Composing with the Masters -

Composing with the Masters

Length:  25 weeks
Content-type: Text-based
Age/Grade: 8th – 12th Grades
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How to Use This Course

Composing with the Masters is an advanced music course designed to help students recognize elements in compositions from various masters and begin to incorporate them into their own musical compositions. Composers from medieval through modern times are studied.

Course Introduction

The emphasis in this course is not on song writing in the popular sense, but on creating what some call “art” music. Composing is greatly enhanced when the writer has at least a basic understanding of music theory, and it is strongly suggested that students work through our Music Theory courses before taking Composing with the Masters.

The composers in these lessons were chosen based on two criteria: 1) one whose work ushered in changes to music or 2) one whose work epitomizes a particular style. The course provides a little background for each composer, but students should consult lessons or articles about music history for more in-depth information. This list is necessarily arbitrary, and there are many fine composers who could have been included.

The course instructor is happy to critique students’ compositions. Please see the course introduction in the lesson download for more information.

Medieval Music (c. 1150–c. 1450)

  • Lesson One A: Sacred-Plainsong (Gregorian chant), Hildegard von Bingen (1058–1179), Leonin (1150–1201), Perotin (1160–1230)
  • Lesson One B: Secular-Troubador, Trouvere, Minnesinger

Renaissance Music (c. 1450–c. 1600)

  • Lesson Two: Josquin Desprez (1440? –1521)
  • Lesson Three: Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1525? –1594)
  • Lesson Four: Claudio Monteverdi (1567–1643)

Baroque Music (c. 1600–c. 1750)

  • Lesson Five: Antonio Vivaldi (1678–1741)
  • Lesson Six: Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750)
  • Lesson Seven: George Frederic Handel (1685–1759)

Classical Music (c. 1750–c. 1820)

  • Lesson Eight: Franz Joseph Haydn (1732–1809)
  • Lesson Nine: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791)
  • Lesson Ten: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827)

Romantic Music (c. 1820–c. 1915)

  • Lesson Eleven: Franz Liszt (1811–1866)
  • Lesson Twelve: Richard Wagner (1813–1833)
  • Lesson Thirteen: Johannes Brahms (1833–1897)
  • Lesson Fourteen: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840–1893)

Modern Music (c. 1915–present)

  • Lesson Fifteen: Claude Achille Debussy (1862–1918)
  • Lesson Sixteen: Scott Joplin (1868–1917)
  • Lesson Seventeen: Igor Stravinsky (1882–1971)
  • Lesson Eighteen: George Gershwin (1898–1937)

Upon successful completion of all 18 lessons and their corresponding projects, your child will earn the equivalent of 0.5-1.0 credits of a high school music course.

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