learning composition

Posted by: eboats

learning composition - 12/19/12 11:05 AM

hello, i have a background in classical and jazz piano, as well as composing music in more of a pop/rock vein. i'd like to learn more about classical composition, especially 20th century/contemporary classical theory and composition. any idea what books would be good to start with or whether it'd be beneficial to find a composition teacher? thanks.
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: learning composition - 12/19/12 02:23 PM

There is one book I can recommend as far as composition is concerned. This one: http://www.amazon.com/Twentieth-Century-...century+harmony

And there's also this: http://www.amazon.com/Materials-Techniqu...century+harmony which I haven't read, but appears to also be very good (and will order it once I finish this post from the US... It'll take a while to get here, but what the heck... It's Christmas, I deserve a present).

In my teachings as a composer I use the first book, extensively. Its break down of various subjects in harmony, cover a lot of ground!

I would think that getting a teacher would be the best approach, though. Composition is a very open subject and one can get lost without some guidance (without this meaning that the student should follow aesthetically his/her teacher).

Best of luck!
Posted by: Sean Montgomery

Re: learning composition - 12/19/12 02:40 PM

Hi there - I can also recommend this one:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Musical-Composition-Reginald-Smith-Brindle/dp/0193171074

Not too heavy - looks at the core stuff including the importance of melody and how to construct it - lots of musical examples given. I agree - a teacher is a good idea - you could consider doing this by mail / email? Various 20th Century composers have written about their own styles - a really good one is Messiaen's book on his own style - difficult to track down and expensive when you do but a fascinating insight into his style. Hindemith also wrote a more general book on composition but is written with his neo-classical style in mind.

Sean
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: learning composition - 12/19/12 02:58 PM

If you want more info about lessons via the internet, I've done the email thing and it doesn't fully work... (the lack of schedule is too much for most students). skype lessons, on the other hand, work just fine! wink
Posted by: eboats

Re: learning composition - 12/21/12 03:52 PM

Thanks for the info guys! I'll check out those books you recommended. I'll think about the Skype lessons. I'm in the Seattle, WA area - any idea how to go about finding a composition teacher here (live in-person)? As I said I'd like to eventually focus on contemporary classical composition but understand I'd probably need to start with more traditional composition theory.

I'm a little puzzled by where to start with contemporary classical, lots if "isms" and alternatives/extensions to basic tonality that I'm interested in but would like to explore it in a structured way if that makes sense.
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: learning composition - 12/21/12 07:37 PM

eboats: You could search your local universities, colleges and conservatories. Seattle is huge, so there's bound to be some place...
Posted by: LoPresti

Re: learning composition - 12/29/12 01:36 AM

Originally Posted By: eboats
I'm a little puzzled by where to start with contemporary classical, lots if "isms" and alternatives/extensions to basic tonality that I'm interested in but would like to explore it in a structured way if that makes sense.

What composers' scores are you currently studying? (Hint!)

Ed
Posted by: LoPresti

learning composition - 12/30/12 04:56 PM

To what works, by recognized composers, are you currently listening? (Hint #2!)