Composition 1: From the Cantus to the Choir


Topics for this course

Introduces the student to the goals of this course

  • Intro
  • Introduction Quiz

The first Mode – the Medieval Dorian Mode
This is the first mode used by Medieval composers. In this lesson we will look at this foundational mode/scale.

  • The Medieval Dorian Mode

Writing our first Cantus Firmus
We begin to learn the rules of the road for writing a Cantus We will learn and practice writing in the following "feels" or modes: Minor mode Major Mode

Writing our First-Species Counterpoint
We will define, discuss, and practice writing First-Species Counterpoint

Adding the Remaining Two Voices Part 1 (Old School)
We have our Cantus. We have our Counterpoint. Now I will show you a Medieval-ish approach and a more modern chordal approach.

Adding the Remaining Two Voices Part 2- a more Modern Chordal approach
together, the Cantus and the Counterpoint suggest chords we might use in harmonizing the composition. In this lesson, I will show you how I accomplish this to give my piece a more modern sound.

Moving on from Whole notes “Connecting the Dots”
In this lesson we will do an exercise I call "Connecting the Dots". We will listen to examples from different composers of these techniques. We will employ these techniques in our own compositions.

We review and take a quiz covering topics 1 through 4

  • Sample Quiz

Modifying the Cantus in accordance to the Lyric
We will discuss and practice modifying the Cantus to match a given lyric. We will select a Lyric (or write our own) and lay the foundation for our Final Exam.

Writing in the basic “Chorale” style” based on a Cantus previously composed
1. Polyphonic style 2. More Modern chordal approach

Expression… “Polishing our compositions”
Composition is more than just notes. Things get louder, things get softer, things get slower, things go faster. We will start discussing the various ways we can get our music to "emote" using dynamic, tempo, and expression terms.

Our Final exam
The student will present an original composition as a completed Musescore document. The student and the instructor will have a Zoom call to listen to and discuss the student's work.

Conclusion: Where do we go from here?
The instructor will discuss his work-flow process to take an original composition and prepare it for listening via Logic Pro X (Apple), and/or a virtual choir.

Transforming the Cantus to a Chorale
Taking the Cantus we wrote, we add text and we harmonize.

About the instructors

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