Get On Track - new tools for composition and improvisation

Course description
Why wait for the moment of inspiration while composing? In this class we will explore specific strategies and techniques to guide our composition and improvisation. Also highly recommended for drummers, since there will be a lot of exploration in the field of proportion and multi-speed.

Circles: two or more elements of different lengths create a cycle when played at the same speed. This process can be notated easily by using a circle as basic shape for the composition.

Aleatoric music: roll the dices to get on track! Create a random decision maker (for example a dice or software to create random outcome) and define a set of rules to create a structure based on the information given by this stochastic process.

Symmetry: there can be symmetry in any element of music, but we will focus on the use of symmetry in melody, harmony and rhythm.

Proportion (the relation between one element and another element): rhythm, melody, and harmony can be represented by numbers. We use these numbers to explore the proportion and (the other way around) we explore the proportion between numbers to define rhythm, melody and harmony.

Graphic notation: using graphic notation to represent ideas that would be tough to catch in traditional notation.

Compositions of among others French composer and drummer Toma Gouband and by Harmen Fraanje will be analysed and serve as examples.

Method of instruction
Group lessons. Weekly assignments (composition and improvisation) based on the techniques and ideas discussed in class. Topics: circles, aleatoric music, symmetry, proportion, direction, graphic notation. The material composed will be analysed and discussed, and the compositions and improvisation exercises will be played by the students in class.

Course details

teacher Harmen Fraanje
term September-December
room 644
assessment assessment based on weekly attendance, composition assignments and live performance
credits 5