Module E3: Portfolio of sacred compositions (15 credits)

This module is intended to allow those with experience of composition to plan their own portfolio of sacred compositions, to work more independently, and to extend their skills and the scope of their compositions.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module you will have compiled a varied portfolio of sacred compositions for voices, and/ or instruments and voices. The module is distinct from E2 in that the works composed are intended to be sacred rather than liturgical, thus allowing you to write for para-liturgical events, dramas, sacred concerts or meditations, rather than for worship.

Requirements for the selection and approval of the contents of the portfolio
The portfolio should normally include at least two and not more than four compositions. In special cases a single substantial work may be submitted. The length of the portfolio in performance should be between 15 and 20 minutes. One of the compositions should last 7-10 minutes in performance. Each composition should be written for different resources and with a different purpose. The portfolio as a whole should demonstrate variety and range of skills in composition. If you are opting to submit a single work coherence and structure will be more important criteria than variety.

Specific tasks are identified below. You may select from these tasks, or propose an alternative (or alternatives) of your own. You must draw up a list of the proposed content of the portfolio, including details of proposed scoring, duration, texts (where relevant), and purpose/place in worship. The proposal must be submitted to the Course Secretary for approval before the period of study begins (by 31 December or 30 June as appropriate).

If you are taking Module E1 or E2 as well as Module E3 there must be no overlap of materials between the two submissions, nor with work submitted in Part One.


You may select from these tasks, or propose some or all of your own (see above):

a short sung drama;
a cantata;
music for a meditation;
music for a celebration;
a work for children to perform;
a work for chamber choir;
a work for soloist and ensemble;
a work for instrument or instrumental ensemble with a defined sacred purpose or theme.

You are free to suggest the texts and the scoring of these compositions, bearing in mind that the quality and scope of the work should follow on from module C1 and/or C2 in Part One.

Assessment and satisfactory completion

The portfolio of compositions should be submitted in notated score. With each composition you should also submit 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 cassette tape. (If you are submitting one work you should include at least three minutes of it in a recorded performance on cassette tape.)

All materials for assessment and establishment of satisfactory completion should be forwarded to the Course Secretary and postmarked not later than 31 January or 30 June in the appropriate study period.