CCOG for MUC 200A Spring 2024

Course Number:
MUC 200A
Course Title:
Composition I: Principles and Techniques
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Introduces music composition and arranging with a focus on 20th and 21st century compositional techniques and materials. Includes composition of chamber and concert works with the goal of compiling a portfolio of original works. This is the first course in a three-course sequence. Prerequisites: MUC 103, MUS 113, or instructor approval. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  • Utilize arranging techniques as an introduction to basic composition of acoustic works.
  • Develop an understanding of the fundamental principles of orchestration.
  • Create basic original musical works using contemporary music composition techniques. 
  • Develop a personal compositional language at a beginning level.
  • Foster the creative exchange of musical ideas through beginning-level compositional skills.

Course Activities and Design

  • Analysis of musical examples exhibiting varying styles periods and techniques
  • Orchestrating and arranging preexisting works
  • Short, weekly compositional exercises
  • Balancing unity, variety, and form
  • Score and part preparation, including proofing and editing
  • Completing a work from conception to performance
  • Reading sessions of projects by peer or faculty performers
  • One-on-one instructor/student conferences

Outcome Assessment Strategies

  • Class attendance and participation (group work, discussion)
  • Assignments and exercises (in-class and homework)
  • Projects
  • Final project portfolio
  • Project performances including class critique and discussion

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  • Basic principles of orchestration and idioms of instruments
  • Structures in composition: Traditional and Invented
  • Musical languages (twelve-tone, post-modernism, experimental, minimalism, spectralism, microtonality, etc.)
  • Manipulating musical parameters in traditional and contemporary styles
  • Functional vs constructed rhythm, Fibonacci series, additive rhythm, metric modulation
  • Non-western scales and modes, modes of limited transposition
  • Twelve-tone method
  • Tonality vs post-tonality, harmonic fields
  • Contemporary uses of counterpoint and timbre
  • Composing for traditional ensembles, monodic instruments
  • Extended instrumental techniques
  • Presentation of scores and parts