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.
The continuation of CM-311 with concentration on the employment of serial approaches to composition. Various composition assignments and a final project are required.
The workshop provides opportunities for student composers to hear performances of their own work, and for student performers to gain public performing experience of original student works and works written within the last 60 years. Important works of the 20th century are explored. It is advisable, but not required, for students to have taken MHIS-261 prior to enrolling in this course. This course can be repeated for credit.
Composing New Music for Dance is an advanced class for composers to learn pedagogue of collaboration with choreographers and write new music for contemporary dance. Lectures cover topics such as the nature of collaboration between sound and body gesture, developing a vocabulary and language for musicians and dancers to collaborate, analysis of iconic contemporary dance and music collaborations, and more. Composers then collaborate one-on-one with a choreographer to create a new work for dance. Additional class time might be assigned to meet with dancers in the dance studio. Composers are free to use any style that suits their collaboration, and are responsible for producing the music performance themselves. Students are encouraged to experiment with new methods of composing and new ways to create music based on dance.
Discussion of string instruments, their special effects, and proper notation. Principles of string orchestration and voicing techniques.
The course will focus on the acquisition of skills with technological tools for the creation of professional composition portfolios. Production of publication-ready scores and parts using Finale or Sibelius notation software will be emphasized, including nonstandard notation. Basic audio editing techniques will also be presented to create demonstration recordings.
This course will cover the capabilities and notation for all percussion instruments typically found in a classical music environment (including instruments more often associated with other genres/regions). Various configurations of percussion will be covered in detail, from full sectionals to one player, and from single instruments to multi-instrument setups.
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.
Traditional scoring techniques for full chorus with and without instrumental accompaniment. A choral composition in a traditional style is required as a final project.
Examination of representative solo vocal works from the 19th and 20th centuries (including works requiring nontraditional vocal techniques), with emphasis on dramatic organization, relationship of music to text, and appropriateness to the capacity of the trained singing voice. Special attention given to principles of vocal technique and speech articulation as they apply to composition, principles of vocal notation, and considerations of opera and musical theater. Students will be expected to write specified vocal passages based on assigned texts as well as participate in some improvisation and dramatic reading of texts in class.