Write Like Mozart Week 5 Notes – Two-Part Counterpoint

Write Like Mozart Week 5 Notes – Two-Part Counterpoint

Just over a year ago I was posting notes I sent my high school students in 2014 while we were taking the free online class called Write Like Mozart.  My Master’s in Composition studies took over my life, and I did not finish composing the last two postings of my notes. A reader alerted me that the course is being offered again starting next week (April 11, 2016). That there exists at least one reader interested in these notes inspires me to complete my postings on this subject!

My first post for Write Like Mozart Week 5 covered chromatic chord substitutions. This is the second post on Write Like Mozart Week 5 Notes, and here I cover Professor Edwards’ discussion of two-part counterpoint.

My Master’s in Composition by Research

My Master’s in Composition by Research

Yesterday, for my near final act within my master’s in composition by research, my scores, CD, and thesis were delivered for examination. I submitted about 15,000 words and over 45 minutes of music, the most music I’ve ever written within a year. The last piece I wrote was a 25 minute piano concerto (three movements) to be premiered in 2017 by Dr. Rinna Saun. That’s the longest work I’ve ever written. Now I wait one or two months for folks to read my material, look at my music, and listen to my recordings. If all goes well, I will have few edits to make before submitting the final version to the library.

This program, called a Master of Arts in Composition by Research, is through the University of Birmingham in the UK. My advisor and composition teacher is Michael Zev Gordon. We met via Skype every one or two weeks to discuss my studies and the music I was writing.

Write Like Mozart Week 5 Notes – Chromatic Chord Substitutions

Write Like Mozart Week 5 Notes – Chromatic Chord Substitutions

Below is the first part of my Write Like Mozart Week 5 Notes that I sent my students last year when we took the Write Like Mozart class together.  The Write Like Mozart class is online again at the time of these posts. Each of these posts are timed to match the current week of that class.

In this installment, I discuss the chromatic substitutions for harmonies that were presented in the lectures: the Neapolitan, Augmented 6th, minor iv, ♭VI, and major I (Picardy third) chords.

This is the seventh post in this series.

Write Like Mozart Week 4 Notes

Write Like Mozart Week 4 Notes

Below are the Write Like Mozart Week 4 Notes that I sent my students last year when we took the Write Like Mozart class together.  The Write Like Mozart class is online again at the time of these posts. Each of these posts are timed to match the current week of that class.

In this installment, I review diatonic substitutions, types of cadences, parallel / question and answer form, creating a solo with piano accompaniment from simple 2 part counterpoint, and the “Rule of 2.”

This is the sixth post in this series.

What Have I Learned Since Yesterday?

What Have I Learned Since Yesterday?

I am in week three of my Masters’ of Fine Arts degree in composition with the University of Birmingham’s distance learning program.  I just finished my third Skype lesson with composer Dr. Michael Zev Gordon.

In the course of the past 2.5 weeks, I have studied half a dozen or more works by Chopin, Mahler, Debussy, Stravinsky, and Berio – a somewhat varied collection of composers that only promises to grow more eclectic and modern as we move through the program.  I also have written three short pieces totaling somewhere between 7 and 8 minutes in length. Even though these works will be revised, and they each are for solo instruments, the productivity is very good when I consider that I am working in new territory, and I usually write at most 30 minutes of music in a year.

So, I was surprised when, in the middle of last week, I experienced some quiet echoes of the self-doubt that had paralyzed me as a composer more than 15 years ago.