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20th Century Theory

Composition Assignments

 

Debussy Composition       Rhythmic Elements Composition      Serial Composition

 

Finale Helps

 

Composition #1:  Debussy Composition

Write a short composition of at least16-24 measures in the style of Debussy.

 

Requirements

Composition Requirements

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You may write for any combination of instruments, though keep in mind that Debussy favored instruments like the piano, winds (especially flute and oboe), and harp.

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You should use at least 3 of the following devices:

 

chromatic mediants

parallelism (planing)

chords of addition and omission

7th, 9th, 11th, and 13th chords

whole tone scale

pentatonic scale

modal melody

 

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You should also use some other elements that characterize much of Debussy's music:

 

tonal or modal centers

ABA' form

brief, pretty melodies recurring with different harmonies

light texture (avoid "doublings")

delicate dynamics, fade-outs

a few cadences

 

Analysis Requirements

 

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On a separate page (Word document), analyze your composition.

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Refer to every device you have used, by measure number; if they are not mentioned in your analysis, they will not count toward your grade

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Describe your form, tonal or modal center, and any other relevant compositional decision you made toward making your composition sound like Debussy

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This is a formal paper.  Write and format accordingly. (Do not use "I"; double space; correct sentence structure

 

Score preparation

 

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The composition must be submitted as a Finale file.  No exceptions.

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Number every measure

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Nothing in the score should be hand written

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Give your composition a title (not "Composition #1")

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Your name as composer

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Include tempo, phrasing, dynamics, articulations, etc.

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Use proper formatting (no extra measures or staves, measures per line look balanced)

 

Submission

 

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Save your Finale file as Comp1_lastname_firstname.mus

(substituting your name)

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Email your file to me (vjohnson@tarleton.edu)

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Print a paper copy to turn in (the score and the analysis)

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Be SURE to save your file for revision

 

 

Here are some samples to listen to:

Debussy: Preludes, Book I, "The Engulfed Cathedral"

This one shows you an analysis of what compositional elements are being used.

 

Debussy: Preludes, Book 1, "The Girl with the Flaxen Hair" ("La fille aux cheveaux de lin")

Debussy: Preludes, Book 1, No. 6, "Footprints in the Snow" ("Des pas sur la neige")

Debussy: Preludes, Book I, "Dancers of Delphi"

Debussy: Preludes, Book II, "Canope"

Debussy: Preludes, Book II, "La Puerta del Vino"

 Debussy: Preludes, Book I, "The Engulfed Cathedral"

Debussy: Preludes, Book I, "Sails" (Voiles")

Debussy: The Joyous Isle (L'isle joyeuse)

Debussy:String Quartet, Op. 10

Debussy: Preludes, Book II, "Fireworks" ("Feux d'artifice")

 

 

 

Composition #2:  20th Century Rhythmic Elements

 

 

Requirements

Composition Requirements:  Choose 2 of the following examples (each should be at least 12-16 measures in length)

  1. a polymetric passage for 2 different instruments in the Phrygian mode:

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    use explicit notation (barlines not coinciding)

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    make sure it is tonicized to the Phrygian center

  2. a four-part percussion piece employing tempo modulation

    Note:  it will sound better if you use 4 different instruments

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    use one of the equations given in your textbook; include your calculation in your analysis

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    make sure the tempo modulation 'sounds' as if the music is getting faster

  3. a piece for 2 different instruments illustrating added values and nonretrogradable rhythms

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    identify each added value with a "+" (you must add the same value to each part somewhere in the measure for Finale to be able to play it synchronously)

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    identify nonretrogradable rhythms with brackets

  4. an isorhythmic passage for three instruments

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    isorhythm may be in 1 or all 3 parts

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    specify the color (a set of pitches) and the talea (a set of durations); mark them in brackets and label each

 

Analysis Requirements

 

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On a separate page (Word document), analyze your compositions.

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Refer to every device you have used, by measure number; if they are not mentioned in your analysis, they will not count toward your grade

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This is a formal paper.  Write and format accordingly.

 

Score preparation  (refer to the Finale Page for scoring hints)

 

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The composition must be submitted as a Finale file.  No exceptions.

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Number every measure

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Nothing in the score should be hand written

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Give your compositions a title

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Your name as composer

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Include tempo, phrasing, dynamics, articulations, etc.

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Use proper formatting (no extra measures or staves, measures per line look balanced)

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See the Finale page for instructions on starting a new staff on the same page so you can put both of your compositions on the same page (do not try to use the "merge" feature)

 

Submission

 

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Save your Finale file as Comp2_lastname_firstname.mus

(substituting your name)

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Email your file to me (vjohnson@tarleton.edu)

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Print a paper copy to turn in

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Be SURE to save your file for revision

 

Composition #3:  12-Tone Composition

Write a short composition of  at least 16-24 measures in the style of classical serialism.

 

Requirements

Composition Requirements

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Compose a piece for solo piano

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You should use at least 3 different row forms from your matrix

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Label the row forms and transpositions in your composition.

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The composition must have a recognizable form.

 

Analysis Requirements

 

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On a separate page (Word document), analyze your composition.

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Refer to every device you have used, by measure number; if they are not mentioned in your analysis, they will not count toward your grade

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Describe your form, the method you used to construct your row and reasoning behind your choices of row forms to use in your composition.

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This is a formal paper.  Write and format accordingly, including 12 point Times New Roman font, write in paragraphs, one inch margins, etc.

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Turn in a copy of your matrix with your composition.

 

Score preparation

 

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The composition must be submitted as a Finale file.  No exceptions.

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Number every measure

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Nothing in the score should be hand written

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Give your composition a title

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Your name as composer

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Include tempo, phrasing, dynamics, articulations, etc.

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Use proper formatting (no extra measures or staves, measures per line look balanced)

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Label each row used

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Label the large scale form (A,B, etc.)

 

 

Submission

 

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Save your Finale file as Comp3_lastname_firstname.mus

(substituting your name)

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Email your file to me (vjohnson@tarleton.edu)

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Print a paper copy to turn in.  Trace each row used from note to note along each tone row.  Color is appreciated.

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Be SURE to save your file for revision

 

 

Magic Square Template

 

 

Note:

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Use rhythm as a unifying element in your piece.  Rhythmic motives are a good choice.  Random rhythms with serialized pitches sound very boring.  Have a plan and be a composer.

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Use chords as well as melody in distribution of your row forms.

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Do not use a programmatic title, such as "Drunken Bum" to justify the chaos in your composition

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"Custom reconciles us to everything."

-- Edmund Burke (1729-97; philosopher)

 

 

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