Russian Music Theory

Russian Music Theory

Roughly 50 years after some of Stravinsky’s most influential works, Arthur Berger published his paper “Problems of Pitch Organization in Stravinsky
.” There he attempted to define a new theory about Stravinsky’s music and, in the process, coined the term “octatonic.” In contrast, in as early as 1906 Russian music theorist Boleslav Yavorsky (1877–1942) was documenting theories that would influence modern Russian music theory and would be applicable to the music of Rimsky-Korsakov, Scriabin, Stravinsky, and Prokofiev.

Write Like Mozart Closing Notes – Composing Tools

Write Like Mozart Closing Notes – Composing Tools

Below is the last (and perhaps most lengthy) of my Write Like Mozart Notes that I sent my students when we took the Write Like Mozart class together in 2014.  The Write Like Mozart class is online again, starting today (April 11, 2016).

In this installment, I review the composing tools we have learned from the Write Like Mozart class and offer some thoughts and examples of how to develop material.

This is the tenth and final post in this series.

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.