This course will introduce students to fundamental elements of compositional thought and structure. In a series of weekly assignments, students will create short experimental passages of composed sound focused on isolated parameters of music in order to compare the effect of different strategies. Examples of the basic parameters that students will work with: linear/non-linear, pulse/non-pulse, noise/pitch, register (high/low), timbre (bright/dark), texture (dense/sparse), dynamics, and articulation. Through these experiments, students will experience how different choices affect our perception of time, musical flow and space. The course is designed to be approached by anyone at any level of compositional experience, as indicated by the low course number. The course will benefit musicians with any amount of composition experience.
This is a foundational course for potential composition majors and other interested students which introduces composition techniques in a stylistically open way. It is designed to help students expand their individual writing styles by exploring abstract and non-traditional methods in composition. Students create notated and graphic scores for a variety of scenarios, learn to compose with sound and timbre in creative ways, and develop basic musical ideas into larger forms. Students develop their creative process through weekly writing exercises for solo instrument, chamber music, band, voice, and/or electronic sounds, and collaborate on reading through their scores in class.
Specific techniques of traditional tonal composition. Conclusive and nonconclusive phrases; antecedent-consequent phrase relationships; open-ended phrase relationships; sequencing; modulation; large-scale tonal relationships; thematic variation and development. Application of these techniques in writing, using models from the classical period.
Intermediate and advanced approach to guitar composition techniques. The course is designed for performers/composers and provides a comprehensive demonstration of the capabilities of the instrument and the most successful ways to compose for it through analysis, live performances, improvisation, and mostly elementary and advanced compositional techniques. Also covers performance techniques, extended compositional approaches (guitar and other instruments), resources and technologies of basic composition techniques, and mainly guitar music of the 20th century and beyond.
During this course the students will explore and master the technique of modulation to the keys both closely related and distant. Using the concepts of three degrees of kinship between keys and the major-minor (minor-major) systems, the students will acquire the skill of gradual modulation as well as sudden modulation, as it was taught in Russia. This practical/theoretical approach will both contrast and complement current methods of handling this more advanced area of harmony, and will thus bring about for the student additional practical applications of these concepts.
The technical aspects involved in creating finished, professional scores. Score layout; instrumental/vocal ranges and performance characteristics; special playing techniques and limitations; breath and bowing considerations; choice of key, meter, beat, and subdivision values; use of slurs, articulation marks, dynamics, tempo variation, and other devices for indicating expressive nuance; proper underlaying of vocal text; calligraphy; creating a practical piano reduction; and extracting parts.
This course is a continuation of CM-251. Students explore more in-depth concepts, including advanced traditional harmony and intermediate compositional procedures, as well as seventh chords, altered chords, and modulation.
An introduction for the non-pianist to the fundamentals of composing music that is suited to acoustic instruments. Emphasis is placed on writing melodies and chords that fit the hand comfortably. In addition, importance will be given to creating keyboard figuration that suggests the continuation of melodic lines. The student learns how to elaborate a chordal style of keyboard writing to one that is more expansive and florid with a wide variety of figurations.
Specific techniques of traditional 20th-century composition. Technical devices such as quartal harmony, serial writing, polytonality, and contrapuntal techniques. Assignments are directly related to each of these aspects of composition and are performed in class.