Introduction to Composition: Explorations in Musical Time and Space


Introduction to Composition is intended for students who wish to explore sound and music through projects involving instruments, voices, and intermedia. No previous background in music theory is required. The course is especially appropriate for students who may have written songs or composed, and who would like to explore how to create for different kinds of instruments. It will be less about “what you know” than what you imagine.

Central to this encounter will be weekly meetings with performers who will bring us face-to-face with different instruments and their possibilities. We’ll start small, wherein students will be asked to encounter and then imagine short studies and exploratory sketches for solo instruments. Then we’ll build up to larger ensembles, culminating in a project for instruments to be read by the Deviant Septet, an ensemble in residence at Duke during 2015-16.

Some exploration of the current field will provide concrete examples, ranging widely across "kinds of music" and touching as necessary on music theory, orchestration, music technology and analysis. But the primary emphasis will be on composing, as we seek to discover expressive possibilities and the compositional value of craft. The goal of the seminar is to provide students with an introduction to the art of composition.

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