AN INTRODUCTION TO MUSIC COMPOSITION
BASIC MUSIC THEORY
The study of music composition starts with a study in music theory. This website is not set up to provide complete courses in music theory or musical education. My objective in this section to provide a basic understanding of what music theory is, and a brief guide to the elements that make up musical works (the elements that composers, such as myself, use and work with in composing a musical piece or work).
Following the definition of music theory, I have listed elements that are found in musical works. Each element will be briefly defined and described regarding its role in music.
WHAT IS MUSIC THEORY?
Music theory, in its general or most basic definition, is the study of how music works. It breaks down the elements of music and also examines the language and notation of music. Extending the definition, we can also say that music theory can include any statement, belief, or conception of or about music. Patterns and structures in composers techniques are studied and compared within genres, styles and/or historical periods of music.
In this section, I have listed the main periods of music found in most (if not all) music history books and texts. For ease of clarity, I have these periods in bold font. Following the period names (I have also included a separate one for L.V. Beethoven) I have given a brief summary of the elements and general characteristics that are found in the musical compositions of that specific era. I have covered the basics for the section on 20TH century music, as they can both get not only quite in-depth, but use terms that are difficult to understand and grasp. Going beyond the basics for both the sections of theory and harmony will require many years of in-depth music study which non-musicians will not have.
1. In the section on J.S. Bach and The Well Tempered Clavier, I have introduced and given basic information on these works. To go into detail on this collection of fugues is beyond the scope of this website and requires a full knowledge and harmony and counterpoint, including the application of writing fugal parts in a formal texture and the rules required therein.
2. I have introduced a few major works to illustrate some of the concepts and their applications in the section on Twentieth Century works. Again, to go into further detail of the elements and applications of these concepts requires a through knowledge of harmony and analysis, as well as the history of Twentieth Century writing, including the application of writing this style of music in a formal texture and the rules required therein.
3. I, myself am working on a work which is for two pianos but includes no rhythms. Each note is of the same rhythmic duration, a quarter note and multiple time signatures are used. The piece will be performed by written instruction and phrasing.
INTRODUCTION TO MUSIC HISTORY
MEDIEVAL & MIDDLE AGES
The Sonata Cycle
L. V. BEETHOVEN & THE BRIDGE TO ROMANTICISM
His Music: Part 4: Symphony No. 5, Opus 67
Twentieth Century: Extending the Definition of Music (5): Composers of Twelve-Tone Works
Twentieth Century: Extending the Definition of Music (6): Bela Bartok & Igor Stravinsky