Composing With Years 7-12

Subject 740-549 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2009.

Time Commitment: Total Time Commitment: 48 hours in total (including non-contact time).
Prerequisites: None.
Corequisites: None.
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements: It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability will impact on meeting the requirements of this course are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and the Disability Liaison Unit.


Faculty of Music

Phone: +61 3 8344 5256

Fax: +61 3 8344 5346

Online enquiry:

Subject Overview:

This subject will be delivered using an historical approach to composition in conjunction with contemporary compositional practices appropriate to the needs of secondary school students. The course will be based on detailed analysis of primary sources, examples of music chosen from existing repertoire, which will be issued well before the course begins.

From the exemplars in the reading pack, teachers can expect to examine the following practical aspects of composition:

(i) writing a single line for voice - non metrical and metrical;

(ii) writing a single line for instrument - non-metrical and metrical;

(iii) two-part counterpoint for voices and instrument – non-metrical and metrical;

(iv) three-part style [as for (iii)];

(v) accompaniment style – instrumental and vocal;

(vi) writing for groups of instruments up to and including septets, using combinations of string, wind, brass and percussion instruments.

The pitch and harmonic vocabulary teachers will examine historically, in conjunction with associated rhythmic techniques will include:

(i) church modes; rhythmic modes;

(ii) diatonic major and minor scales, pentatonic scales, gypsy scales, blues scales; dodecaphonic structures;

(iii) functional harmony including all chromatic concords and discords with modulations to related and non-related keys;

(iv) non-functional harmony; modes of limited transposition; valuer ajoutée; octatonic scales; non-octavating scales.

The formal aspects of composition will involve an historical survey of musical forms including but not limited to:

(i) plainchant; organum; secular song (unison and parts); canzonet; motet; madrigal;

(ii) monody; canon; fugue; ground bass; chaconne; recitative (accompagnato and secco); aria (da capo); trio sonata;

(iii) the dance suite; binary; ternary; rondo;

(iv) sonata principle; extended sonata concepts;

(v) instrumental styles in the 19 th century;

(vi) current stylistic practices.

This subject can be taken as a single subject via the Community Access Program, or for credit towards the Master of Music Studies degree. Application forms are available via the Faculty of Music website:

Objectives: This subject aims to provide practising music educators with:
  • Techniques and skills for teaching composition to high school students;
  • An acquaintance with the range of musical styles available for composition which can be used as models;
  • Opportunities for students to complete examples of work which demonstrate an understanding of the concepts;
  • Access to resources which can be used in classrooms as teaching models;
  • The necessary attributes which might lead them to teach this aspect of music confidently, enthusiastically and with conviction.

Four short compositional works (15% each), to be performed on the final day of classes; Attendance and participation in practical activities during classes (40%).

Prescribed Texts:

A reading pack with relevant musical examples will be made available prior to the first class.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills: On completion of this subject, students will have aquired the skills necessary for teaching composition to secondary school students.
Related Course(s): Master of Music Studies by Coursework

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