Oct 11th 2016

Loop: Repetition and Variation in Music (kadenze)

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A course examining the art of moving while standing still, and traveling far without moving. This will be approached through a study of form and variation techniques used in music. Students will be asked to make more from less while maintaining musical interest in their compositions.

Compositional techniques and styles studied include minimalism, ambient, alternative, musique concréte, popular, independent, experimental and sample based music. Assessment will consist of short composition assignments (1-2 min) rooted in class discussion and readings. These will be turned in as audio files. A single composition of 5-10 minutes will act as the final project.

By the end of this course students will be able to:

· Compose an engaging piece of music using a minimum amount of musical material.

· Critically engage with a piece of music through aural analysis.

· Analyze or break down music compositions to determine structural form and construction.

· Adapt compositional principles to their own music.

· Discover new approaches to music composition.


Course runs October 11, 2016 - February 14, 2017

Session 1: Critical Listening, Analysis and Repetition (June 7, 2016)

In this session we will learn how to critically listen to a piece of music, break it down and analyze how it was made. We will also learn why we are so attracted to repetition in music.

Session 2: Building blocks of music composition, Strategies for Architecture I - Building a form brick by brick (June 14, 2016)

This session is all about getting the most out of your musical idea. You will learn how to transform and extend that small musical phrase bouncing around in your head into a magnitude of related musical materials.

Session 3: Strategies For Architecture II (Losing Yourself in Time) (June 21, 2016)

Ever lose your sense of time while listening to a piece of music? In this session we will look at ambient music and other longer forms to discover how they play with our sense of time.

Session 4: Repetitive structures, Sources and Inspiration: Strategies for Sample-Based Works & Understanding EQ (June 28, 2016)

This session looks at music made from repetitive structures. You will also learn how to creatively adopt materials and build sample-based compositions. This is followed by a discussion of EQ to make sure you get a better mix.

Session 5: Composition Case Studies. What can you do if you get stuck? (July 5, 2016)

We will discover some important case studies of contemporary artists working with repetitive musical structures and interesting materials. You will also learn some good strategies for what to do when you get stuck and can’t finish a work.