Music 124A: Composition for Orchestra

The course meets on Thursdays from 3 PM until 6 PM, and the time is divided between discussion of profiles which highlight problems related to orchestra compositon and a compositon workshop in which students will develop three short excerpts for eventual readings by the UCLA Philharmonia Orchestra on the last class day.
Books for the Course:

  • Berlioz, Hector, Symphonie Fantastique, 1830 (Dover Miniature Score).
  • Brahms, Johannes, Symphony No. 1, 1855-76 (Dover Miniature Score).
  • Debussy, Claude, La Mer, 1903-05 (Dover Miniature Score).
  • Handel, George Frideric, Water Music, 1717, and The Royal Fireworks Music, 1749 (Dover Miniature Score).
  • Mahler, Gustav, Symphony No. 5, 1901-1904 (Dover Miniature Score).

  • Thursday, April 8: Introduction.
    How composition for orchestraion is generally different from composition for smaller ensembles. The character of the orchestra and how it developed its unique identity. (Click on the profiles)
  • Apr. 15: Setting out.
    Profile I: The main idea and the piece's opening.
  • Apr 22: Soloistic writing against the orchestra.
    Profile II:
  • Apr 29: Chamber music inside the orchestra and its relationship to choirs.
    Profile III:
  • May 6: What is development I?
    Profile IV:
  • May 13: What is development II?
    Profile V:
  • May 20: Orchestral tuttis.
    Profile VI:
  • May 27: Use of counterpoint in the various parameters.
    Profile VII:
  • June 3: Timbre modulation and registral contrasts.
    Students will bring in their own examples from the required books or other scores. If other scores, be sure to may the requisite copies for the class.
  • June 10: The Grand Finale.
    Student's excerpts will be read by the Philharmonia Orchestra.

  • Updated, April 14, 2004.