• Class Number 5761
  • Term Code 3260
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Christopher Sainsbury
    • Dr Christopher Sainsbury
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 25/07/2022
  • Class End Date 28/10/2022
  • Census Date 31/08/2022
  • Last Date to Enrol 01/08/2022
SELT Survey Results

This course addresses skills required to compose music for: guitar solo or for guitar plus one (ww or string), and either string quartet or small mixed ensemble (four to five instruments). Students will also create an acoustic sonic art piece/ installation that articulates a proposed concept. It is encouraged (although not compulsory) for this to be in a collaborative setting. (Collaboration with students of visual arts or community groups is encouraged, and opportunities will be provided). Related to these creative tasks students will be guided in analysis of pieces that employ a range of nineteenth- and twentieth-century compositional techniques in a range of genres and styles. Also, relating to the sonic art work students will be guided in analysis of works that incorporate a concept and the articulation of the concept through the structural and expressive properties of the work. 

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. aurally identify and understand compositional and orchestration techniques involved in writing music for up to six parts, with reference to genre and style;
  2. analyse and critique compositions written in four to six parts as well as sonic artworks;
  3. apply compositional and orchestration techniques to create original compositions for up to six independent voices that include guitar, string quartet, mixed chamber groups, and sonic art pieces (the last being in collaborative settings and/or for community music groups); and
  4. articulate key decisions taken during the creative process (both technical and expressive) through an exegesis.

Research-Led Teaching

Lecturer teaches from the core material of his research

Field Trips


These do not have to be purchased as are in library and/or section. Yet it is recommended that students purchase the Black and Gerou text on Orchestration, plus one of the following music textbooks.

Reading Lists:

* Actual copious listening examples, copious score excerpts as presented in lecture sessions.

* Relevant Orchestration and Composition texts (Lovelock, Keenan, Solomon, Piston, Rimsky-Korsakov, Mancini, Stiller, Blatter, Black& Gerou, Hindson & Blom, others)

* Robert P. Morgan Anthology of Twentieth Century Music (New York and London: W.W. Norton & Co. Inc., 1992)

* Paul Griffiths Modern Music and After (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010)

* Robert P. Morgan (ed) Anthology of Twentieth-century Music (New York: WW Norton and Company Inc, 1992).

*Arnold Whittall Musical Composition in the Twentieth Century (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999).


Note: Students are encouraged to source their own relevant examples. Others will be distributed as per need. 

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Two-part writing concepts & techniques
2 Canon: many parts from one
3 String Quartet – tonal era
4 String quartet – post-tonal era
5 Collaborations with other artists and art forms.
6 Writing for Guitar Assessment 1 due in week 6
7 Writing for Scratch Orchestra, Community or Student Groups
8 Writing for String Orchestra or Strings plus a soloist, the ‘Big Strings’ sound. Assessment 2 due in week 8.
9 Music Publishing as a Composer
10 Henri Dutilleux’s Ainsi la Nuit: Staying With Your Own Authenticity.
11 Arranging techniques: becoming commercially viable
12 Works in Progress Assessments 3 and 4 due in week 12.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
String quartet 25 % 31/08/2022 21/09/2022 1,3,4
Guitar piece 25 % 28/09/2022 12/10/2022 1,3,4
Collaboration or community piece 35 % 26/10/2022 18/11/2022 1,2,3,4
Exegesis 15 % 26/10/2022 18/11/2022 2,3,4

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the Academic Integrity . In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


Face to face



Assessment Task 1

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 31/08/2022
Return of Assessment: 21/09/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,3,4

String quartet

Due: 31/08/22

Value: 25%

Presentation requirements: Must be scored to benchmark standards (eg; Sibelius or Finale templates, or good hand). Bound copy with name. Must be accompanied by indicative electronic sounding version (or live recorded version) as an mp3. Mp3 should be emailed to lecturer as a standalone mp3, not as a link, or handed in with score on a USB taped to score and labelled. Does not have to have been performed.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 28/09/2022
Return of Assessment: 12/10/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,3,4

Guitar piece

Due: 28/09/22

Value: 25%

Presentation requirements: Must be scored to benchmark standards (eg; Sibelius or Finale templates, or good hand). Bound copy with name. Must be accompanied by indicative electronic sounding version (or live recorded version) as an mp3. Mp3 should be emailed to lecturer as a standalone mp3, not as a link, or handed in with score on a USB taped to score and labelled. Does not have to have been performed.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 35 %
Due Date: 26/10/2022
Return of Assessment: 18/11/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Collaboration or community piece

Due: 26/10/22

Value: 35%

Presentation requirements: If scored it must be scored to benchmark standards (eg; Sibelius or Finale templates, or good hand). Bound copy with name if appropriate. If sounding it must be accompanied by indicative electronic sounding version (or live recorded version) as an mp3. Mp3 should be emailed to lecturer as a standalone mp3, not as a link, or handed in with score on a USB taped to score and labelled. Does not have to have been performed.

Note: for the collaborative piece students should also write 250 – 300 words about the work (whether about the concept, the music, any meetings, issues, the scoring, perhaps construction, staging, rehearsals, realization, documentation, revising, etc). This work may in fact not be scored, but be an installation, a recording, the creation of an instrument, a sonic event with the other collaborator/s, in a concert space, in a park, etc. The documentation of the work must be clearly articulated to lecturer – concept and technical requirements. This may include sketches, design, photographs, minutes of meetings, word docs of email exchanges with a collaborator, a journal, etc.

Your project must be negotiated with lecturer.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 15 %
Due Date: 26/10/2022
Return of Assessment: 18/11/2022
Learning Outcomes: 2,3,4


Due: 26/10/22

Value: 15%

Details of task: Written word document, perhaps with score excerpts. Articulate key decisions taken during the creative process (as technical, expressive, contextual) through an exegesis on one work of the portfolio. 600-800 words.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with.

The Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission not permitted. If submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date is not permitted, a mark of 0 will be awarded.
  • Late submission permitted. Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Scores will be handed back in class and/or workshop sessions. Students who are not in attendance may collect them from lecturer in Office Consultation hours.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Dr Christopher Sainsbury

Research Interests

Composition, guitar music, contemporary Indigenous music,

Dr Christopher Sainsbury

By Appointment
Dr Christopher Sainsbury

Research Interests

Dr Christopher Sainsbury

By Appointment

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions