Module C3: Arrangement

This module is intended to develop your skills and competence in arranging music for a variety of resources. The work undertaken is directed primarily to arranging music to be sung and/or played in Christian worship, and you are encouraged to arrange some of the music for your own liturgical situation.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the module you should be able to demonstrate:

  • competence in laying out a clear score and parts
  • competence in arranging for both voices and instruments
  • grasp of texture, ranges and balance
  • awareness of the practicalities of writing for amateur musicians and the unskilled
  • awareness of idioms appropriate to Christian worship

Issues for study

As a means of developing your skills in writing for voices you are expected to explore works by other composers, considering the ways in which they approach

  • formal procedures and structure
  • musical ideas and use of material
  • use of resources
  • use and treatment of accompaniment
  • texture and balance
  • considerations for performers
  • presentation of score

You need to be clear about the conventions for the presentation of scores. Please consult the recommendations in section B6 of the Brief Study Guide, and at the end of the syllabus for module C1 (‘Some suggestions ...’). In vocal music The Oxford Spelling Dictionary can be particularly helpful in guiding you over the division of words.

You need to be clear of ranges of voices and instruments and capabilities of singers and players of varying abilities.

You should become aware of issues concerning copyright and performance rights. Further, see below.


Although you may choose (or be directed by a supervisor in) your own pattern of study it must include those issues listed above, and you are advised to take account of the advice at the end of the syllabus for module C1.

Assessment and satisfactory completion

You are required to submit three pieces of work chosen from the following:

  • an arrangement of existing music for one movement of the Ordinary of the Mass/Eucharist (i.e. Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, Agnus Dei)
  • an arrangement of existing music for a canticle or psalm (prose texts only)
  • an arrangement of existing music with a sacred text (prose or verse) set as a through-composed song or anthem
  • a setting of an existing strophic hymn or sacred song - either a single arranged verse or an extended setting with variations of scoring and treatment of the melody
  • a work for instrument(s) suitable for use in worship based on existing melodic and/or harmonic materials

In using existing music you may use or replace existing accompaniments or harmonic material. You may wish to consider re-arranging complex music for more limited resources.

The scorings of works with text should be chosen from the following:

  • unaccompanied SATB choir
  • accompanied SATB choir
  • solo voice and accompaniment
  • two-part choir and accompaniment
  • high or low voices (SSA or TBB) and accompaniment
  • congregation and accompaniment
  • cantor, congregation and accompaniment

The accompaniments and the instrumental works should be scored for organ, acoustic piano, or electric keyboard, or for an ensemble of 3-8 instruments (either including or excluding keyboard).

You should use different resources in each arrangement. At least one arrangement should involve an instrumental ensemble. The submitted works should include one work for capable performers, and one work involving less skilled participants. One of the works should last at least 5 minutes in performance. The portfolio as a whole should consist of music lasting 10-15 minutes in performance.

All three arrangements should be submitted in notated score. With each arrangement you should also submit the original on which each piece is based, together with a short commentary of 150-400 words outlining the purpose and methods of the arrangement, and evaluating its strengths and weaknesses. At least one of the pieces should also be submitted in a recorded performance on audio CD (not in any other medium).

The assessment is based on your skills in arranging and the overall merit of the work as presented.

Make a list of the works of other composers that you have studied and other exercises or pieces you have completed yourself as part of the course (these should not be submitted but may be requested by the examiners). You must read the statement about copyright and performing rights that is printed below, and study the Code of Fair Practice published by the Music Publishers' Association at: MPA Online  You will not be examined on this, but FGCM and LGCM candidates offering composition must be well acquainted with it.

All materials for assessment should be forwarded to the Course Secretary as soon as they are ready. Remember to compile (but not send) the list of works studied and composed, and ensure that you are familiar with copyright requirements as indicated above.