College of Fine Arts and Communication


Department of Music

Composition Concentration

Degree and Recital Information

Composition Concentration Requirements (83 units)

 

MUSA xxx Private lessons in a single medium (6)
MUSA xxx Ensembles—Students should register for a diversity of size and style in ensembles with a minimum of two different ensembles. The choice and availability of ensembles will depend on the particular performance area and level of each student. (7)
MUSA 100 Private Composition lessons (4)
MUSA 190 Piano Class I (1)
MUSA 191 Piano Class II (1)
MUSA 200 Private Composition lessons (4)
MUSA 290 Piano Class III (1)
MUSA 300 Private Composition lessons (4)
MUSA 400 Private Composition lessons (4)
MUSA 499 Senior Recital (1)
MUSC 131 Theory I (2)
MUSC 132  Theory II (2)
MUSC 133 Musicianship I (2)
MUSC 134 Musicianship II (2)
MUSC 201 Music in the U.S.; Analytic Emphasis (3)
MUSC 231 Theory III (2)
MUSC 232 Theory IV (2)
MUSC 233 Musicianship III (2)
MUSC 234 Musicianship IV (2)
MUSC 281 Recording Techniques I (3)
MUSC 301 Western Music to 1750 (3)
MUSC 302 Western Music from 1750–1914 (3)
MUSC 327  Choral Conducting (3)
or  
MUSC 329 Instrumental Conducting (3)
MUSC 335 Choral and Instrumental Arranging (3)
MUSC 405 Western Music from 1914 to the Present (3)
MUSC 414 Counterpoint (3)
MUSC xxx

Upper-division MUSC electives (9)

MUSC 493 Independent Research in Music may be taken for a maximum of 3 elective units only by successful petition to the department chairperson.


Composition-Specific Courses and Recital Requirements

MUSA 200 Composition Lessons (Sophomore Level)


Description of the course
Composition lessons at the sophomore (200) level will address the treatment of basic compositional technique and the composition of short pieces of original music. Focus will be on the development of notational skill, conceptual and compositional methods, and use of media with an emphasis on contemporary idioms and harmonic language. Students will work with vocal and instrumental writing and will develop clear and accurate music manuscript. At the conclusion of each semester the student is expected to have completed a body of musical excerpts that represent his or her progress during the semester.


Students are encouraged to organize and produce readings, recordings and performances of their work during each semester. If the student has an appropriate composition completed by the end of the semester, the student is encouraged to program the work on the composers joint recital programs during the Fall or Spring semester. These performed works will assist in the Upper-divisional jury at the end of the sophomore year.


A composition seminar will meet once per week. The seminar offers the student an opportunity to listen to new works, engage with peers and faculty, and discuss important issues of contemporary music and composition. Prepared attendance at every weekly seminar is required.

Assignments and Grading
Attendance at all weekly lessons is required. Each student is expected to complete all specified weekly assignments and creative projects and be prepared to discuss his/her work at each lesson. For each hour of registered credit the student is expected to work independently for at least five hours per week. Evaluation and grading will be based on the student's preparation for lessons as well as consistent growth of skills and conceptual development evident in each week's work. Attendance and participation at the required weekly seminar will be considered as part of the student's semester grade. A mid-semester grade report will be given to each student to inform him/her of the evaluation of his or her work.

Requirements for entry into the upper-division level:
A student may advance to the upper-division level by presenting, to a faculty jury, a portfolio of compositions written while working at the lower-division level. During the jury a performance or recording of at least one work contained in the portfolio should be presented by the student. Also during the jury the student will be expected to answer questions about his or her lower-division level compositional work.


In conjunction with the jury presentation the student's work in theory and musicianship courses will be taken into consideration. A student will only progress to the upper-division level if work in theory and musicianship courses is of high quality (usually reflected by A or B grades in those classes).

Form to submit: COMPOSITION UPPER-DIVISIONAL JURY REQUEST FORM
Submit to: Primary composition teacher
Deadline: no later than two weeks before final exams begin during the second semester of composition lessons.


Policy on Makeup Lessons
Students may make up a lesson missed due to lack of preparation or unforeseen conflicts at the discretion of the instructor provided that the student notifies the instructor at least 24 hours in advance if a lesson is to be missed. An un-excused missed lesson will result in a lower grade for the semester.

MUSA 300 Composition Lessons (Junior level)


Description of the course
Composition lessons at the junior (300) level will address the composition of original musical excerpts and short pieces. Focus will be on the development of compositional methods and media with an emphasis on the development of musical line, formal structure, and harmonic language. Students will work with simple vocal and instrumental combinations and will work to develop skills for clear and accurate music manuscript and computer notation applications. At the conclusion of each semester the student is expected to have completed at least one substantial work of 3-6 minutes duration.


Students are encouraged to organize and produce performances of their works on the composers joint recital programs during the Fall or Spring semester of their junior year.
A composition seminar will meet once per week. The seminar offers the student an opportunity to listen to new works, engage with peers and faculty, and discuss important issues of contemporary music and composition. Prepared attendance is required at all weekly seminars.

Assignments and Grading
Attendance at all weekly lessons is required. Each student is expected to complete all specified weekly assignments and creative projects and be prepared to discuss his/her work at each lesson. For each hour of registered credit the student is expected to work independently for at least five hours per week. Evaluation and grading will be based on the student's preparation for lessons as well as consistent growth of skills and conceptual development evident in each week's work. Attendance and participation at the required weekly seminar will be considered as part of the student's semester grade. A mid-semester grade report will be given to each student to inform him/her of the evaluation of his or her work.


Policy on Makeup Lessons
Students may make up a lesson missed due to lack of preparation or unforeseen conflicts at the discretion of the instructor provided that the student notifies the instructor at least 24 hours in advance if a lesson is to be missed. An un-excused missed lesson will result in a lower grade for the semester.

MUSA 400 Composition Lessons (Senior level)

Description of the course
Composition lessons at the senior (400) level will address the composition of original musical works completing the student's portfolio and preparing for the senior composition recital. Focus will be on the development of moderate to large?scale chamber works addressing issues of instrumental and vocal combination, formal design, and mature expression. Students will continue to develop their notational skills using manuscript and computer notation applications. At the conclusion of each semester, the student is expected to have completed at least one substantial work of 4-8 minutes duration. By the end of the senior year the student will have completed the required portfolio of 4-6 original compositions and will present a recital of original music.


While the primary focus of the senior year is on preparing for the composition recital, students are encouraged to organize and produce performances of their works on the composers joint recital programs during the Fall or Spring semester.


A composition seminar will meet once per week. The seminar offers the student an opportunity to listen to new works, engage with peers and faculty, and discuss important issues of contemporary music and composition. Prepared attendance is required at each weekly seminar.

Assignments and Grading
Attendance at all weekly lessons is required. Each student is expected to complete all specified weekly assignments and creative projects and be prepared to discuss his/her work at each lesson. For each hour of registered credit the student is expected to work independently for at least five hours per week. Evaluation and grading will be based on the student's preparation for lessons as well as consistent growth of skills and conceptual development evident in each week's work. Attendance and participation at the required weekly seminar will be considered as part of the student's semester grade. A mid-semester grade report will be given to each student to inform him/her of the evaluation of his or her work.

Senior recital requirements
Each composition major is required to present a recital of his or her works composed while pursuing the degree at Towson University. The total performance time of the music on the senior recital shall be no less than 20 minutes duration. The program of the senior recital should be primarily drawn from works that will make up the student's senior portfolio. The program for the recital is subject to approval by the composition faculty. The recital will be evaluated on musical excellence and organizational skill as evident in the student's ability to compose the music, find performers, organize rehearsals, and present the recital.

No later than eight weeks prior to the expected senior recital date, the student must formally apply to present a composition recital. The process involves selecting the works to be programmed, completing the COMPOSITION APPROVAL FOR RECITAL form, making photocopies of the scores, all performance parts, all media files, and all completed software, and turning in these materials to the student's main composition teacher. The proposal is reviewed by the composition faculty and the student will receive a written response indicating if the proposed recital is to be presented. This process works in lieu of the recital jury that precedes performance recitals and assures that the student is prepared to offer a composition degree recital.

Form to submit along with proposal materials:
COMPOSITION APPROVAL FOR RECITAL FORM
Submit to: Primary composition teacher
Deadline: no later than 8 weeks prior to the proposed recital date.

Senior portfolio requirements
At the completion of the last semester of 400-level composition lessons, each student will present a portfolio of at least four compositions completed during work toward the Bachelor of Music degree. The senior portfolio is to be of the highest quality in artistic merit and presentation and contain scores and recorded performances. The department will keep these portfolios. The senior portfolio should demonstrate compositional proficiency with works for a variety of media. The selection of works that make up the portfolio is subject to approval by the composition faculty.


The senior portfolio should demonstrate compositional proficiency with works for a variety of media. The requirements for portfolio presentation should be discussed with the composition teacher. Each work should be carefully notated, photo-copied back-to-back, and spiral bound with a title page, information page(s) and front and back cover stock. Recordings should be submitted on CD-R with all appropriate information clearly presented on the label. In addition to the hard copy items in the portfolio, it is also required that the portfolio be turned in as a CD-ROM with all score files in both Finale and pdf format and with a web page that links to streaming audio files, to pdf files of scores, and to program notes for each work.


Form to submit along with portfolio materials:
COMPOSITION PORTFOLIO ACCEPTANCE FORM
Submit to: Primary composition teacher
Deadline: no later than the last day of classes during the student's final semester prior to graduating.
Other requirements for graduation are detailed in the Towson University Undergraduate Catalog and student handbook.


Policy on Makeup Lessons
Students may make up a lesson missed due to lack of preparation or unforeseen conflicts at the discretion of the instructor provided that the student notifies the instructor at least 24 hours in advance if a lesson is to be missed. An un-excused missed lesson will result in a lower grade for the semester.

Composition Seminar

The composition seminar meets weekly offering students an opportunity to listen to new works, engage with peers and faculty, and discuss important issues of contemporary music and composition. Prepared attendance at every weekly seminar is required.


Recent topics we have engaged:
Discussion of the relationship between improvisation and composition
Discussion of Cox and Warner, Audio Culture
Discussion of Miranda and Wanderley, New Digital Musical Instrument
Discussion of Roger Reynolds, Form and Method
Discussion of Trevor Wishart, On Sonic Art
Discussion of Bob Snyder, Music and Memory: An Introduction
Discussion of contemporary music notation and means of communicating with performers
Discussion of analytical approaches to pitch control across the 19th and 20th centuries
Discussion of current approaches to live interactive processing in concert settings
Discussion of improvisation, open form, and composition in contemporary music
Discussion of technologies in combination to support composition and performance

Contact Us

\We are happy to discuss our program with you on the phone, in person or via email. For questions about the composition degree program contact Professor William Kleinsasser via email wkleinsasser@towson.edu or phone (410)-704-2817

Department of Music
Center for the Arts, Room # 3095 (map)
Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Phone: 410-704-2839
Fax: 410-704-2841

 


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