Composition Seminar

Course Number: 153/6.0 3S (Course Code Explanation)

Open To: B.Mus. and B.Mus./B.Ed. students, non-B.Mus. students

Area(s): Theory and Composition

Instructor(s): Dr. Robert Rival

Term(s): A, B

Day(s) and Time(s): F: 8.30-10.30

Room: HLH 120

Calendar Description

A study of composition with an emphasis on traditional and 20th-century techniques.

Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s) / Exclusion(s)

  • PREREQUISITE: A minimum grade of 80 per cent in MUSC P52*; or Conservatory Grade II Rudiments first class honours standing and permission of the School.

Additional Information

This course teaches students the basics of music composition with a strong emphasis on creativity and class participation.  The two-hour class is scheduled to meet every Friday afternoon for the entire year but the classes before the Thanksgiving weekend, December Exam Period and Reading Week break will be cancelled with these missing hours being added to the last six classes which will meet for 2.5 hours.  To enroll in this course, students must have taken MUSC-191 (Harmony and Analysis I) or be taking it concurrently with MUSC-153.   If a student is unable to meet the MUSC-191 requirement, special permission can be granted to students who have taken a significant number of conservatory theory examinations by contacting Dr. Robert Rival directly in September.   Only students who meet the MUSC-191 requisite or corequisite requirement may preregister for this course.

The course content is focused around three large assignments: a set of theme and variations for piano or guitar; a song for piano and voice; a free composition for two or more instruments drawn from the performers in the class.   As a novice composer, one of the most efficient ways of learning the craft is to perform your own music.  Students enrolled in this course must be therefore be prepared to perform their theme and variation set on piano or guitar as well as sing their own vocal assignment.  Students are not marked on their performances but are simply given a participation credit every time they perform in class.  Students cannot perform their own “free” composition but are encouraged to play the “free” instrumental composition of other students.  This course gives much credit to taking risks and if you have never sung before but are interested in writing a song, this course gives you a supportive environment in which to spread your voice and soar.

Throughout the year, students are encouraged to see the professor to receive individual assistance.  There are no examinations in this course but there will be a year-end concert for which every student is required to have either their vocal work or “free” instrumental composition performed.  If students want to perform their theme and variation set in public then they will be encouraged to do so on one of the School of Music’s Mosaic Concerts devoted to compositions written by Queen’s faculty and students.