Co-op Press

Emeritus Recordings

A Composer’s Guide to Understanding Music

Table of Contents

I. Unity and Variety
– intended audience – 20th century art music
II. Timbre – how a sound is produced- frequency – duration – homogeneous – heterogeneous
III. Dynamics – relativity of – expressive use of - balance of
IV. Articulation – common articulations – jazz articulations – use of for variety – unmarked notes
V. Symbiotic Relationships Part 1 – unity and variety of components
VI. Meter – mathematical divisions and feel – classifications of time signatures – obscuring meter through syncopation, ties, rests, and hemiola
VII. Rhythm – motifs – repetition – variation
VIII. Overtone Series – definite and indefinite pitch – history of harmony – why
minor sounds sad – spacing
IX. Scale Systems – unity and variety within – relationship to tonality – how composers use scale systems   
X. Melody – melodic shape – motifs – motif development
XI. Counterpoint – types of motion – imitation – counter-melody – consonance
and dissonance
XII. Harmony – chords – chord progressions – harmonic rhythm – non-chord tones
– linear approach to – arpeggiation– polytonality
XIII. Phrases – characteristics of – antecedent and consequent phrases – periods – double periods – phrase groups
XIV. Form – multi-movement works– movements – function of sections –
vernacular music
XV. Inspiration – musical – extra-musical – what comes first is not always the beginning
XVI. Symbiotic Relationships Part II – relationship between the artist and his environment - classicism and romanticism – the art of music - musical metaphor and the listener, interpreter, and composer

Suggested Listening
Suggested Reading
About the Author
List of Recorded Excerpts