Program Description

As a composition major, you’ll develop your compositional personality through the study of a variety of composition techniques, instrumentation, and orchestration. Over eight semesters, while completing the college’s core music curriculum, you’ll build your portfolio through working with a diverse community of musicians, faculty, industry professionals, and visiting artists, gaining real world experience all while earning your bachelor’s degree.


Program Details

The student majoring in composition will study tonal harmony, counterpoint, tonal and non-tonal compositional techniques, instrumentation, and orchestration. Music literature studied will emphasize the concert music repertoire of the 20th and 21st centuries but also will include principal composers and styles from the 16th to the 19th centuries. The student will demonstrate mastery of these skills and concepts, as well as the development of an individual compositional personality and voice, by completing a portfolio of scores that will include (but not be limited to) a number of chamber pieces in smaller and larger forms, a composition for solo voice or mixed chorus, and a composition for full orchestra.

The study of acknowledged masterpieces from different historical periods will develop in the student an individual aesthetic vision and the critical ability to recognize and discuss music of quality. The student will gain skills by working with performers, leading rehearsals, and conducting and/or producing performances.

The student majoring in composition will develop sufficient skills and knowledge to function as a composer of concert music and to gain entry to a graduate program in music theory or composition in order to pursue a career as a teacher, scholar, and practitioner of music theory and composition.

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Meet the Composition Department

Berklee’s Composition Department is an open-minded program providing you the opportunities to find and develop your own compositional voice.

Program at a Glance

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