Composition Skills 3

Syllabus - Fall 2020 (V.1)

Workshop in composition techniques, exploring use of styles and devices of contemporary art music. Prereq: One year of basic music theory or written permission of instructor. Required for all majors in theory/composition.

Required Texts:
Persichetti, Vincent. Twentieth-Century Harmony: Creative Aspects and Practice, 4th Revised ed.
(W. W. Norton & Company, 1961).

Materials Required: Grading: Office: Office 221/Lab 147/Studio 340/Lair 231
Office Phone No.: 273-3176
Office Hours: see schedule
Professor: Dr. James Paul Sain [email]
Listserv (closed):

1) All listening selections are available on YouTube; please plan your time accordingly. Having time to listen to the works critically and with due consideration is important. Listening to all of the works the night before the list is due reduces the effectiveness of the assignment.

2) Late work is not accepted.

3) Attendance is required at all classes. Should a class be missed, it is the student's responsibility to see that the lecture notes from the missed class are obtained from a classmate and any work assigned is completed by their return (a class list will be supplied to help facilitate this policy). After three (3) class absences your grade will be lowered one grade increment for each absence after three (ie A to A-, or C to C-).

4) Plan early for your composition projects...things have a way of happening at the last minute.

5) The requirements, emphasis, and timing of this course may be changed or adjusted to meet the specific needs of the class as determined by the instructor.

6) All students of The University of Florida are expected to conduct themselves in a reasonable and professional manner at all times as described in the Student Honor Code; please refer to The Code for specifics.

7) UF Software Copyright Policy: All faculty, staff and students of the University of Florida are required and expected to obey the laws and legal agreements governing software use. Failure to do so can lead to monetary damages and/or criminal penalties for the individual violator. Because such violations are also against the University policies and rules, disciplinary action will be taken as appropriate.

8) UF Counseling Services - Resources are available on-campus for students having personal problems or lacking clear career and academic goals which interfere with their academic performance.

These resources include:

     a. University Counseling Center, 301 Peabody Hall, 392-1575, personal and career counseling;
     b. Student Mental Health, Student Health Care Center, 392-1171, personal counseling;
     c. Sexual Assault Recovery Services (SARS), Student Health Care Center, 392-1161, sexual assault counseling;
     d. Career Resource Center, Reitz Union, 392-1601, career development assistance and counseling;
     e. University Police Department 352-392-1111 (or 9-1-1 for emergencies).

9) Students requesting classroom accommodation must first register with the Dean of Students Office in Peabody Hall. The Dean of Students Office will provide documentation to the student who must then provide this documentation to the Instructor when requesting accommodation.

     a. Disability Resource Center 352-392-8565.

10) Students are expected to provide professional and respectful feedback on the quality of instruction in this course by completing course evaluations online via GatorEvals. Guidance on how to give feedback in a professional and respectful manner is available at Students will be notified when the evaluation period opens, and can complete evaluations through the email they receive from GatorEvals, in their Canvas course menu under GatorEvals, or Summaries of course evaluation results are available to students

11) My virtual office door is always open; please feel free to send me an email so that we can discuss class issues as the need arises.

Grading Scale:

Course Outline

Week 1 (Sept 1/3)
Week 2 (Sept 8/10)
Week 3 (Sept 15/17)
Week 4 (Sept 22/24)
Week 5 (Sept 29/Oct 1)
Week 6 (Oct 6/8)
Week 7 (Oct 13/15)
Week 8 (Oct 20/22)
Week 9 (Oct 27/29)
Week 10 (Nov 3/5)
Week 11 (Nov 10/12)
Week 12 (Nov 17/19)
Week 13 (No Class - Thanksgiving Holiday)

Week 14 (Dec 1/3)
Week 15 (Dec 8)

Listening List

Additional Listening

1. cluster chords Ernest Bloch: Piano Sonata No. 1 - CD 612
Alan Hovhaness: Magnificat, op. 157 - L 5750v.5
Wallingford Riegger: Music for Brass Choir - CD 1570
Alban Berg: Wozzeck - L 8410
Edgard Varèse: Ionization - CD 763 (score M985.V3 I6 1967)
2. quartal/quintal Aaron Copland: Piano Fantasy - CDD 358
Arthur Honegger: King David - CD 3137
Roger Sessions: Symphony No. 2 - CD 1571
Igor Stravinsky: Septet - CD 2943
William Walton: Concerto for Viola and Orchestra - CD 169
3. free serial Alban Berg: Violin Concerto - CD 353
Irving Fine: String Quartet No. 1 - CD 1572
Luigi Dallapiccola: Il Prigioniero - CD 1528
Wallingford Reigger: Symphony No. 3 - CD 1570
George Rochberg: String Quartet No. 1 - CD 3490 v.1
Igor Stravinsky: Agon - CD 2177

Additional Resources

Persichetti: 20th Century Harmony Audio Examples

LISTENING REPORTS: A written critique of compositions on each listening list. These typed reports should contain objective prose describing the works on the listening list that demonstrates an understanding of the techniques used to produce the work as well as the aesthetic of the composition.

COMPOSITION ASSIGNMENTS/PROJECTS: The composition assignments will be handed in by the due date in Finale/Sibelius computer notation and bound for professtional presentation. Class projects could be, for example, the presentation of a contemporary composition recording (written within the last 30 years) at the beginning of each class. Or, it could be the presentation of an assigned theoretical analysis or original cmopositions.

SPEED DRILLS: Think of these like a compositional "pop quizzes." Without prior notification you will be given compositional parameters in class and expected to complete the project before the end of class. This will happen a number of times through the semester. As a composer you need to be able to rely upon your craft and not inspiration alone. The speed drills are meant to help develop the ability to be a facile composer.

CONCERT PRESENTATION: A composition is not "finished" until it is presented in concert. During the pandemic each composition assignment will be presented by the class in a virtual concert setting. The class members will determine an organizational structure that will produce a program and promotional material delivered over the internet for the concert presentations. The class is encouraged to find appropriate Internet venues to present the assignment/project in concert.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Each student will have a contemporary composer approved for this assignment, born not earlier than 1950, and compile a bibliography/discography of the composer's works.

FINAL PROJECT: Creative work to demonstrate understanding and application of principles discussed and experienced during the course of the semester. The final project will be presented during the final examination time for the course. All final projects will be considered for performance a the SCI Student Chapter concert.

COMPOSITION STUDIO: All students studying composition at the University of Florida, as a major or non-major, should attend and participate in the Composition Studio (especially if you want to become a major). The studio meets every Monday during the 4:05 hour.

SAFETY HINT: Always keep several back-up copies of your Finale/Sibelius files on multiple flash drives; if you have a personal computer you may wish to keep one copy on your personal hard-drive.

- last update 8 September 2020 -