Beginning/Class Composition I: Composition Projects
Click on the links below to view or download pdf files of course projects:
Projects will be posted as they are assigned throughout the semester.
Throughout the semester, students will be assigned several short composition studies that explore various compositional/technical issues discussed in class.
- It is very important to remember that these projects are first and foremost musical compositions; whether or not you fully appreciate the technical and stylistic elements involved, they are not mere theory exercises. That means you need to consider all musical elements, not just pitch: surface details such as phrasing, articulation and dynamics, as well as tempo indications, must be clearly indicated on all projects.
- All projects are to be completed by hand (i.e., no computer notation) using appropriate tools (technical pens/pencils, straight edge, etc.), and are expected to be legible and properly notated according to the conventions outlined in Stone’s Music Notation in the Twentieth Century. An exception to this requirement is the final project (see below for details).
- Projects must be stapled or paper-clipped, and must be clearly marked with the student’s name. Loose sheets will not be accepted.
- Whenever possible, you will want to keep the originals of your project in your portfolio and submit copies to the instructors for grading. This will allow you to keep a clean copy since the instructors’ comments will be made directly on the composition project itself, and will also be a safeguard in the unlikely instance that the project is misplaced
- Since the point of these projects is to develop various compositional/technical issues studied and discussed in class, it is important that you carefully follow the directions included in the project assignment sheet. Any deviation from the assignment will negatively affect the project grade.
- Composition projects will be graded based on the following criteria*:
- Effectiveness in applying procedures according to the assignment (25%)
- Overall musicality, including sensitivity to instrumental/vocal ranges (25%)
- Proper notation, including correct transpositions (20%)
- Neatness of manuscript and proper score layout (10%)
- Insights provided in accompanying commentary/analysis (20%)
*NOTE: grading percentages for projects #1 and #2 will be somewhat different from those listed above.
- Projects will be discussed and read during the lab sessions; participation in these lab readings will be reflected in the project grade. Failure to have a project read in class during the assigned reading date will result in 15-point reduction in the project grade.
- Since it is not possible to read every project in the lab meetings, students will be divided into reading groups and assigned reading dates accordingly throughout the semester.
- Students will be expected to collaborate with performers (whether fellow students in class or people from outside of class) whenever possible; this will not only allow for important critical feedback, but will prepare you for a future of recruiting performers for your works.
- The final project reading is required of all students in good standing (see below), and will count toward 15% of the final project grade.
- While the regular composition projects are brief studies or études, the final project should be a more extended work (approximately 3 to 5 minutes) for one to five performers. For the final project, students may choose either of the following options:
- select one of the previous composition projects to further develop into a complete piece.
- create a new work that utilizes at least two techniques discussed in class and/or used in previous project(s).
- The final projects will be performed in class in open reading sessions during the final exam time for the course. Because of the large number of students enrolled in this course, the final project readings will begin one hour earlier than the scheduled final examination time (refer to syllabus), so please plan accordingly. It may be necessary to schedule an additional reading session during the last class meeting; details and conditions will be provided later in the semester.
- Each composer must coordinate his/her own project reading: you are expected to recruit performers (either from within the class or outside of class) and coach them on your work prior to the reading session.
- Only students in good standing will be allowed to present their projects at the final reading session. Students missing more than one composition project, those who have not had projects read previously in class, and/or those whose projected course grade is below 70% will not be eligible to have their final projects read. All students intending to major in composition are required to present their works during the final reading session, and therefore must be in good standing in the course.
- When copying parts (if necessary), you are expected to follow appropriate conventions, including cue indications, proper notation of multiple rests, adequate page turns, correct transpositions, etc. You should refer to the notation books on the reserve list and consult with the TF during lab sessions concerning these issues.
- Students requesting to use computer notation software for the final composition project must demonstrate sufficient facility by submitting a sample score and part created with such software attached to the completed Final Project Information sheet.
- Further information will be included in the Final Project assignment sheet, to be distributed later in the semester.