Music 378: Musical Composition
Syllabus - Fall 2012

Dates: Classes will meet on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:05 to 4:20 PM in rooms 206 and 351. Classes will meet on the following dates:

There are no classes on September 3, 17, and 26 and October 8, and Monday classes will take place on October 10 (which does not affect this class). Final examinations will take place between December 14 and 21. This class will not hold a final examination, although a final assignment will be due during this period.

Class overview: This is a course in musical composition, as a culmination of a six-semester sequence of courses in music theory. The main activity will be individual compositions written by the students. For the most part, these will be intended as works in the tonal idiom, and they will be evaluated on that basis. Towards the end of the course we may allow a more “free” individualistic style.

First, we will analyze the form of works from the past, as models on which compositions will be based. This analysis will not be the same as the analysis covered in previous theory courses, although it may incorporate many aspects of those methods. Rather, the analysis will be designed to answer questions about how the student compositions should proceed. Whenever there is a question about what the composition should do next, the student should look to the model to find the answer. Classes will be devoted to discussing the works analyzed as models and reviewing student compositions. While these will usually be done on a group basis, at times there will be individual meetings with students.

Keyboard: Most compositions will be written for the piano, and students will be expected to play their works at the keyboard, although not necessarily with virtuosity. If an ensemble can be created from among the instruments played by students in the class, we may attempt to write some compositions for that group, although this is unlikely.

Assignments: Students should expect to work on some form of assignment for every class meeting. Failure to keep up with the progress expected will be taken into account in determining grades.

Textbook: There is no required textbook for the course. Compositions for study will sometimes be xeroxed or obtained through the music library, and material may sometimes given in hand-outs. Most scores can be obtained from the International Music Score Library Project.