Fundamentals of Musical Composition – by Arnold Schoenberg (PDF – 32MB) Alan Belkin – Una Guia Practica de Composicion Alan Belkin, 1. Introduction. This little workbook is supplied in response to a pedagogical need. Students of musical. composition need. musical “La Bella y la Bestia” de Alan Menken o “La Bella durmiente” de . Banter () es otra guía importante acerca de la notación de acordes. se centran en el campo comercial y Belkin () realiza un análisis comparativo de varios ritmos de composición musical y el sistema ScEX; Cataldi (), Simons.

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Alan Belkin – A Workbook for Elementary Tonal

Published on Oct View 66 Download Students of musical composition need guidance in making the transition from harmony, counterpoint, and orchestration courses into actual composing. Even though the exercises given here are in a fairly simple tonal style, the techniques used are basic to all composition. Also, many composition students today are interested in film music, and a solid grounding in tonal composition is an absolute prerequisite for that domain.

The exercises are based on a course I gave some years ago at the University of Montreal, called, simply, Tonal Composition. The first half of that course more or less corresponding to the material given here took one semester. In the second semester students went on to write in simple model tonal forms.

Needless to say, doing these exercises will not make one a composer, but experience shows that without these skills, much time will be wasted later in remedial work. Also, real talent is usually obvious even at this level. One novelty, which I have never seen elsewhere, sets this workbook apart from others currently available: I furnish exercises in writing transitions. Not only are transitions essential to any substantial musical forms; the skills involved in writing them are basic to all musical composition.

This workbook is not a substitute for a textbook in basic tonal composition, but a complement to it. My own series of online textbooks can be found online, free, at: Here is the table of contents for my book on musical form.

The book can be found at: Note that I do not mean analysis of tonal harmony but, actual writing of music. Analysis can be useful, but it is no substitute for actual practice.

Alan Belkin – A Workbook for Elementary Tonal

At musival a semester of introduction to the basics of writing for instruments will also be very useful. All belki must be written with real voices and instruments in mind. All necessary performance indications tempo, dynamics, articulation, etc. Exercises must be heard!


Aim for idiomatic writing for instruments. Review of Elementary Harmony A 2 exercises harmonise for 4 part choir, in keeping with the given beginning: Motives 4 exercises For each exercise, continue the accompaniment to the end of the phrase, using the same motive.

In these exercises, aim for: A motive is a short, memorable pattern, which is repeated and varied. Such patterns create associative richness. Motives stimulate the memory, and thus can be used to create connections going beyond simple short term continuity.

Conversely, introducing a characteristic motive and then ignoring it usually creates distraction and weakens the overall effect. Dissonance formulas, apart from the most basic ones passing and neighbour notes in neutral rhythmin effect create motives, requiring continuation. However one distinction I have found useful is between “close” and “distant” variants of a motive.

The frequent repetition undergone by most motives requires more or less continual variation to maintain interest.

The key point is whether an attentive listener is more struck by the novelty of a given motivic transformation or the association with the original. Certain motivic variants, for example retrograde, augmentation and diminution, often upset the rhythmic flow; they may be easy to seize visually, but when heard are often quite dissimilar to the original form.

The Construction of a Phrase For more detailed information on the following forms, please the glossary in my book on musical form, at: Add figures to the bass line. Determine the harmonic implications of the bass line; Analyse the use of dissonance in the given motive; In the melody, find the richest note which corresponds to each change of harmony and incorporate the motive s around it.

A single phrase demonstrates in a microcosm all the basic elements of a musical design. A phrase must have a beginning that provokes interest; it must develop coherently, inviting increasing involvement on the part of the listener, and it must supply a sense of resolution at its end.

The degree of finality implicit in its punctuation will depend on the phrase’s position in the whole piece. Compose three phrases, following the harmonic schemes given below: You may use inversions of the given chords. Grouping Phrases A the Period 3 exercises Continue the given beginning to an open cadence as indicated; then add a second, consequent phrase, based on the same material, finishing with a closed cadence, to form a period structure. Only a figured bass is required in addition to the melody.

A period contains two phrases, in a question and answer relationship. This relationship largely results from the cadences: The listener hears the second phrase in the light of the first, and the antecedent-consequent relationship is evident at least at the start and at the end of the second phrase. As in a single phrase, over the whole period the listener should be drawn in quickly, experience a gradual intensification, and feel closure at the end.


B the Double Period 4 exercises Bring the given opening to a half cadence, or else to a full cadence in a closely related key. Add three more phrases to make a double period: The final cadence should clearly be the strongest of all.

Add a figured bass to clarify the harmony. However the tension is prolonged over four phrases. The three internal cadences are subordinate to the final cadence, which provides a proportionately stronger release.

Because the structure is composkcion and alxn memory, a double period is especially useful for presenting new material; it is more often found in exposition than in development.

Transitions 3 exercises For more detailed information on transitions, please the following chapters in my book on musical form: Smoothly connect each of the 1st ideas represented by the first two bars to the 2nd idea on the same system. The transition may be any reasonable length; it is not limited to one bar. You may develop the ideas to be joined at more length as well, if desired.

The difficulty of making a convincing transition lies in balancing the number of things which change and the amount of time available. Depending on where the transition appears in the form, it may need to happen quickly, or there may be quite a lot of time available. In either case, the goal is to prepare the new idea convincingly, camouflaging the joint.

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