Exploration of the elements and concepts of music and how they combine and interact to create compositions and arrangements as applied to the rhythm section (guitar, keyboard, bass, and drums). Assignments will include creating and developing musical projects for the rhythm section based on the course topics.
Music Application and Theory
A study of popular music. This study begins with the aural analysis of contemporary songs, including bass motion, chord function, and aspects of the rhythm section. It will lead to understanding the bass line, harmony, and rhythmic structure of these songs and creation of original pieces in major key and Aeolian mode (natural minor). Keyboard exercises, written homework assignments, and laptop computer drills will provide extensive practice in musical and notational elements. You will learn to read and write major and natural minor scales in all keys and learn triads and seventh chords diatonic to those scales. The course provides exposure to chromatic variations on major key harmony: the principles of secondary dominants and modal interchange will be studied in limited situations to add color and variety to diatonic harmony. These activities will decode the melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic language of most of contemporary popular music and set the stage for a detailed study of more complex and chromatic music in Harmony 2, 3, and 4.
The Creative Flame
This course looks at proven methods that help individuals chisel out their own system in order to ignite their creative flame and sustain their creativity. It examines some of the commonalities, both good and bad, that occur for artists while they are engaged in their creative process. Through experimentation with various creative approaches and tools, as well as reflective practice, students will learn to apply these methods to musical composition and performance. As the course is process-oriented, the experiences and knowledge gained can be transferred into other classroom settings, as well as other aspects of students' lives.
Multimedia for the Writer
A hands-on introduction to multimedia and a survey of available applications. Students will complete assignments in the integration of original music, voice-overs, and sound effects with supplied graphics and video examples. Examination of software applications in desktop synchronization for A/V, editing, and multimedia authoring. Study of media formats, storage, and archiving and retrieval techniques; the musician's role in collaborative multimedia projects; managing large volumes of data and compression strategies; and considerations of interactive aesthetics, consumer technologies, and industrial technologies.
Orchestral Mock-Up Production
In parallel with a student's development as a modern composer, arranger, and orchestrator, this course will develop his/her skills in emulating a live orchestra through effective use of software technologies. These skill areas include performance techniques (tracking), editing, automation (real-time and edited), mixing, production, and the creation of work templates.
Writing the Film Musical
The course allows students to study the screenplays and songwriting of a variety of film musicals from the beginning of the genre to the present. In addition to focusing on the writing of the musical film, the manner in which song assists in telling the story will be of particular interest. Working in groups, screenwriting students from Emerson will complete an outline and first act of an original screenplay, and composer/lyricist students from Berklee will write the songs that will help tell that story. The semester will culminate in a staged reading—with music—performed by acting/musical theater students from both Berklee and Emerson.
Professional Writing Seminar
A course to be offered only when a resident artist joins the Professional Writing Division. Details including seminar title, resident artist instructor, class schedule, and enrollment approval procedures will be posted by the Professional Writing Division during the appropriate registration and check-in period.
Music Notation Software Workshop
Designed primarily for novice users of both notation software and music notation itself, but useful for all, this is a project based, hands-on, workshop type course designed to teach students immediately useful and practical applications of music software (primarily Finale) while bypassing unnecessary and complicated extra features. The curriculum and in-class activity format will have a particular emphasis on the development of skills and techniques which are immediately useful and applicable in helping students complete their assigned work in Berklee music writing courses, particularly those generally encountered by first and second year students. First-years in particular are encouraged to take the course so that they can benefit from acquiring extremely useful skills early in their Berklee career; skills which will then help them have greater success, and less frustration with notation right from the start. Additionally the curriculum of this course is designed to help students learn about the fundamentals of music through the use of notation software. This aspect will support and reinforce the curricula of harmony, theory, composition, and CWP courses in particular.
Compositional Techniques of Bob Brookmeyer
This course is about the study and application of compositional techniques of Bob Brookmeyer as demonstrated through his compositions, improvisations, and teaching methods. Students will study musical examples of Brookmeyer and other composers who have utilized his techniques. The techniques will be put into use as weekly assignments and two projects. These composition methods include melody writing, form, unconventional and organic formation of harmony, rhythmic development, and voice-leading. The application of the techniques is not specific to any single musical genre; rather, they are meant to help the composer achieve an original and organic sound.