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For more information, please see full course syllabus of Music Composition
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Lecture Comments (6)

0 answers

Post by Tamrat Regasa on September 15, 2015

Very often, the topics in the honky-tonk music include heartbreak and sadness, often more emotional and less sentimental compared to country crooners or other styles. The vocal styles often included vocal cracks, blue notes, and melismas. The use of a fiddle, lead guitar, steel guitar, and piano is present in most of these types of songs. Can you share at least two country songs with these characteristics and discuss your reasons for your selection. I am new for these subject and don't know much about music but i am taking the class

1 answer

Last reply by: devin schumacher
Thu May 1, 2014 12:11 AM

Post by Professor Ryan on August 5, 2013

Hi Beverly,

Thanks for your question.  Let me address the issues you have presented.

1. When I harmonized the G scale melody with a C scale harmony, I was trying to illustrate the unique harmonic language that even beginning composition students may access by stretching their minds and imaginations.  The most famous, unforgettable and gorgeous melodies came from experimentation between different keys.  If you feel confused about harmonizing a G melody with chords from the key of C (these two keys share many of the same notes) , then you should definitely go back and take the Intro to Music Theory course.  There is too much material to cover in this Intro to Composition course to address basic questions such as harmonizing a melody using different keys.

2.  I understand about the manuscript paper being small.  We have been experimenting with various sizes and we will take your input very seriously.  

Again, this course is not for 'review'.  The understanding is that the student should already be familiar with chords and can easily take my verbal instruction along with what is being presented visually.  There is not enough time to exhaustively review very basic concepts of music composition that should already be familiar to a student of this course.  In the introduction to this course, I explain that if the student feels at all bewildered, frustrated or confused, or if the course goes too fast, that they should go back and take the Intro to Music Theory course.

3. MOST IMPORTANT:  Keep writing music and being inspired by music!  Keep studying and don't give up :)
Every composers voice is important.

Prof. Ryan

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Post by Beverly Terry on August 5, 2013

I would really love to know how to compose music, but this lesson was very confusing. I know a little theory and would be able to follow if things were a little clearer. In an early example: Create a Major Scale Derived Melody, you said that we were using the G scale, but then chose the chords for the harmony from the C scale. That was very confusing.

The manuscript paper you are using is too small for me to follow the markings. The notes of the chord names were not presented in a clear and easy-to-follow manner. It would have only taken a minute or two for you to review those things you said the student should know.

I have been writing songs most of my life. I love music and have had a difficult time finding someone that I could learn from. I am willing to do whatever is necessary to get a good understanding of what this course has to offer. I know a lot about the major scale and will study the minor scale at length before I return for the next lesson.

1 answer

Last reply by: Professor Ryan
Mon Aug 5, 2013 9:03 PM

Post by suresh Mohanadas on July 28, 2013

Where are the lecture notes?
When you showed to construct a blues scale, do you want me to rewind and pause and take notes, how to construct a blues scale?

Introduction to Composition

  • Overview of:
    • Melody Horizontal Presentation of Pitch
    • Major/ Minor Scale Derived Melody
    • Blues Scale
    • Harmony Verticalization of Pitch
    • Consonance & Dissonance
    • Chord Class

Introduction to Composition

Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
  • Lesson Objectives 0:07
  • Melody Horizontal Presentation of Pitch 0:15
    • Melody of Yankee Doodle
    • Direction of Pitch
    • A Fifth
    • Major, Perfect, or Minor
  • Major/Minor Scale Derived Melody 2:54
    • Melody of Müller's
    • Why is it Minor?
  • Blues Scale Derived Melody 4:16
    • Blues Scale
    • Possibility of Blues
  • Harmony Verticalization of Pitch 5:54
    • What a Major Chord Verticalization Looks Like
    • What a Minor Chord Verticalization Looks Like
  • Consonance/Dissonance 7:33
    • Consonant I Chord
    • Consonant IV Chord
    • Dissonant V Chord
    • Dissonant VII Chord
  • Chord Types Tonic Class 9:23
    • Tonic Chords: I and vi
  • Sub Dominant Class Chords 9:54
    • IV Chord in C
    • ii Chord in C
  • Dominant Class Chords 10:50
    • V Chord in C
    • vii Chord in C
    • iii Chord in C
  • Example I: Create a Major Scale Derived Melody 12:54
  • Example II: Harmonize the Melody 13:27
  • Example III: Create a Minor Scale Derived Melody 16:58
  • Example IV: Harmonize the Melody 19:11
  • Example V: Create a Blues Scale Derived Melody 21:27
  • Example VI: Harmonize the Melody 25:07