matters and who to). (2) The syllabus will set out a (reflective) practical working-process (how to…) and a set of principles that underpin the art of arranging (think about…), (3) It will look at specific musical aesthetics, broadly divided into ‘popular’ musics (jazz and pop) and ‘traditional’ musics (classical and folk). Template Approved by Senate – June 2013 University of Southampton 4 Module Profile date module name The two assignments will require you to arrange in different styles – one popular, and one traditional. These will be based on likely real-world briefs, and practical considerations (contracts, budget, technologies, professional development, collegial rapport etc) will be discussed as part of that. The goal is to produce musicians who are real-world-ready.

Special Features

This second semester module develops is inherently real-world, practical and technical, and hones the knowledge and skills worked on in a number of other modules like Orchestration, Songwriting, and the various Composition modules. It is opened to second and third year students and would be highly recommended for students wishing to develop their composition and arranging skills, particularly those interested in working in the commercial sector – film music, pop music, and for jazz composers and arrangers. It would also be an indispensable unit for aspiring secondary school teachers.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: • Lectures • Individual tutorials • Workshops Learning activities include: • Individual study • Library-based research • On-line based research

Wider reading or practice42
Completion of assessment task42
Preparation for scheduled sessions42
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Hartley Library. 

Gordon Jacob (1931). Orchestral Technique. 

Henry Mancini (1973/6). Sounds and Scores. 

Russell Garcia (1979). The Professional Arranger/composer Books 1 & 2. 

Petrucci Music Library (Online).

Samuel Adler (1989). The Study of Orchestration. 

Dave Black, Tom Gerou (1998). Essential Dictionary of Orchestration. 

Walter Piston (1978). Orchestration. 

Sammy Nestico (1993). The Complete Arranger. 

Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov (1964). Principles of Orchestration. 

Daryl Runswick (1992). Rock, Jazz and Pop Arranging. 

William Russo (1961). Writing for the Jazz Orchestra. 


Assessment Strategy

Include details of the proportion and weighting of coursework as well as the number, type and duration of examination(s). You must specify which element will be taken as the final assessment. Differentiation between 2nd and 3rd level work Second and third years will be set different assignments. The third year assignments will be longer (i.e. more bars or more time) and more challenging (i.e. requiring more technical challenges/ larger forces). For 3rd level students taking this unit, expectations will be higher than those for 2nd level students, and the assessment criteria will be accordingly stricter. In particular: • Assignments should demonstrate a broader degree of focus and detail; control over material; formal sophistication; and reflect a more mature response to the set compositional task. • For score based work, optimal standards are required in terms of the physical appearance of work and following the standards of good-practice musical notation. • For written work, optimal standards of presentation are required in terms of spelling, punctuation, and grammar; sophistication of vocabulary; provision of footnotes; inclusion of full bibliographic and related details; physical appearance of work, etc. In short, 3rd level students should aspire at all times to the highest possible levels of undergraduate work.


MethodPercentage contribution
Arrangement  (3 minutes) 50%
Arrangement  (3 minutes) 50%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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