The Composing Performer

Course Number

In this genre-inclusive course, composing performers explore a palette of colors as they assemble ensembles to play their music. Students examine well-known composing performers from a variety of genres, analyzing how they put together bands and wrote for specific musical personalities, choosing their instrumentation and performers to create a specific sound. Exploring these sounds and writing for unique musical personalities creates an intimate and meaningful dimension to the music, as well as a personal sound for the composer. Students listen to and analyze music from many genres and cultures, examining the various orchestrations and compositional techniques that help the composing performer create a signature sound. Students create their own works, developing compositional skills through writing, playing, listening, analyzing, transcribing, arranging, reading, and improvising. Students explore, compose, and improvise in a wide variety of musical styles including jazz, global, and classical. Topics of exploration include: melodic construction; rhythm; melodic and rhythmic counterpoint; harmony; instrumentation and arranging; musical form; use of non-musical sources as inspiration for composing; and the relationship between composition and improvisation. Students should be prepared to play their own and other class members' compositions during each class session.

Required Of
None; elective course for all graduate students
Electable By
All graduate students
Semesters Offered
Fall, Spring
Course Chair
Marco Pignataro (Boston), Olga Roman (Valencia)
Courses may not be offered at the listed locations or taught by the listed faculty for every semester. Consult to find course information for a specific semester.

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