Introduction to Musical Composition

Photo of a seated man striking a metal triangle, with microphones.

David Shively, percussionist in the artist-in-residence ensemble Either/Or, performs Alvin Lucier's Silver Streetcar for the Orchestra (a piece for amplified solo triangle) in the MIT Chapel. (Photo courtesy of L. Barry Hetherington. Used with permission.)


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As Taught In

Spring 2014



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Course Description

Course Features

Course Description

Through a progressive series of composition projects, students investigate the sonic organization of musical works and performances, focusing on fundamental questions of unity and variety. Aesthetic issues are considered in the pragmatic context of the instructions that composers provide to achieve a desired musical result, whether these instructions are notated in prose, as graphic images, or in symbolic notation. No formal training is required. Weekly listening, reading, and composition assignments draw on a broad range of musical styles and intellectual traditions, from various cultures and historical periods.

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Related Content

Keeril Makan. 21M.065 Introduction to Musical Composition. Spring 2014. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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