Learn how to write music from a professional and award-winning composer. This is a two part series of courses. Music Composition 1 covers rhythm and melody. Music Composition 2 covers harmony and form.
Each section of the course covers a particular concept (or related concepts). Concepts and compositional techniques are demonstrated throughout the course with real musical examples (pictures and audio samples). This course also includes access to on-line quizzes, listening assignments, and composition assignments.
Course Structure (includes over 50 lectures)
- The Rhythmic Motif
- The Rhythmic Phrase
- Types of Rhythmic Phrases
- Rhythmic Periods and Phrase Groups
- Rhythmic Development – Part 1
- Rhythmic Development – Part 2
- Conveying Mood Through Rhythm
- Introduction to Melody
- The Melodic Motif
- Melodic Development – Part 1
- Melodic Development – Part 2
- The Melodic Phrase
- The Melodic Period
- Melodic Development – Part 3
- Melodic Development – Part 4
- Chord Tones & Non-chord Tones
- Passing Tones & Neighbor Tones
- Chromatic Tones & Incomplete Neighbor Tones
- Anticipation Tones & Suspension Tones
- Tension & Resolution
- be able to read music
- have a basic knowledge of music theory
- music notation software (musescore is free)
- you don’t need to know how to play an instrument (although it really helps)
It is a common misconception that in order to be able to compose music one must be born with the gift for it. Although one cannot “teach” inspiration or the creative spark, one can “supply” the tools and knowledge necessary to write music. While it’s certainly true that not everyone who attempts to compose music is going to become a successful composer, it does not follow that unless you can compose on that level you should not even attempt it. That would be like saying only the Shakespeares of the world should write words and that no one else should bother picking up pen and paper. Not only is it possible for anyone to compose music, it is quite vital for every student of music to have some experience with music composition.
It is a sad but true fact that most modern music teachers and music courses do not include music composition as part of the students’ musical education. In the past it was typical for students of music to be able to compose music. One example is J.S. Bach who trained all of his students to be composers as well as performers. In fact, if a person did not have some basic experience with music composition they would not be allowed into his studio! This course seeks to fill in some small part this current deficiency in music education. The study of music composition is said to “complete” the musician, since the “complete” musician is one who has knowledge of music theory, plays an instrument, AND can also compose.
Here are some of the main reasons why learning music composition is important to every musician. First and foremost is the deepening of one’s understanding of music. To create something requires a certain level of understanding of the thing being created. Simply listening to music or playing music involves a much more superficial understanding than writing music. Even the person with a firm grasp of music theory cannot be said to understand music to the same degree as the composer. For example, one may know every type of chord there is to know, but not know what order to place them in to create music. One may know every pitch in a particular major key, but not know what order to place those pitches in to make a beautiful melody. It is simply not enough to know all the elements and parts of a thing. To have a complete knowledge one must understand how all of the parts work together.
Second, study of music composition can improve one’s performance of music. Although music notation has come a long way over the centuries, it still remains imperfect. Knowledge of how music is put together will allow the performer to understand the things behind the notes on the page and those things that are not able to be notated.
Third, some music requires that the performer improvise on the spot and add to what is notated on the page. Having knowledge of how music is formed greatly enhances one’s ability to improvise music and have the improvisation sound like actual music.
Last, the creative process in and of itself brings much joy to one’s life. Not to mention the fact that any music composed can then bring joy to those who hear it or to those who perform it.
Enjoy the course and happy learning!
– Mr. Peters