Theory II

Composition Assignments

 

Course Outline

Finale

 

 

 

Poems

More Poems

Four-part Harmonization of Original Melody

 

Requirements

bulletGeneral
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Must be SATB (do not divide parts)

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A cappella

 

 

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Melody
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Must be scored in Finale

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Include words to poem entered with Lyric tool

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Must include entire melody (even if melody repeats in ternary form, etc.)

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For first assignment (melody only) hide the bass clef staff - instructions in Finale page

 

 

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Composition Requirements

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Must be a complete composition; partial assignments will not be accepted.

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Must be scored in Finale with nothing hand-written

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Number every measure Number measures

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Must include harmonic analysis (use Lyric tool below bass note), form indicated, and cadences marked (use Text tool)

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Format in 4 parts on two staves (hymn style)

Do Not turn in open score

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Put the lyrics between the bass and treble clef.  Make sure notes do not collide with lyrics.

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Stems direction must correspond to voice part; i.e. soprano and tenor stems up/ alto and bass stems down (use layers to make this easier).  Flip all stems

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Format to fit on complete pages.  Use % tool if necessary. Resize score

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All lyrics divided properly (no division of one-syllable words; word extenders present where applicable) Syllable dictionary

 

Procedure

 

 

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Choose a poem from the website link above.  Keep in mind:

 
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Long poems with a regular rhythm can be structured in verses

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Short poems can be repeated in part or entirely

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Repeated phrases can be used as a chorus

 

 

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Choose a formal structure for your composition

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Based upon the structure of the poem, anticipate the overall form of your piece

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Consider binary, rounded binary, ternary, strophic

 

There should be a balance between repetition and contrast.  Do not simply let the piece evolve as it wants to.   Avoid the tendency to fill each piece with idea after idea, while not sufficiently exploring ideas already presented. This composition is not intended to be programmatic, although the poem can certainly guide the mood.

 

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Write a rhythm to the poem

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Say the poem aloud to get a sense of the rhythm

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Circle the most important words in each line of your poem

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Make sure that you make the important words important in your melody also (on accented beats, long notes, syncopated notes, etc.)  There is a hierarchy of accents within a measure that should correspond with the words of the poem

 

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Write a melody to the poem

 
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The melody should be expressive of the words (whether fast/slow, major/minor, high/low, conjunct/disjunct, long notes/short notes, etc.)

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Use a proper proportion of steps/skips, and repetition/contrast

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Make sure the phrases of the poem correspond with the phrases of your melody (where the cadences are); Antecedent/consequent phrases are a good place to start

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Do not go outside the vocal ranges given (to your right). The soprano is your melody.  Confine that voice to about an octave.

 

 

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Choose a harmonic progression

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Use the typical progressions as a guide (strict adherence is not required, but some adherence is strongly advised)

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Use a functional progression (forward motion instead of static)

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Do not change keys in the composition (even to relative major/minor)

 

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Harmonize the melody in 4-part vocal harmony (SATB)

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Follow "hymn-style" harmonization (no solo/duet sections, etc.)

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Use proper voice-leading

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Make sure the voice parts remain in their ranges

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Be careful with inversions (6/4 chords used correctly)     Review here

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Include at least one secondary dominant or secondary leading tone chord

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No "Ah's" or "Hm's" or "Mm's" in the voice parts

 

 

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Prepare the score.  It must be submitted as a Finale file.  See Finale link for help with requirements below.

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Do NOT use "voices" in Finale.  It is too hard to hear the chords clearly.  Use "piano" for the best result.

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Include in your score:  tempo, phrasing, articulations, dynamics

bulletNumber every measure
bulletUse proper formatting (no extra measures or staves, measures per line look balanced)
bulletYour name as composer and credit to the poet
bulletUse the "Lyrics" tool to insert the poem text  Add lyrics
bulletDivide the syllables correctly (Syllable dictionary) and use word extensions where appropriate

 

 

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Submit the assignment.  

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Save your Finale file as Yourname_FinalComp.mus

(substituting your name)

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Submit as instructed in the Course Outline

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Print a paper copy to turn in

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Be SURE to save your file for revision

 

Example

 

Requiem

Robert Louis Stevenson

Under the wide and starry sky

Dig the grave and let me lie:

Glad did I live and gladly die,

  And I laid me down with a will.

 

This be the verse you grave for me:

Here he lies where he long'd to be;

Home is the sailor, home from sea,

  And the hunter home from the hill.

 

 

 

 

 

Composition Components
  1. Exposition

  2. Repetition

  3. Variation

  4. Contrast

 

 

 

Remember:  Good melodies use repetition and variation. A melody with no repetition sounds unfocused and weak, as if it's wandering around with nowhere to go. Listeners quickly lose interest and tune out.  A melody with too much repetition is boring. Good melodies use both.

 

 

 

Voice Range Guidelines

Note:  I do not care if YOU can sing outside these ranges -

keep to these guidelines!

 

Follow these links for some choral examples:

Echoes

How Calmly the Evening

The Blue Bird

 

 

THING YOU'RE FINISHED???

Not if you're interested in making a GOOD grade!

 

 

CHECKLIST For PART-WRITING

  1. All voices in range

  2. Octave or less between soprano/alto and between alto/tenor

  3. No augmented intervals in any voice part

  4. No parallel 5ths

  5. No parallel 8ths

  6. Proper use of all 6/4 chords

  7. Not too many root position chords

CHECKLIST For HARMONY

  1. At least one secondary chord included

  2. Traditional harmonic progression

  3. Traditional cadences at the end of each phrase

CHECKLIST For FORMATTING

  1. Large-scale form marked (above the first note of each section)

  2. Cadences marked (above the line)

  3. Harmonic progression indicated with Roman Numerals and inversions (under bass line)

  4. Every measure numbered

  5. No notes colliding with any words (lyrics or analysis)

  6. Words divided correctly (use a dictionary! Syllable dictionary)

  7. Word extensions present where appropriate

  8. Sop/tenor stems up; alto/bass stems down

  9. Pages come out even (no extra lines on the next page)

  10. Measures well proportioned (nothing looks crowded or too much space)

 

 

 

 

 MELODY RUBRIC

 A

B

C

D

F

Looking for:

 

Complete melody

Established tonal center

Recognizable form

Hummable tune

Correct syllabic emphasis

 

Requires only minor revisions

Needs some revision

 Needs significant revisions

Redo 

 Unacceptable

 

FIRST DRAFT RUBRIC

 A

B

C

D

F

Looking for:

 

Complete 4 parts

Harmonic analysis

Cadences marked

Hummable tune

Includes at least one secondary chord

Melody corrections made

 

Requires only minor revisions

Needs some revision

 Needs significant revisions

Redo 

 Unacceptable

 

 RUBRIC

 

Points

Melody

Complete

 

Correct syllabic emphasis

 

 

Form (repetition contrast)

 

 

Tonality

 

First draft

Complete

 

Harmonic analysis done

 

 

Cadences marked

 

 

Melody corrections

 

Final composition

Form

5

Harmonic progression

15

 

Melody

15

 

Harmonic analysis

15

 

Cadences

5

 

Part-writing

20

 

Use of text

15

 

Formatting

10

 

 

 

 

Grading abbreviations:

SE - syllabic emphasis

WD - word divided incorrectly

TMS - too much space between voice parts

P5 - parallel 5ths

P8 - parallel octaves

 

 

 

HOW TO WRITE A BAD SONG

  1. Never use a rest

  2. Don't repeat anything

  3. Use a different rhythm in every measure.

  4. Avoid establishing tonality

  5. Use more skips than steps

  6. Let Finale place the notes on random pitches

  7. Let Finale make sense of the meter after the fact

  8. Put every chord in the accompaniment in root position

 

 

 

Created and maintained by Vicky V. Johnson