Music 252B: Composition Seminar, Winter 2004

The focus of the second-quarter seminar will be an emphasis on longer, origianl projects. Also, techniques of vocal composition will be explored; although students will not be required to write vocal music.

Books for the course:

  • Handel, Israel in Egypt, (Dover Publications), full score for study of dramatic-vocal choral techniques.
  • Course Reader for 252B from Academic Publishing.
    Book contains both articles and other musical examples.
  • Barron, Montuori, and Barron eds.,Creators on Creating, (Penguin Putnam, N.Y.), 1997 (COC).

  • Tuesday, January 13: Introduction.
    Collection of possible titles of composition projects and introduction to appraoch to vocal composition.
  • Jan 20: Presentation of compositional project maps (at least 2).
    Students will make individual presentations of pieces to be completed in this quarter.
    Read "The Relationship of the Text," by Arnold Schoenberg in the Course Reader.
  • Jan 27: Continue with map presentations.
    Read "Evening Over Sussex: Reflections in a Motor Car," by Virginia Woolf in COC, PP. 117-128
  • February 3: Handel's plagues of Egypt and the ultimate in choral word painting.
    Finish map presentations.
  • February 10: The dramatic solo voice, Purcell's Dido and Aeneas.
    Read "The Shape of Music," by Maurice Sendak in COC PP. 129-134.
  • Feb. 17: 20th Century song. "The Housatonic at Stockbridge" and its multiple identities.
    The meanings of subtext: the unspoken but understood world.
    Read "The Creation Myth," by Mat Callahan in COC PP. 216-221.
  • Feb. 24:Opera unleashed by way of Stravinksy's The Rake's Progress.
    Read "Heaven and Earth in Jest," by Annie Dillard in COC PP. 82-86.
  • March 2: Lieder and the multiplicity of characters. The Composer's Voice, by Edward T. Cone, "Text and Texture: Song and Performance," in the Course Reader (PP. 57-80 in the book, starting P. 5 in the reader).
  • March 9: Choral introspection, Handel's Acis and Galatea Act II.
    Read "Composing a Symphony," by Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky in COC PP. 180-183.
  • Mar. 16:choral word painting and the comparison of the operatic vs. the contemplative.
    Read "The Magic Lantern," by Ingmar Bergman in COC PP. 135-137 and "The Second Line," by Sidney Bechet, PP. 138-144.
  • Mar. 23: music without text vs. the music-text powerhouse. Final thoughts.
    Read "Edge of the Taos Desert," by Mabel Dodge Luhan in COC PP. 120-124.
    All the vocal techniques will be reviewed. Final comparisons between choral and solo writing will be made.
    Portfolios with at least two works will be due at this class and should be brought in for discussion.

  • Updated: January 31, 2004.

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