Music 320

Music 320, Composition Seminar I:

Music 320 provides experience in original and creative musical composition, either acoustic or technological or in combination. All seminarians will convene during the semester both together as an extended group with the graduate composers of the School of Music, and separately as the undergraduate composers’ group. Guest composers will include professional composers of a wide variety of aesthetic views, style, and stature, as well as faculty composers of the Department of Music and the School of Music.


Those students in Music 320 must complete a series of analysis/portfolio exercises each semester as prescribed, a series of composition lessons with a course TF, an ‘In-Person’ Midterm Meeting and an ‘In-Person’ Final Meeting, both with Dr. A, AND complete between 5-8 minutes of an originally designed composition project requisite to an individual’s level of experience. The portfolio exercises in Music 320 are:

Analysis/Portfolio Exercise #1 – Marimba Duo & Winds:
PE #1: mixed mode pandiatonic cell motives & phrase structures for marimba duo & winds

Analysis/Portfolio Exercise #2 – Mallet Percussion Trio:
PE #2: mixed mode pandiatonic ternary form for mallet percussion trio & winds

Analysis/Portfolio Exercise #3 – Octatonic String Duos:
PE #3: mixed mode octatonic small binary form for string duos & winds

Analysis/Portfolio Exercise #4 – Scoring to Visual Media:
PE #4: scoring to visual media for combinations of winds, mallet keyboard percussion, harp & strings


Additionally, students must take a total of 10 or more weekly lessons per semester, scheduled on a regular basis.  Lessons will be with Aaron Levin, Ryan Lindveit, Tanner Porter or Miklós Veszprémi, as assigned. Every student must present their work in one class each semester.

Students are required to attend the Beinecke Library Concerts and encouraged to attend the New Music New Haven concerts, as well as any other concerts on which they and their peers present their works.

Weekly Lesson Submission Guidelines:

In addition to the seminar assignments, students will be graded on the work from their weekly lessons.  Students must make a minimum of 5 submissions on the following dates:

#1. Monday, 9/24
#2. Monday, 10/15

Fall Break

#3. Monday, 11/12
#4. Monday, 12/3
#5. Friday, 12/14

Submission must be made on the specified dates, and ALL SUBMISSIONS MUST reflect work on the semester-long composition project.   All submissions are time-stamped when they are uploaded to Canvas, and late submissions will be penalized one letter grade.

Grading for Each Semester:

Class participation — 10%
—(Note: three or more combined absences from classes and/or concerts may forfeit this 10% in total)
Lesson participation — 10%
—(Note: three or more combined absences from lessons may forfeit this 10% in total)
Assignments & Exercises — 45%
Composition Submissions — 30%
Midterm Meeting w/ Dr. A or Prof. K — 2.5%
Final Meeting w/ Dr. A or Prof. K —2.5%

Grading Criteria:

Students are expected to show advancement in their compositional skills to earn the following grades:

A = Exceptional improvement in the development of compositional techniques, syntax, and form
B = Demonstrable improvement in the development of compositional techniques, syntax, and form
C = No change in use of compositional techniques, syntax, and form
D = Regression in use of compositional techniques, syntax, and form

Preparation and attendance/participation for coursework classes and lessons, the class presentation, and individual composition work – are the responsibility of the student. The professors and teaching assistant are NOT obligated to make-up classes and lessons students miss.

Texts on Canvas:

Adler, Samuel The Study of Orchestration, 3rd edition. (W. W. Norton & Company) ISBN: 0-393-97572-X

Blatter. Alfred Instrumentation and Orchestration, 2nd edition. (Schirmer) ISBN: 0-534-25187-0

Persichetti, Vincent Twentieth-Century Harmony: Creative Aspects and Practice, 1st edition. (W. W. Norton & Company) ISBN: 0-393-09539-8

Potter, John The Cambridge companion to singing, 1st edition. (Cambridge University Press) ISBN: 0521622255

Read, Gardner Music Notation, 2nd edition. (Taplinger Publishing Company) ISBN: 0-800-85453-5

Solomon, Samuel How to Write for Percussion, 1st edition. (SZSolomon) ISBN: 0-9744721-0-7

Stone, Kurt Music Notation in the Twentieth Century: A Practical Guidebook, 1st edition. (W. W. Norton & Company) ISBN: 0-393-95053-0

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