Monday, January 5, 2009

Blog Index — Organized by Topic

Below is an index of most of the blogs I posted last term. I omitted entries that I didn't think would be very interesting or relevant, mostly because they contained information specific to the Fall-2008 composition course, like reminders of deadlines, concert congratulations, order of class presentation, etc.

Feel free to browse these — you may find some that give you ideas about composition techniques, or that contain useful things to think about when composing. In particular, I hope you will read the first two. They are loosely organized by topic.

Why Atonal Music?
Express yourself?
Writing a Play
Creative Angst... Welcome to the club!
Notation Software Woes

On musical detail
Musical detail addendum
Nuts and bolts [more on musical detail]

Kandinsky's Theories (1)
Kandinsky's Theories (2)
Kandinsky's Theories (3)

Project 1 - More Details
Project 2: Using Musical Clichés in Creating Art Music
Project 2: Using a musical style or gesture as a point of departure
Project 2: Recontextualizing and atonality

Composition Issues (9-part series)

1. Originality and Quality of Initial Musical Ideas
1.1. The quality of ideas may not matter very much in determining the quality of the complete composition that emerges from them; and
1.2. The degree to which these ideas are original may not matter very much. Shocking, isn't it?

2. How do you Develop Compositional Craft?
2.1. Study the music of others.
2.2. Compose as much as you can.
2.3. Invite criticism from others.

3.1. Live with it for a while.
3.2. What's it about?
3.3. Does it change character?
3.4. What is its function within the context of the piece?
3.5. Structural Analysis.
3.6. Harmonic (or Pitch, Scale, etc.) Analysis.

7.1. Less is more, vs. More is more.
7.2. Always leave them wanting more, vs. Give them what they want.
7.3. Don't treat the listener like an idiot, vs. There's a sucker born every minute.
7.4. There can be 'too much of a good thing,' vs. If you have a good idea, then stick with it!
7.5. The George Costanza approach.

8.1. The three models for composers' roles.
8.2. Mastery or Mystery?
8.3. The value of a plan.
8.4. Getting stuck, and possible workarounds.
8.5. Don't obsess!
8.6. Challenges = Opportunities for inspired solutions!

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