With an array of undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as summer, international, and precollege offerings, Berklee College of Music provides options for students of all levels to explore and achieve their artistic, academic, and career potential.
Five- and six-part writing for instruments. Application of voicings in seconds, thirds, and fourths. Upper-structure triads, clusters, and other nonmechanical voicings derived from chord scales. Extensive score analysis.
A comprehensive study of the evolution of jazz arranging and composition from the 1920s to the present. Score analysis of representative works by Fletcher Henderson, Duke Ellington, Gil Evans, Thad Jones, and others. Extensive listening. Written arrangements not required.
This course covers considerations an arranger must give to issues of tessitura, range, and technique, as well as rhythmic reading and comprehension of young musicians at each level of the middle, high school, and college jazz program. Through an analysis of scores representative of Scholastic Levels 1-6 students will gain an understanding of brass and woodwind issues (fingering, stamina, intonation, key familiarity, etc.), as well as the capabilities of the rhythm section at different levels. Additional topics include: optional parts (flexible scoring), creating teaching aids that support the development of jazz skills (improvisation, comping, etc.) as well as an awareness of the cultural context in which jazz originated. The course will give an overview of the scholastic jazz publishing industry and address issues of part and score prep for submission to publishers.
Methodology of big band arranging. Analysis of scores by classic and contemporary big band arrangers. Library assignments and class discussion. Written arrangements and score analysis projects required.
Jazz arranging techniques for the rhythm section and various small-group instrumental combinations of up to three horns (melodic voices). Emphasis on developing complete rhythm section sound (with or without winds) and advanced voicing techniques (including interval-based voicings, linear approach techniques, and constant structure).
A cross-genre composition class that will explore complex rhythmic concepts such as odd meter and linear polyrhythm in modern jazz, progressive metal and world music. Students in the course will learn to compose in the odd meter environment through analysis of grooves, rhythmic cells, metric modulation and polyrhythms. The course will go through the origins of the different rhythmic concepts in jazz and world music, as well as analyze music by leading modern artists such as Tigran Hamasyan, Meshuggah, and Karim Ziad. The course will also explore different approaches to rhythm around the world like the Indian Konnakol system, and Middle Eastern traditional grooves. The course will culminate in each student composing a full musical piece that includes the rhythmic concepts presented in the course.
All B.M. and P.D. students
HR-212, HR-214, or HR-216;AR-111, or AR-123; and ET-212 or ET-224
Through the study of major artists and recordings, the student will identify the compositional and instrumental practices of the jazz fusion idiom and apply those to writing assignments and projects. Jazz fusion is looked at broadly and may include a variety of idiomatic 20th-century world music and popular music techniques. The course does not follow a particular methodology, but rather encourages the student to find his/her own voice within the genre. The class begins with a historical survey of the jazz fusion idiom starting with Miles Davis's landmark Bitches Brew recording and continues with the music of the alumni of Davis' influential bands, up to today. As students apply techniques and ideas learned, they will gain perspective as to how jazz fusion is part of music as a whole and examine some of the underlying principles that make for good composition. A special section of the course will be dedicated to introducing students to some fundamentals of Indian ragas (scales) and to Konnikol (Indian rhythmic solfege) and their application to contemporary jazz-fusion composition. Groups such as Shakti, Miles From India, Trilok Gurtu, The Marc Rossi Group, and others have brought this information to the forefront, and it is helping to redefine jazz fusion.
Indian music, one of the great musical traditions of the world, has influenced composers and improvisers of all stripes for generations. Its musical resources and techniques offer a wealth of ideas that can both inform and be integrated into jazz and contemporary composition. Artists as diverse as The Beatles, John Coltrane, John McLaughlin, Miles Davis, Anoushka Shankar, Terry Riley, Geetha Ramanathan Bennett, Steve Reich, Naina Kundu and Sheela Bringi; and film composers Dave Robbins and Ry Cooder (Dead Man Walking), A.R. Rahman (Slum Dog Millionaire), and the legendary Saraswati Devi (Bollywood talkies) all exhibit the influence of Indian music in their works.
In this class, students will learn about ragas (melodies) and talas (rhythm cycles) and how to compose, arrange, and create improvisational models based on these resources. It also includes a styles survey, exposing students to the two main Indian classical music systems (Hindustani and Carnatic), which both use ragas and talas, but in somewhat different ways. There is also a special section on konnakol—South Indian rhythmic solfège. In addition, we will examine selected Indian film and popular music, which can serve as inspiration for students as they compose their own pieces.
Students will compose right from the beginning, through weekly writing assignments and mid-term and final projects. This will capture their first compositional impressions, and lead to the more informed work they will compose by the semester’s end. Musical techniques from other traditions, such as African, Brazilian, or Indonesian Gamelan may also be included, to illustrate cross-cultural compositional principals.
A systematic approach to the art of composing in the jazz idiom. Exploration of melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic principles. Standard jazz song form. Analysis of jazz standards. Arranging considerations applied as a means of enhancing a composition. Projects for small jazz group required.
Composition of non-song-form jazz pieces based on motivic development. Discussion of form and content as it applies to episodic composition in jazz. Examination of representative works by various jazz composers. Various assignments and the composition of an episodic five-minute piece are required.