This course addresses skills required to compose music for small standard combinations including: choir, piano plus two, and for saxophone quartet, contemporary rock and jazz groups. Working with these standard combinations focuses on the development of essential four-part writing technique (homophonic and polyphonic). Related to these creative tasks students will be guided in analysis of pieces from a range of genres, styles and cultures with reference to: scales and series, harmony and form, counterpoint and texture, orchestration – composing with colours.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- understand compositional and orchestration techniques involved in writing for four independent voices (i.e. linear instrumental or vocal parts);
- analyse compositions using four independent voices;
- create original compositions for four independent voices; and
- communicate key decisions taken during the creative process through an exegesis.
- 2 group tutorial presentations —first is 5 minutes, 5%; and second is 10 minutes, 10% (15) [LO 1]
- 3 Analysis/Orchestration assignments, 5% each, maximum 32 bars each (15) [LO 1,2]
- Portfolio of works totalling 14 minutes in duration, 20% folio, 10% exegesis of 500 words (total 30%) (30) [LO 3,4]
- Commission Project of 6 minutes, for chamber music ensemble (set instrumentation provided), 30% score/recording, 10% exegesis of 500 words (total 40%). To reflect the real-world environment of commissions, late submissions will not be accepted, and will receive a mark of 0 (40) [LO 3,4]
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Workload130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures and 12 hours of workshop and workshop-like activities; and,
b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.
Requisite and Incompatibility
N/A minor amendments
Preliminary ReadingAdler, Samuel. The Study of Orchestration. 3rd ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 2002.
Baker, David, Arranging & Composing for the small ensemble: jazz/r&b/jazz-rock. Bloomington, Indiana: Frangipani Press, 1985.
Brant, Henry. Textures and Timbres: An Orchestrator’s Handbook. New York: Carl Fischer Music, 2009.
Burkhart, Charles. Anthology for Musical Analysis. 7th ed. New York: Schirmer, 2011.
Cassella, Alfredo and Virgilio Mortari. The Technique of Contemporary Orchestration. 2nd ed. Milan: Ricordi, 2004.
Dobbins, Bill. Jazz Arranging and Composing: A Linear Approach. Rottenburg. Germany: Advance Music, 1986.
Gould, Elaine. Behind Bars: The Definitive Guide to Music Notation. London: Faber and Faber, 2011.
LaRue, Jan. Guidelines for Style Analysis. 2nd ed. Sterling Heights, Michigan: Harmonie Park Press, 2011.
Schoenberg, Arnold. Fundamentals of Musical Composition. New. ed. London: Faber and Faber, 1967.
Wright, Rayburn. Inside the Score. Delevan, New York: Kendor Music, 1982.
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Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.
- Student Contribution Band:
- Unit value:
- 6 units
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