Composition techniques: advanced

Course Dates: 15/01/19 - 26/03/19
Time: 10:30 - 12:45
Location: KS - Keeley Street
Tutor: Edward Henderson

Develop your skills in composing. Analyse selected techniques and apply them to your own composition practice. Good music theory knowledge needed (grade 5 minimum). Mid-term break 19th February.


What is the course about?

This term will focus on rhythm and making a musical line. This course is based on the analysis of composition techniques and listening and analysis of contemporary and experimental repertoire. You will be encouraged to try out different techniques and incorporate them into your existing composition practice.

What will we cover?

- fundamental principles of temporal organisation e.g. difference and relationship between metre & rhythm
- writing in regular and irregular metre, and without metre
- fundamental principles of melody writing: shape and direction, structure and coherence
writing a line:
- writing in a variety of pitch organisation systems: tonal, modal and atonal
- relationships between rhythm and melody.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- understand fundamental principles of rhythm and line
- apply these principles in exercises to practise a variety of methods of temporal organisation (regular / irregular metred rhythm, ametrical rhythm) and pitch organisation (tonal, modal, atonal)
- understand the effect of different types of temporal and pitch organisation
- make informed aesthetic choices about temporal and pitch organisation in your own composition.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

You need good knowledge of music theory, including harmony, and fluent music reading and notation skills, as well as experience on an instrument or voice. Composers who use Logic, Ableton, Sibelius, MAX/MSP or pencil are accepted.

Please note: this course is for people who make music already and want to explore new things. It is suitable for students preparing to study composition at conservatoire level in future and for those wish simply wish to develop their skills and enjoy participating in a regular composition workshop.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

- group discussion and feedback
- guided analytical listening, score study, discussion and playing/singing of examples
- class and individual exercises in writing using the techniques studied
- playing / singing of exercises
- playing through and critiquing student exercises and compositions
- presenting your compositions/exercises to the group in performance or via recording/Sibelius files etc….

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

Manuscript paper, pencil and eraser. Other musical materials will be supplied by the tutor.
You may need to bring your instrument to class to play the exercises and compositions.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Composition Techniques runs every term, and different topics are studied in each course.
You may also be interested in songwriting courses, music theory or practical musicianship (ear training, sight-singing, Kodaly, Dalcroze etc.)

You may also be interested in our wide range of music appreciation courses, covering all periods and styles of Western music from Medieval to modern.

General information and advice on courses at Build is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details


Book your place

Course Code: MG854B

Please choose a course date 

Tue, day, 15 Jan - 26 Mar '19

Duration: 10 sessions (over 11 weeks)

Full fee: £229.00
Senior fee: £183.00
Concession: £140.00

Or call to enrol: 222-66-889-99

Download form & post

Any questions? [email protected]
or call 020 7492 2630

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Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online . You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.