The study of music fundamentals and their use in contemporary popular music for students with no prior literacy in music. This study includes aural analysis of contemporary songs, including form, chord quality, and the role of the rhythm section. It will lead to a basic understanding of harmony, bass lines, rhythmic language, and form.
This course is 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 leads 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 provide extensive practice in musical and notational elements. Students 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 are 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.
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, which will support and reinforce the curricula of harmony, theory, composition, and contemporary writing and production courses in particular.
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.
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.
In today’s world of fast-paced technological innovations, composers have a growing number of options for presenting themselves and their music. There are expanding opportunities to collaborate with visual artists in the new medias that encompass virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed realities. This course provides the context for how to work with a client in these trailblazing realities, while also providing practical training to connect a composer’s musical vision to a technologized world. This course prepares composers to fully leverage these new realities as viable working environments. Students compose music for existing VR/AR/XR projects as a way to understand the potential of these new spaces. Students then begin to envision and cultivate their own music as the primary artistic expression within any of the new reality worlds. We currently see and hear music appearing in VR/AR/XR and 360 spaces in the form of video games, journalism, music videos, art installations, and more. Composers need to understand the varying applications and be able to develop their music to fully exercise the potential in each of these spaces. This course is about composers harnessing and taking advantage of the technology and tools that are already transforming art and music.
This course teaches students how to write and produce music using an iPad through interactive and hands-on activities and projects. They learn the tools, setups, techniques, and software required to write, produce, and mix music using the iPad. Students master the ultimate portable production studio from from synthesis and sound design to electronic distribution and sharing. Key topics include sequencing using native DAWs and software synthesizers, multitrack recording acoustic instruments, and mixing/mastering on the iPad. In addition they will learn how to distribute their tracks and collaborate through the cloud.
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.
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.
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. This course will count for one or two credits, depending on the situation.
Independent study project in the area of composition, contemporary writing and production, electronic production and design, film scoring, jazz composition, jazz/popular music theory and analysis, music production and engineering, or songwriting. The student(s) and faculty member will develop a proposal for an analytic or creative project that is not otherwise covered by existing curriculum. The proposal must be approved by the faculty member’s department chair, and include specific outcomes and grading criteria.