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Composition

COM210
Lyric Writing
2 credits, 2 hours lecture/lab
A course focusing on the various techniques utilized by lyricists including Great American Songbook legends Lorenz Hart, Cole Porter and Howard Dietz; vocalese wordsmiths Jon Hendricks, Annie Ross, Kurt Elling and King Pleasure; and popular songwriters Joni Mitchell and Sting. Students build a repertoire of original lyrics set to select instrumental works as well as their own compositions. Open to vocalists and instrumentalists.

COM300
Jazz Composition
3 credits, 3 hours lecture/lab
A concentrated writing course utilizing the compositional styles and techniques of the master composers as a point of departure in creating new work. Composers studied include Ellington, Parker, Silver, Mingus, Monk, Coltrane, Hancock, Henderson, Shorter, Brecker, Liebman, Grolnick, Pastorius, Towner and more. Melodic, harmonic and rhythmic techniques employed in the music of Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Debussy and other relevant past masters are also examined and applied to students’ work.

COM400
Jazz Composition Seminar
Elective — 3 credits, 3 hours lecture/lab
A continuation of COM300. A seminar addressing advanced composition techniques and their practical application in performance. Prerequisites: COM300 or consent
of instructor.

COM301A
Jazz Arranging — Small Ensemble
3 credits, 3 hours lecture/lab
A one-semester introductory course on basic jazz arranging techniques for the small ensemble. Students learn ranges and characteristics of instru- ments, rules for notating rhythm, how to lay out a score, how to write for the rhythm section, how to compose melodies and chord progressions, how to set a melody to chords, how to voice chorale-style chords, how to harmonize a moving melodic line with two to five voices, and various ways of addressing form. Students are assigned three to five arranging projects. The final project is an arrangement for five horns and rhythm section that is recorded. Required texts: Jazz Arranging and Composing a Linear Approach, by Bill Dobbins.

COM301B
Jazz Arranging — Large Ensemble
Elective — 3 credits, 3 hours lecture/lab
A one-semester introductory course on basic jazz arranging techniques for the large ensemble. Students review ranges and characteristics of instruments, rules for notating rhythm, how to lay out a score, how to voice chorale-style chords, and how to harmonize a moving melodic line with five voices. Through analysis of works by the masters from Duke Ellington to Maria Schneider, students also explore different techniques for large scale development of form, chord voicings for more than five horns and large ensemble texture and orches- tration techniques. Required text: Inside the Score, by Rayburn Wright. Students are assigned three arranging projects. All assignments must be completed on a program such as Finale or Sibelius. The final project is an arrangement for full big band. Prerequisite: COM301A or consent of instructor.

COM380
Counterpoint
Elective — 2 credits, 2 hours lecture/lab
Contrapuntal techniques and styles of seven- teenth- and eighteenth-century instrumental and vocal music, providing a solid foundation for voice leading. Includes the writing of cantus firmus, two- and three-part species counterpoint, and combined species in three voices, in major and minor modes. Analysis of a range of important contrapuntal work including the canons, inventions and fugues of J.S. Bach.

 

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