OCCIDENTAL MUSIC AND MULTIMEDIA COMPOSITION

university course designed and delivered in 2004, Zhao Qing University Music Department

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UNIT DESCRIPTION 0402-COM

 

The Music Department

Zhaoqing Municipal University

0402-COM LESSON 1-12

Introduction to Occidental

Music & Multimedia Composition

Designed by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zachar Laskewicz for students with English as a Foreign Language

 

Keywords and Concepts:

1         Freedom and Imagination

2         The Art of Restriction

3         Music as Multimedia

4         Rhythm

5         Melody

6         Decoration

7         Polyphony

8         Canons

9         Music-Theatre

10     Ethnic Music

 

Timetable:

2 periods per week, divided as follows -

 

1 Lecture based on reading handed out in previous lesson

or

Simple composition activities based on material on sheets handed out to students following a short lecture

 

2 Listening activities intended to provide the students with extended approaches to compositions

or

Improvisation skills and/or performance skills

or

Discussion of chamber music or class composition project.

or

Score analysis to provide students with new approaches

 

 

 

 

1

 

Course Textbooks:

This course does not require any textbooks. All material is provided by the lecturer.

 

Basic Structure:

The intention of this course is to provide the students with a well-rounded introduction to the many different approaches to composition in the occident. This includes a basic introduction to techniques which find their origin as far back as the Ancient Greeks and Chinese, and at the same time an exploration is made of advances made in the twentieth century. This includes both a practical and a thematic approach to explain the reasoning behind certain developments.

 

Course Description:

The first of the two periods is usually devoted to a thematic discussion or lecture based on lecture notes the students receive at the beginning of the period. This time can also be used for short exercises based on what has already been discussed. The second period is usually devoted to listening or reading exercises based on developments in the twentieth century or for group work; the students divide into predetermined groups and either discuss or workshop new composition projects.

 

Requirements:

Students are expected to attend all classes; passing the unit is dependent on this. If the student misses more than three classes, then they fail the unit. Also, the students have to inform the lecturer if they cannot come - students who simply fail to show up automatically fail after missing more than two classes. They are also required to come on time; if students come to class more than three times late, they will automatically fail the unit. Contact information for the lecturer is included at the end of this summary. At the end of the semester, students have to present a portfolio containing the two compositions (solo composition and chamber music composition). The best is also done to arrange a performance or a number of performances of the works of the students which can improve the participation marks of the students.

 

Assessment:

Grades are determined as follows:

 

Participation: 25%

Solo Composition: 25%

Chamber Music Composition: 25%

Class Composition (participation in): 25%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

Study Plan:

The following list contains the general structure of the semester. Although there may be more than 12 weeks in a semester, weeks are taken for study, free composition and holidays. These units may also take more than a week to complete. To suit the needs of individual groups of students, the contents can be changed. In general though, students have a lecture in the first half or a lecture that combines activities, and in the second half they work on projects in groups, testing out and discussing composition ideas on a larger scale.

 

1. INTRODUCTION

(a) Introduction - Collection of information on the students

Take the chance to meet the students and introduce lecturer and his compositions.

(b) Short test playing different examples of music - Having defined the major periods

already and the describing the way we'll be looking at different compositional styles taken from these periods. The joke of the test is that I composed all the works; the intention is to demonstrate the eclecticism of contemporary composition.

 

2. ARTISTIC PROCESSES

(a) Revision of Historical Material

Students are provided with resource material and given a short test on musical form. The Compositional Methods they will be asked to recognise are defined on the board. Short test is then completed.

(b) The Composer as Artist

Terminology is defined on the handout sheet. The role of the artist is described. The student groups are divided to workshop their ideas which could eventually become the 'group project' which forms part of the assessment.

 

3. ANCIENT MUSIC

(a) The Importance of Rhythm - Reading, Lecture Game and Composition Activity.

(b) What is Music?

Contrasting definitions are handed out and alternative forms of 'music' on CD/MD are played.

 

4. MEDIEVAL MUSIC

(a) Organum, Monophony & Antiphony - lecture & activities

- Develop simple melody based on the row suggested by Russo

(b) The art of melodic decoration

- Listen to Incantation Music

 

5. TEXTUALITY

(a) Scales - modes, major & minor & pentatonic

(b) Scores & Improvisation: reading and interpreting them

 

6. SOUNDSCAPES

(a) Harmony - Lecture & Activities

(b) Development of Compositional Projects

 

 

 

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7. POLYPHONY

(a) Melodic Polyphony - Lecture & Activities

(b) Work on group compositions or solo works

 

8. ROUNDS

(a) Harmonic Polyphony - Lecture & Activities

(b) The Canon: analysis of Soft Rains and listening activities (Soft Rains and Pachebel's Canon)

 

9. MINIMALISM

(a) Ostinati - Lecture & Activities

(b) Minimalism: Listening activities as extension of ostinati.

 

10. SERIALISM

(a) Serial and Twelve-Tone Music - Lecture

(b) The Avant-Garde: Listening exercises

 

11. THEATRICALITY

(a) Words and Music - Lecture and Activities

(b) Music and Theatre: Score Analysis of Het Loket, The Object Lesson and Zaum

 

12. ETHNICITY

(a) The influence of Popular Music and Jazz - Lecture

(b) Ethnic Music: Score analysis of Imbahl, (Aural) Transgressions, Project 2 and Transmigration-2.

 

Any remaining time is used working on and rehearsing compositional projects. There are also a number of additional lectures which can be given if time and student interest permits. These lectures are included in a list below:

 

[1] NOISE, SILENCE & MUSIC - the Italian Futurists defining the boundaries

 

[2] COMPUTER MUSIC - the home studio

An Introduction to Electronic Music

- Present Notation and Recording software, describing MIDI and its parameters, and the essential elements of a multimedia studio.

 

[3] Scores & Improvisation: different ways to present and interpret 'music'; analysis of Primordial Genesis and From a Gable Window

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

The Music Department

Zhaoqing Municipal University

0402-COM LESSON 1

Occidental Multimedia Composition

Designed by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zachar Laskewicz for students with English as a Foreign Language

 

LECTURER'S NOTES:

Historical Outlook on Occidental Music

 

 

 

ZL-12-1-PA

 

Topic 1: Getting to know the students/Introducing the teacher musically.

 

Topic 2: Ask the students to fill in the following information on a sheet of paper for the student's database.

 

 

 

ZL-12-1-PB

 

Topic 1: On the board a history of western music divided into 10 major areas is created as included on the student's resource page.

 

Topic 2: Particular examples are played from a demo tape/CD/MD to give the students background information for the test at the next lesson.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Music Department

Zhaoqing Municipal University

0402-COM LESSON 1

Occidental Multimedia Composition

Designed by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zachar Laskewicz for students with English as a Foreign Language

 

SUPPORT MATERIAL FOR STUDENTS:

Historical Outlook on Occidental Music

 

In the context of the discussion which leads to our short exam on recognising music in terms of its history, 9 major periods were. They are separated dramatically both by AESTHETIC style and the POLITICAL CLIMATE. A list and a brief summary are included below:

 

[1] ANCIENT MUSIC (c. period B.C. until 450)

Music composed during this time has left us primarily with written records and heresay. There are existing treatises on music, however, which survived the 'Dark Ages' thanks to the preservation of Monks. Ancient Egyptian music was in turn to a degree saved by the Ancient Greeks, although it must be remembered that many events after the Middle-Ages occurred thanks to a misunderstanding of the surviving translations. Today we have mostly descriptions of performances of music, and there is also of course the Chinese culture which left us an important musical tradition which will also be considered. All the Ancient Roman culture really left us with was the language LATIN; because it was the language spoken in Ancient Rome where the Vatican City was built, it was considered to have ICONIC or 'ideal' meaning. During the Middle-Ages, however, it was essentially a 'dead' language in that nobody spoke it to communicate; people believed it had mystical powers. Therefore it became the basis for musical creation. All music that followed was based on MELISMATIC DECORATION of this form of text.

 

[2] EARLY MIDDLE AGES (c. A.D. 450-900)

Also known as the 'dark ages' because of the horrific events which occurred in Europe at this time (such as the 'plague'), this movement involved the use of the system of MODES, a DRONE, as well as the two important compositional tools based around MONOPHONY (or MONODONY) and ORNAMENTATION. HARMONY as such as we know it today did not exist until the RENAISSANCE.

 

 

 

 

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[3] L'ECOLE DE NOTRE DAME (c. A.D. 900-1100).

This movement-known in plain English as the Notre Dame school-became well-known because of the talents of its two representative composers, LEONIN & PEROTIN. They changed the face of music in a number of decades by stretching out the 'melody line' of the early Middle-Ages so that more interesting and exciting melodic developments could take place above it. The ICONIC meaning of the text itself remained unquestionable. The music of this school also saw the appearance of POLYPHONY, even though it was largely controlled by the CANTUS FIRMUS that guided it.

 

[4] LATE MIDDLE AGES (c. A.D. 1100-1450)

Characterised by further dramatic development which sometimes even resulted in the complete loss of the original Latin text (the CANTUS FIRMUS was most often produced by an instrument and not a voice). This music, by composers such as Guillame de Machaut, often had a strong POLITICAL MESSAGE. The mixture of these sometimes conflicting texts produced complex and strange dissonances which we would now refer to as POLYPHONY, even though HARMONY as we know it today was still in its very early stages.

 

[5] RENAISSANCE (c. A.D. 1450-1600)

Even though it resulted from an apparent 'misunderstanding' about how the Ancient Greeks produced theatre (hence an attempted 'REBIRTH' of philosophies and aesthetics of Ancient Greece) which had become lost in the confusion of the late Middle Ages. Characterised by the invention of the well-known music-theatre form referred to as the OPERA and also for passing liberally from a POLYPHONIC to a HARMONIC environment. Claudio Monteverdi was an important composer of this era.

 

[6] BAROQUE MUSIC (c. A.D. 1600-1750)

Characterised by development of a particular musical and artistic STYLE in Europe. It represented a greater understanding of the world thanks to technological and scientific advancements. At the same time there were radical developments in the state of religious life when Martin Luther revitalised the corruption of the Roman church by reinterpreting the Bible. Therefore the centre of musical activity moved to Germany (via Luther's 'Protestant' movement). The era is not by chance characterised by the music of the important German composer and his many children, Johan Sebastian BACH.

 

[7] CLASSICAL MUSIC (c. A.D. 1750-1820)

Developing on many themes introduced in the Baroque and Renaissance eras, colonial power began to travel the seas and the middle-class continued to grow. This was music largely composed by rich people for a rich or aristocratic audience; peasants did not have access to this music, and they formed a majority of the population. The Classical era also saw the development of the Baroque Concerto Grosso into the symphony orchestra we are more familiar with today.

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[8] ROMANTICISM (c. A.D. 1820-1900)

During this era, the symphony orchestra became fully-fledged and the SONATA FORM received its ultimate development. As the middle-class continued to grow as the economy prospered, more and more people could have access to this music and even become musicians. Amateur musicianship was also a popular activity, far more popular than it is today. ROMANTIC IDEALS were an expression of a life philosophy which glorified the individual as the genius and ultimate creator. Today we have inherited many of these ideals, many of which exclude us from becoming creators of any kind. The INSPIRATION method of composition is still considered by many to be the way to compose, but I hope to provide you with a different set of parameters to use.

 

[9] THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

This era has seen a wide number of changes, many of which involve looking back over the history of the last centuries of history. This semester will involve the discussion of different aspects of these developments, many of which also stand against the 'romantic idealism' introduced above. Although we are now in the 21st Century, the 20th Century provided us with forms and ideas that continue to impact the world. As artists today, the student composers will be taught to realise the potential complexity of their task and their struggle to find a voice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Music Department

Zhaoqing Municipal University

0402-COM LESSON 2

Occidental Music & Multimedia Composition

Designed by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zachar Laskewicz for students with English as a Foreign Language

 

LECTURER'S BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

Composition as Process (Interpretation)

Ancient Music (Melodic Ornamentation)

 

 

ZL-12-2-PA

 

Topic 1: Explanation of activities & assessment

[1] Explain assessment in the unit.

[2] Describe how the students can develop individually at home the projects they do in class; they are free to mix methods and styles for the portfolio they hand in.

[3] Encourage students to bring instruments every week. It doesn't matter if they are simple or if they can play them or not.

[4] What we don't have time to do in class is included on resource material.

[5] Write telephone on the board so students can get in touch, bringing a friend (as translator) if they need any of the ideas described in more detail. I'm free all Wednesday for appointments with the students.

 

Topic 2: Revision of Historical Material

[1] Hand out the readings.

[2] On the board revise the 9 divisions and the COMPOSITIONAL METHODS used in some of them.

[3] Complete a short test introducing these methods, emphasising the fact that we will be looking at them in more detail.

[4] Introduce terminology important to Ancient Music and the Middle Ages such as 'drone', 'modes', 'plainchant'/ 'Cantus Firmus' etc.

 

Topic 3: Divide the Students into Composition Groups

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ZL-12-PB-2

 

Topic 1: Theoretical Terminology

Introduce the terminology important to this lesson: objectivity/subjectivity, composition & interpretation.

 

Topic 2: An Introduction to Ancient Music - Melodic Ornamentation (1)

- Provide an introduction to Ancient Music.

- Provide description of modes in Ancient Greece.

 

Topic 3: Writing for Specific Instruments / Notation

- Play on the flute the ornamentation example based on Ancient Greek melody and introduce the topic of instrumental presentation: next week I will be presenting a more detailed presentation on the flute, then the students week by week. I can also do 'cello and piano and provide western notation information.

 

Topic 4: Group Discussion/Homework

Chinese melody which can be 'interpreted'; interpretation as a kind of composition - possible application of the compositional styles introduced in the first half of the lesson.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Music Department

Zhaoqing Municipal University

0402-COM LESSON 2

Occidental Music & Multimedia Composition

Designed by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zachar Laskewicz for students with English as a Foreign Language

 

SUPPORT MATERIAL FOR STUDENTS: Useful Terminology

Important Theoretical Ideas

 

AESTHETICS & STYLE

The way in which a given work 'pleases' (or displeases) its audience; the style refers to the way the composer could have intended this to happen, although it is a difficult area to make judgements about as music is such a SUBJECTIVE experience, i.e. our view of it is NOT pure; it is influenced by how we are taught to understand it.

 

INTERPRETATION

Interpretation of music is the first step of composition. Everytime you play a new piece of music, you interpret it a new way. The general rules you apply, however, are taught to you by the culture you are in. Composers make up their own rules and experiment with 'interpretation' methods.

 

POLITICAL CLIMATE

The current condition a given society finds itself in which influences the way a given composer composes a work. The POLITICAL CLIMATE influences aesthetics. We live in an age with a very particular set of political values. They are largely based on ROMANTIC idealisations of what individuals do, and we will be looking at that next week.

 

Practical Terminology

 

MELODIC ORNAMENTATION

Although we only have fragments of music left from the Ancient Music period, we know that they decorated them in various ways from what we read. This is known as INTERPRETATION of a melody, i.e. a set of rules that are applied by the music-makers so that they can make the melody more interesting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Music Department

Zhaoqing Municipal University

0402-COM LESSON 2

Occidental Music & Multimedia Composition

Designed by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zachar Laskewicz for students with English as a Foreign Language

 

SUPPORT MATERIAL FOR STUDENTS:

Chamber Music Composition Assignment

(discussion material and homework)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Music Department

Zhaoqing Municipal University

0402-COM LESSON 3

Occidental Music & Multimedia Composition

Designed by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zachar Laskewicz for students with English as a Foreign Language

 

LECTURER'S BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

Romantic Idealization & The Importance of Rhythm

ZL-12-3-PA

 

Topic 1: Introduce theoretical terminology

- Define SUBJECTIVITY and OBJECTIVITY

- Define POLITICS and PHILOSOPHY

- ROMANTIC IDEALIZATION is important because it results in our contemporary philosophy towards music which is part of our aesthetics.

 

Topic 2: Writing for the flute & Melodic Ornamentation (2)

- Teach students some lessons about the flute including the following, set of goals students have to include:

[1] RANGE, what is its highest and lowest notes

[2] KEY, i.e. which key is it in

[3] SCALE, i.e. is it pentatonic or chromatic?

[4] SOUND QUALITY, i.e. describe and demonstrate how the instrument sounds

[5] SPECIAL ORNAMENTATION, i.e. what kind of unique ornamentation can you use, from trills to flutter tongueing; how do you notate it

[6] SPECIAL EFFECTS, i.e. are there other ways to use the instrument

[7] THEATRICALITY, i.e. is there anything you can do with the instrument to make it a more potent communicative vehicle, what can one see.

- Show examples of notation from Laskewicz compositions Incantation Music & Antiphony-2.

 

Topic 3: Performing Rhythm in Space (1)

- Introduce melodies from Antiphony-2 which is similarly based on ancient music.

- Get students up to play it, clapping the rhythmic pattern.

- Play example from medieval melody SALTARELLO which is a contemporary pop interpretation where rhythm plays a highly important role.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ZL-11-3-PB

 

Topic 1: The Importance of Rhythm

- Rhythm is considered to be the most important and dynamic driving force behind music and musical creation.

- It is also easy to improvise with and is perhaps the most accessible musical parameter.

- Listening activity from Transmigration-2

 

Topic 2: Performing Rhythm in Space (2)

- It can be a spatial medium, emphasising its 'multimedial' nature.

[1] Game imitating the previous player in circle.

[2] Game listening for change.

[3] Rhythmic Activity as follows:

 

Topic 3: GROUP TIME

- Allow the students a period of 20 minutes to work on their group projects and discuss the theoretical terminology.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Topic 3: The Composer THEN and NOW

[1] Describe the 'restricted' world of the composer in previous ages. Religion and the belief in the OBJECTIVE TRUTH of the Bible and the existence of pure musical meaning affected the way people created.

[2] Today, in a world with many different religions and beliefs, the internet and communication possibilities, we are faced with vexing problems: How should we represent things? Why bother?

 

Topic 4: Artistic Planning

[1] Explain importance of COMPOSITIONAL METHODS, and how I will teach them.

[2] Describe prevailing approach which is based in 'romantic idealism' and inspiration.

[3] Students are free to choose any method they like, but they will be asked to consider the possibilities I teach them.

[4] For complex works of any type, artistic projects require planning. A pre-planned artistic project can involve multimedia and any other elements. It also involves presetting the instruments one will use and the type of music created, evoking the FREEDOM & RESTRICTION parameter introduced in the first lesson. A typical artistic plan is described on student's resource material.

[5] Divide class into groups and ask students to consider political issues they consider important; these could become the class project. The basic steps can be summarised as follows:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Music Department

Zhaoqing Municipal University

0402-COM LESSON 3

Occidental Music & Multimedia Composition

Designed by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zachar Laskewicz for students with English as a Foreign Language

 

SUPPORT MATERIAL FOR STUDENTS: Useful Terminology

COMPOSITIONAL METHOD

Particular 'tools' or 'skills' that composers can apply to their work. I will be providing you with a set of basic tools taken from my work which in turn comes from the influence of western history and music of the twentieth century. Methods include MONOPHONY, POLYPHONY, HARMONIC POLYPHONY, ANTIPHONY, RESTRICTED IMPROVISATION, FREE IMPROVISATION, JAZZ IMPROVISATION, and PURE INSPIRATION. They will be described in more detail through the semester; the students can use them in their composition projects.

 

Important Theoretical Ideas

 

OBJECTIVITY - OBJECTIVE TRUTH

Kguān Xinsh

This is a philosophical belief that has come to us thanks to SCIENCE. In the arts, it is largely refined to the field of music. It is a belief that an individual can provide an opinion which is totally unaffected by his or her personal opinions. It sometimes implies that a set of given facts about a work are true now, always have been true and always will be true. This seems strange in the context of music which is generally viewed as a SUBJECTIVE EXPERIENCE, but it is an important part of ROMANTIC IDEALIZATION.

 

POLITICS & PHILOSOPHY

POLITICS refers to the way a society teaches its members to interact with one another and their culture. It is far more complex than simply being the way a country is run (i.e. communism and democratic political systems). Many composers react against the contemporary politics and create 'subversive' compositions. Others are strongly influenced by their 'philosophy' towards music. In the contemporary world our philosophy is strongly based in ROMANTIC IDEALISM. PHILOSOPHY, in comparison, refers to the way individuals view their world. There is a similar connection between the notions of politics and philosophy. Composers with 'subversive' philosophies use composition methods that they design themselves or that they take from contrasting historical periods. These people are aware of the fact that they are being influenced by their POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT, and therefore question it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ROMANTIC IDEALISM

The 'politics' of contemporary European/Western/Occidental suggest a general aesthetics based on what is known as ROMANTIC IDEALISM. This is an important concept. It is a philosophy towards life, and in particular music, which has many applications. Composers, referred to as the 'Masters' are divinified and their music is considered to have PURE or ICONIC meaning. Analysis hardly ever refers to the music's politics; it is almost as if they believe that they can achieve a 'pure' or OBJECTIFIED approach to music. This OBJECTIFIED approach is unusual because it is general considered that music, as with other art forms, is a SUBJECTIVE EXPERIENCE based on what an individual is taught to feel. Music from the MIDDLE-AGES is largely ignored today because it is impossible to view it outside of the context in which it was created. This semester I will be asking you to view music as if you were in Europe at the time is was written; try to think as they might have done by viewing their politics and aesthetics. ROMANTIC IDEALISM which we can largely thank the ROMANTIC era for is a dangerous one and it has to be seen as just one approach among many, not necessarily the only one.

 

 

SUBJECTIVITY - SUBJECTIVE EXPERIENCE

Wnt Xinsh

It is hard to comment upon what a given work of arts-or a musical composition-'means', or what the composer intended when they were composing their work (especially if they are no longer living) because we can't 'get inside their heads' and find out what they were thinking. We can only provide a personal reaction to a work, which is described as a 'subjective experience' rather than an 'objective' or 'pure' one. In the twentieth century, although it remains a myth in music, most people (especially philosophers and academics in the arts) don't believe in idealism in the arts and that there is any OBJECTIVE TRUTH so when commenting on another's work you have to be careful about how you word your opinions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Music Department

Zhaoqing Municipal University

0402-COM LESSON 3

Occidental Music & Multimedia Composition

Designed by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zachar Laskewicz for students with English as a Foreign Language

 

SCORE EXAMPLE 2: TRANSMIGRATION-2 [rhythm in space]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Music Department

Zhaoqing Municipal University

0402-COM LESSON 3

Occidental Music & Multimedia Composition

Designed by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zachar Laskewicz for students with English as a Foreign Language

 

SCORE EXAMPLE 1: INCANTATION MUSIC

for 3 flutes, drone & voice

[composing for flute & melodic ornamentation]

 

ORNAMENTED MELODY

Played by flute 1

 

 

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SIMPLIFIED MELODY

Based on Ancient Greek Music Systems, Modes & Transposition

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The Music Department

Zhaoqing Municipal University

0402-COM LESSON 3

Occidental Music & Multimedia Composition

Designed by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zachar Laskewicz for students with English as a Foreign Language

 

SCORE EXAMPLE 3: ANTIPHONY-2

for 3 percussion instruments and 3 melodic instruments

[composition with rhythmic and melodic drive]

 

 

PERCUSSIVE RHYTHMS

 

The Percussive rhythms consist of three lines. The first line accents the 4/2/3 pattern below, but producing a sound on every beat. The last (third line) also consists of accenting the same beats, but a sound is only made on the first, fifth and seventh beats. The second line accents groups of 3 during the 9/8 pattern. All groups accent the same pattern, although the third line does not play on every quarter note (quaver), accenting instead groups of 3 or two by playing crotchets or dotted crotchet.

 

 

 

RHYTHMIC GROUND BASS

 

 

 

 

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BASIC MELODY

 

 

 

 

 

 

MELODY WITH ORNAMENTATION

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Music Department

Zhaoqing Municipal University

0402-COM LESSON 4

Occidental Music & Multimedia Composition

Designed by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zachar Laskewicz for students with English as a Foreign Language

 

LECTURER'S NOTES:

Restriction as Freedom, Artistic Planning & The Hocket Technique

 

ZL-12-4-PA

 

Topic 1: Restriction as Freedom

[1] Describe the origins of the 'inspiration method' of composition from romantic idealization.

[2] Express the usefulness of

(i) making structures, and

(ii) deciding on the beforehand on a set of RESTRICTIONS

[3] Such restrictions actually provide the composer with more freedom of creation in other areas.

 

Topic 2: Composition Exercise

[1] Planning compositions is essentially about placing restrictions on yourself; through these restrictions one is actually provided with more freedom.

[2] Write a melody of around 10 bars with the following scale, which consists of only 4 notes. Imagine that you are writing for a solo flute that has only these notes on it, so you have no other choice:

 

[3] Also, you have to use the following rhythmic sequence. In the Renaissance, only certain intervals were allowed. Imagine that the emperor of the kingdom has decreed that any other rhythmic sequence is evil and cannot be used in composition. The rhythmic pattern is as follows:

 

[4] Remember the following facts:

(i) you don't have to use all the tones all the time;

(ii) you can use up to three octaves above middle C if you want to (but this is not essential);

(iii) the quarter notes (crotchets) in the rhythmic example above can be replace with 2 8th

notes if you wish;

(iv) the minum at the end of the bar can be replaced by a 'dotted crotchet' and an eigth

note (or quaver);

(v) You can use any type of ornamentation as long as the ornamentation uses notes of the

scale.

4-LN-P1/3


Topic 3: Homework

[1] As homework, the students can use all sorts of musical symbols to decorate their melodies and make them more interesting, such as accents, trills, accelerandos, crescendos etc. The students can also add a permanent drone, a moveable drone and percussion instruments, although this is not necessary. This could form the basis for the solo instrument composition.

 

 

ZL-12-4-PB

 

Topic 1: Is music an 'art-form' or a 'form of communication'?

[1] Artists are generally defined - outside the context of romantic idealization of such people - as individuals with a particular vision that they express using a form of representation such as music, dance, painting or literature.

[2] As we discussed last week, composers today often have a message to communicate through their music which stand against the 'norm' or the set of norms provided by society.

[3] The artist who doesn't believe in the system provided by their society often have to create their own set of rules, therefore work which others can't understand or actively dislike. Contemporary music for this reason has a bad reputation.

[4] The composer, therefore, is in the same way as an other creator, an 'artist' in the creative sense

 

Topic 2: Artistic Planning

[1] Check to make sure the students have brought the manuscript books, exercise books and example instruments of some kind.

[2] What is artistic planning? Beginning with themes and ideas, a set of goals that result eventually in the creation of a given work of art. The first notes often relate to basic thematic content, such as 'rhythm in space' or 'the political situation in Tibet'.

[3] Whether or not you have your own belief systems or ideas, artistic planning helps you form the basis for compositions, especially large-scale ones.

[4] There are basically two types of plans: structural and thematic. The thematic plan involves the movement between ideas and the art work, thought and compositional process, whereas the structural plan just involves what happens in the composition.

[5] Today I expect a structural plan for your composition assignment 1, each group providing one. Also at the end of semester I expect to see all the stages of the thematic AND structural plans. This piece has to be more thematically complex, needs more input from the student, but at the same time the student can write for anything more than 4 instruments, such as the composition groups.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4-LN-P2/3

Topic 3: Structural and Thematic Planning

- Describe and show examples of planning in my own work. They can be described as follows:

 

STRUCTURAL PLANNING

[1] Firstly decide on which broad compositional structure you want to use, i.e. theme and variations, ABA form etc. I usually work with an introduction, first theme, bridges to second and third themes and then a dynamic conclusion, at least in purely musical works (which is not common).

[2] Decide on how many sections the composition will contain and what will happen in each division.

[3] Decide on technical information such as the key, transpositions, metric modulation, use of specific compositional techniques.

[4] Write out a detailed final draft so that composition becomes an easier process rather than the 'inspiration method' we have inherited from the romantic era which leads composers to crteate highly superficial works in many cases.

 

THEMATIC PLANNING

[1] A general theme has to be chosen, something which interests the participants such as atonality and tonality or postmodern music-making, or less musical subjects such as the representation of a particular story.

[2] After the theme has been chosen, a process is gone through known as a 'WORKSHOP' or 'WORKSHOPPING', especially where groups are involved. Everyone writes down all the ideas they can come up with in relation to the theme, no matter how distant they may seem; all ideas have to be included at this stage. Ideas can include on the one hand thematic concepts and on the other ways of expressing these themes in music.

[3] Editing of the Workshop data - here the composer/s decide upon what information is useful and what can be discarded. All the thoughts are divided into different categories and a new list is made.

[4] Based on this list, a broad compositional plan is made based on the themes and structural ideas already put forward.

[5] Finally, the composer/s decide upon when and if they will need structural plans (it is necessary to have more than one in complex works)

 

Topic 4: The Hocket Technique

[1] Perform Hocket clapping exercise to show students how it is an essentially spatial medium.

[2] Demonstrate the example from the composition "Sharing Moonlight on an Ancient Eve" (Music for the Emperor 4).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4-LN-P3/3


The Music Department

Zhaoqing Municipal University

0402-COM LESSON 4

Occidental Music & Multimedia Composition

Designed by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zachar Laskewicz for students with English as a Foreign Language

 

SUPPORT MATERIAL FOR STUDENTS: Useful Terminology

 

THEORETICAL IDEAS

 

the ARTIST in the 20th and 21st centuries

Art has meant different things at different times, but today we define the artist as someone who questions their world by representing it some form of expression. Although in the past, the world of the composer was 'restricted' in the sense that he had to create works primarily for social or religious purposes, in today's world, that role has changed. Many composers question the OBJECTIVE TRUTH of music and language, and religion therefore has no meaning for them. Today, in a world with many different religions and beliefs, the internet and communication possibilities, we are faced with vexing problems: How should we represent things? Why bother? The artist who doesn't believe in the system provided by their society often have to create their own, therefore work which others can't understand or actively dislike. Contemporary music for this reason has a bad reputation. Whether or not you have your own belief systems or ideas, artistic planning helps you form the basis for compositions, especially large-scale ones. You can be a composer, and as a composer you are automatically an artist.

 

ARTISTIC PLANNING

Artists-including composers-often use plans before they set pen to paper or paintbrush to canvas. There are many different ways to plan art-works, but to help us today I have included below a basic series of steps you can follow to create a project which could eventually become a large-scale work (such as the classroom project):

[1] Workshop all the ideas or issues you can think of which are important to you; write them down in a list. Your ideas could be AESTHETIC or POLITICAL, or both.

[2] See if there are any connections between the entries on the list and then develop it as much as possible.

[3] Perhaps the most important step is finding out how you can REPRESENT your ideas in a musical or multimedia fashion. For example, if you are interested in the relationship between space and sound, you could set up your composition in an area, whereas political ideals can be realised by writing a poem and setting it to music.

[4] Decide how you will structure your work, i.e. how many sections, how long will they last, what will happen in each one.

[5] Choose the musical means you will be using, such as the instruments and scales, and whether or not you will be using multimedia to enhance your project.

[6] Finish by making a detailed list of each step and how you expect it to develop.

4-SM-P1/16

 

FREEDOM through RESTRICTION

An artist is 'free' to create anything he or she likes. There are so many choices that it is impossible to decide what to create. I will be providing you with 'tools' to limit this boundless freedom. This makes it easier to compose for many people. It also makes the product more accessible. Accomplished composers decide upon their restriction before they begin their work. It is therefore a COMPOSITIONAL METHOD to influence the way they create.

 

 

PRACTICAL CONCEPTS

 

 

STRUCTURAL PLANNING

STRUCTURAL PLANNING is primarily involved with the musical structure of a given work, and usually involves a description of each section rather than actual music, although it can include short melodic fragments if the composer has already developed some. The most important part of STRUCTURAL PLANNING is starting with a rough guide, and gradually improving or FINE-TUNING it until one is ready to actually start making the music itself. Thanks to STRUCTURAL PLANNING, quite complex compositions can be composed.

 

THEMATIC PLANNING

THEMATIC PLANNING is a more complex process often divided into specific stages, beginning with a WORKSHOP or pooling of ideas and then concentrating on developing the most important of these ideas. This is where more complex MULTIMEDIA compositions can be planned and created.

 

WORKSHOP

A creative planning process where an individual or a group of people write all the ideas they can think of in a short amount of time without worrying about whether they are all appropriate or not. Some good ideas and developments and ideas can be found in this way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4-SM-P2/16


Zhaoqing Municipal University

0402-COM UNIT 4

Occidental Music & Multimedia Composition

Designed by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zachar Laskewicz for students with English as a Foreign Language

 

SUPPORT MATERIAL FOR STUDENTS: "Freedom through Restriction"

Classroom Activity 1

 

Composition Exercise

 

[1] Planning compositions is essentially about placing restrictions on yourself; through these restrictions one is actually provided with more freedom.

 

[2] Write a melody of around 10 bars with the following scale, which consists of only 4 notes. Imagine that you are writing for a solo flute that has only these notes on it, so you have no other choice:

 

[3] Also, you have to use the following rhythmic sequence. In the Renaissance, for example, only certain intervals were allowed in religious music. Imagine that the emperor of the kingdom has decreed that any other rhythmic sequence is evil and cannot be used in composition. The rhythmic pattern is as follows:

 

[4] Remember the following facts:

(i) you don't have to use all the tones all the time;

(ii) you can use up to three octaves above middle C if you want to (but this is not essential);

(iii) the quarter notes (crotchets) in the rhythmic example above can be replace with 2 8th

notes if you wish;

(iv) the minum at the end of the bar can be replaced by a 'dotted crotchet' and an eigth

note (or quaver);

(v) You can use any type of ornamentation as long as the ornamentation uses notes of the

scale.

 

Homework

As homework you can use all sorts of musical symbols to decorate your melody and make it more interesting, such as accents, trills, accelerandos, crescendos etc. You can also add a permanent drone, a moveable drone, percussion instruments, ANTIPHONY and other COMPOSITIONAL METHODS we have discussed, although this is not necessary. This could form the basis for the solo instrument composition.

4-SM-P1/3


Topic 1:
What is music?

Hand the students the reading activity from Vella with musical definitions and get them to see which they agree with.

- Particular examples are played from a demo tape showing different examples of 'music' as well as multimedia compositions.

 


The Music Department

Zhaoqing Municipal University

0402-COM TEXTUALITY UNIT 5

Occidental Music & Multimedia Composition

Designed by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zachar Laskewicz for students with English as a Foreign Language

 

LECTURER'S NOTES:

Restriction as Freedom, Artistic Planning & Narratives in Music

 

ZL-12-4-PA

 

Topic 1: Restriction as Freedom

[1] Revise the inspiration method and restriction as freedom as explorted last week, and the compositional plans individuals can make. Point to the structure of the work Zhong Hua de Yin Yue.

 

Topic 2: Composition Exercise

[1] Planning compositions is essentially about placing restrictions on yourself; through these restrictions one is actually provided with more freedom.

[2] Write a melody of around 10 bars with the following scale, which consists of only 4 notes. Imagine that you are writing for a solo flute that has only these notes on it, so you have no other choice:

 

[3] Also, you have to use the following rhythmic sequence. In the Renaissance, only certain intervals were allowed. Imagine that the emperor of the kingdom has decreed that any other rhythmic sequence is evil and cannot be used in composition. The rhythmic pattern is as follows:

 

[4] Remember the following facts:

(i) you don't have to use all the tones all the time;

(ii) you can use up to three octaves above middle C if you want to (but this is not essential);

(iii) the quarter notes (crotchets) in the rhythmic example above can be replace with 2 8th

notes if you wish;

(iv) the minum at the end of the bar can be replaced by a 'dotted crotchet' and an eigth

note (or quaver);

(v) You can use any type of ornamentation as long as the ornamentation uses notes of the

scale.

4-LN-P1/3


Topic 3: Homework

[1] As homework, the students can use all sorts of musical symbols to decorate their melodies and make them more interesting, such as accents, trills, accelerandos, crescendos etc. The students can also add a permanent drone, a moveable drone and percussion instruments, although this is not necessary. This could form the basis for the solo instrument composition.

 

 

ZL-12-4-PB

 

Topic 1: STUDENT INSTRUMENTAL PRESENTATION

Student 1 is giving her presentation on the FRENCH HORN.

 

Topic 2: Is music an 'art-form' or a 'form of communication'?

[1] Artists are generally defined - outside the context of romantic idealization of such people - as individuals with a particular vision that they express using a form of representation such as music, dance, painting or literature.

[2] As we discussed last week, composers today often have a message to communicate through their music which stand against the 'norm' or the set of norms provided by society.

[3] The artist who doesn't believe in the system provided by their society often have to create their own set of rules, therefore work which others can't understand or actively dislike. Contemporary music for this reason has a bad reputation.

[4] The composer, therefore, is in the same way as an other creator, an 'artist' in the creative sense

 

Topic 3: Artistic Planning

[1] Check to make sure the students have brought the manuscript books, exercise books and example instruments of some kind.

[2] What is artistic planning? Beginning with themes and ideas, a set of goals that result eventually in the creation of a given work of art. The first notes often relate to basic thematic content, such as 'rhythm in space' or 'the political situation in Tibet'.

[3] Whether or not you have your own belief systems or ideas, artistic planning helps you form the basis for compositions, especially large-scale ones.

[4] There are basically two types of plans: structural and thematic. The thematic plan involves the movement between ideas and the art work, thought and compositional process, whereas the structural plan just involves what happens in the composition.

[5] Today I expect a structural plan for your composition assignment 1, each group providing one. Also at the end of semester I expect to see all the stages of the thematic AND structural plans. This piece has to be more thematically complex, needs more input from the student, but at the same time the student can write for anything more than 4 instruments, such as the composition groups.

 

Topic 3: Programme Music

[1] Music can be used to 'tell a story'. It has been used to tell all different kinds of narratives. Explain the difference between textual and musical narratives. Define 'programme music' as it is traditionally understood. This can also be a compostional method, helping to dictate the musical structure, or provide the composer with a set of limitations to his or her creative output.

[2] As examples show 'Story of the Marmot', 'It was Already Thursday.', 'Het Loket', 'From a Gable Window' and 'Early Morning - Creeping and Crawling'.

 

 

 

 


The Music Department

Zhaoqing Municipal University

0402-COM LESSON 4

Occidental Music & Multimedia Composition

Designed by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zachar Laskewicz for students with English as a Foreign Language

 

SUPPORT MATERIAL FOR STUDENTS: "Freedom through Restriction"

Classroom Activity 1

 

Composition Exercise

 

[1] Planning compositions is essentially about placing restrictions on yourself; through these restrictions one is actually provided with more freedom.

 

[2] Write a melody of around 10 bars with the following scale, which consists of only 4 notes. Imagine that you are writing for a solo flute that has only these notes on it, so you have no other choice:

 

[3] Also, you have to use the following rhythmic sequence. In the Renaissance, for example, only certain intervals were allowed in religious music. Imagine that the emperor of the kingdom has decreed that any other rhythmic sequence is evil and cannot be used in composition. The rhythmic pattern is as follows:

 

[4] Remember the following facts:

(i) you don't have to use all the tones all the time;

(ii) you can use up to three octaves above middle C if you want to (but this is not essential);

(iii) the quarter notes (crotchets) in the rhythmic example above can be replace with 2 8th

notes if you wish;

(iv) the minum at the end of the bar can be replaced by a 'dotted crotchet' and an eigth

note (or quaver);

(v) You can use any type of ornamentation as long as the ornamentation uses notes of the

scale.

 

Homework

As homework you can use all sorts of musical symbols to decorate your melody and make it more interesting, such as accents, trills, accelerandos, crescendos etc. You can also add a permanent drone, a moveable drone, percussion instruments, ANTIPHONY and other COMPOSITIONAL METHODS we have discussed, although this is not necessary. This could form the basis for the solo instrument composition.

5-SM-P1/5


 

 

4-SM-P2/5


The Music Department Zhaoqing University

0402-COM SUPPORT MATERIAL FOR STUDENTS: Thematic and Structural Artistic Planning LESSON 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4-SM-P3/5


 

5-P&SM-P3/10

L-012 Occidental Music & Multimedia Composition UNIT 5

SCORE EXAMPLE 1: Core Melody Built Upon Ancient Chinese Song

5-P&SM-P4/10


L-012 Occidental Music & Multimedia Composition UNIT 4

SCORE EXAMPLE 2: New Music by LASKEWICZ using Ancient Chinese Melody &

HOKET technique from the Middle-Ages

L-012 Occidental Music & Multimedia Composition UNIT 5

SCORE EXAMPLE 3: Development of HOKET Melody influenced by Notre Dame School &

Javanese Gamelan

 

5-SM-P6/10


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5-P&SM-P7/10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5-P&SM-P8/10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5-P&SM-P9/10

The Music Department

The Music Department Zhaoqing University

0402-COM SUPPORT MATERIAL FOR STUDENTS: What is Music? LESSON 2

 

Topic 1: Discussion of Reading

[1] Have the students break up into groups and discuss the reading of Macon's article on music (Chapter One).

[2] Come together for questions

 

 

 

 

May 2008 Nachtschimmen Music-Theatre-Language Night Shades, Ghent (Belgium)
Send mail to zachar@nachtschimmen.eu with questions or comments about this website.

Last modified:
6 June, 2008

 

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