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Music Composition

Students must complete a minimum of 124 units with a Pacific cumulative and program grade point average of 2.0 in order to earn the bachelor of music degree with a major in music composition.

 

 

Bachelor of Music Major in Music Composition

Students must complete a minimum of 124 units with a Pacific cumulative and program grade point average of 2.0 in order to earn the bachelor of music degree with a major in music composition.

I. General Education Requirements

Minimum 30 units and 9 courses, including:

PACS 001What is a Good Society4
PACS 002Topical Seminar on a Good Society4
PACS 003What is an Ethical Life?3


Note: 1) Pacific Seminars cannot be taken for Pass/No Credit. 2) Transfer students with 28 or more transfer units complete 2 additional General Education elective courses from categories I and II not chosen below in place of taking PACS 001 and PACS 002. PACS 003 is required for transfer students.

One course from each subdivision below:

Social and Behavioral Sciences
Two courses from the following:
Arts and Humanities
Two courses from the following:
Natural Sciences and Mathematics


Note: 1) No more than 2 courses from a single discipline may be applied to meet the requirements of the general education program.

II. Diversity Requirement

Students must complete one diversity course (3-4 units)


Note: 1) Transfer students with 28 units or more transfer units prior to fall 2011 are encouraged but not required to complete a designated course prior to graduation. 2) Courses may be used also to meet general education and/or major/minor requirements.

III. Fundamental Skills

Students must demonstrate competence in:

Writing
Quantitative analysis

IV. Major Requirements

MCOM 009Introduction to Music Technology1
MCOM 010Music Theory and Aural Perception I4
MCOM 011Music Theory and Aural Perception II4
MCOM 012Music Theory III: Chromaticism2
MCOM 013Aural Perception III1
MCOM 014Introduction to Orchestration2
MCOM 015Music Theory IV: Twentieth Century2
MCOM 016Aural Perception IV1
MCOM 017Form and Process in Music2
MHIS 006Music of the World's People3
MHIS 011Survey of Music History I3
MHIS 012Survey of Music History II3
One MHIS Elective (150 or above)3
MPER 151Principles of Conducting2
Four of one or a combination of the following courses: *4
Class Piano
Applied Music: Piano
MCOM 019Music and Computer Technology3
MCOM 024Composition (Lower Division, 4 Semesters)8
MCOM 026New Resources in Pitch1
MCOM 027New Resources in Rhythm1
MCOM 108Counterpoint3
MCOM 109Advanced Orchestration3
MCOM 111Advanced Computer Music3
MCOM 113Advanced Analysis3
MCOM 124Composition, Upper-Division (4 Semesters)8
MCOM 126New Performance Techniques1
MCOM 127Music, Sound, and Film1
MCOM 128New Approaches to Form1
MCOM 129Non-Western Composing Techniques1
MCOM 194Composition Senior Recital0
Two Semesters of Major Choral Ensemble **2
Opera Production
The Oriana Choir (Women's Chorus)
University Chorus
Pacific Singers
Eight units from the following courses:8
University Symphony Orchestra
Symphonic Wind Ensemble
Concert Band
Opera Production
The Oriana Choir (Women's Chorus)
University Chorus
Pacific Singers
MAPP 010 Applied Music ***8
MPER 050Solo Class ****0
*

This is not required for piano students.

**

These courses are not required for voice students.

***

Students repeat MAPP 010 in order to have a total of 8 units from this one course.

****

Students take MPER 050 every semester.

An end-of-the-year advisory portfolio review is required of all composition majors. Admission to the upper division is based on a review of the student’s work at the end of the second year.

A senior composition project is required in the senior year.

Music Composition Courses

MCOM 002. Music Fundamentals. 3 Units.

This course is an introduction to the rudiments of music: Pitch, major and minor scales, rhythm, simple and compound meter, key signature, intervals, major, minor, diminished, and augmented chords. The class incorporates two components: theory and ear training. (GE2C)

MCOM 009. Introduction to Music Technology. 1 Unit.

A basic introductory course to the use of computer technology for musicians. The course is divided into modules that cover music notation, MIDI, digital audio workstation, and synthesizer/sampler plugins, multi-track recording and editing, and web design and construction. Discussion cover aspects of copyright, content ownership, and online resources for publishing and music distribution.

MCOM 010. Music Theory and Aural Perception I. 4 Units.

Students study primary concepts of music such as rhythm, meter, pitch, scale degree, triads, seventh chords and their inversions, tonal function, and diatonic chord progression through harmonic expansions that are accomplished through the development of aural and sight singing skills, and the completion of written exercises.

MCOM 011. Music Theory and Aural Perception II. 4 Units.

Students study diatonic and chromatic harmony that cover non-harmonic tones, tonicization, modulation, cadence, phrase structure and simple forms which are accomplished through the development of aural and sight singing skills. Students also complete written exercises, and analyze musical scores. Prerequisite: MCOM 010.

MCOM 012. Music Theory III: Chromaticism. 2 Units.

Students study chromatic harmony and its use through written and analytical exercises that encompass secondary dominants, modulation, borrowed chords, chords of the augmented 6th, the Neapolitan 6th, and extended chromaticism through enharmonic reinterpretation. Prerequisite: MCOM 011. Prerequisites may be taken concurrently: MCOM 013 and MCOM 014.

MCOM 013. Aural Perception III. 1 Unit.

This course trains students in musicianship skills that relate to the chromatic harmony studied in MCOM 012. Topics include the development of expertise through the dictation of 3 part exercises, harmonic progressions, and extended rhythmic lines. Prerequisite: MCOM 011. Prerequisites may be taken concurrently: MCOM 012 and MCOM 014.

MCOM 014. Introduction to Orchestration. 2 Units.

Students are introduced to the fundamentals of orchestration that include characteristics of instruments, transposition and score layout. Orchestral analysis with definition of material in terms of Foreground- Middleground-Background is also studied. Prerequisite: MCOM 011. Prerequisites may be taken concurrently: MCOM 012 and MCOM 014.

MCOM 015. Music Theory IV: Twentieth Century. 2 Units.

Students study twentieth century music through the analysis and composition of a variety of theoretical approaches that include Impressionism, Expressionism, 12-tone composition, the rhythmic developments of Stravinsky, Carter, and Messiaen, durational structures and indeterminancy of John Cage as well as modality and spectral music, minimalism, and computer music. Prerequisites: MCOM 012, MCOM 013 and MCOM 014. Prerequisites, may be taken concurrently: MCOM 016 and MCOM 017.

MCOM 016. Aural Perception IV. 1 Unit.

This course trains students in musicianship skills that relate to the further study of chromatic harmony. Topics include the development of expertise through the diction of 4 part exercises, harmonic progression, and extended rhythmic exercises. Prerequisite: MCOM 012, 013 and 014. Prerequisites may be taken concurrently: MCOM 015 and MCOM 017.

MCOM 017. Form and Process in Music. 2 Units.

Students study how music moves through time. Students explore structural levels from motive to macro-rhythm, components of design, basic forms and concepts of analysis. Prerequisites: MCOM 012, 013 and 014. Prerequisites may be taken concurrently: MCOM 015 and MCOM 016.

MCOM 019. Music and Computer Technology. 3 Units.

This in-depth course of study examines the use of the digital audio workstation Logic Studio Pro as a tool for creative composition. Topics include basic sequencing and MIDI recording, the manipulation of MIDI using the Environment Window, use of digital audio in a MIDI environment, MIDI controller manipulation, sampling and digital synthesis, and plug-in effects and instruments. This project oriented study requires that students complete several compositions during the process of the course. Prerequisite: MCOM 009. (FILM)

MCOM 024. Composition. 2 Units.

Composition involves the writing of original works under the guidance of faculty composers. Non-music majors require permission of instructor.

MCOM 026. New Resources in Pitch. 1 Unit.

Students study the late 20th/early 21st Century pitch organization techniques of Polymodality, Synthetic scales and Clusters, as well as mathematical manipulations, and spectral techniques. Prerequisite: MCOM 012.

MCOM 027. New Resources in Rhythm. 1 Unit.

Students study the late 20th/early 21st Century rhythmic techniques of Rhytmic characters, Time Signature, Multi-layers, Polyrhythm, Metric Modulation and Complex ratio. Prerequisite: MCOM 011.

MCOM 108. Counterpoint. 3 Units.

This course is the study of Palestrina's and Lassus' contrapuntal techniques that are accomplished through written exercises and analysis. Prerequisites: MCOM 010, MCOM 011, MCOM 012, MCOM 013, MCOM 014, MCOM 015, MCOM 016 and MCOM 017.

MCOM 109. Advanced Orchestration. 3 Units.

This course focuses on orchestration techniques from the first half of the 20th Century, and new performance practices. This is accomplished through orchestra analysis and writing exercises that include a reading session with the orchestra. Prerequisites: MCOM 010-017.

MCOM 111. Advanced Computer Music. 3 Units.

This course is taught in the Conservatory Computer Studio for Music Composition, and it focuses on digital synthesis, sampling/sound design, digital audio editing/mixing and a composing environment, live performance with computers, video creation, and intermedia composition. Students develop creative projects with Pro Tools HD, Max/MSP/Jitter, Cecilia/Csound, Final Cut Studio, and other software packages. As a project oriented study students complete several compositions during the process of the course. Prerequisite: MCOM 019 or permission of instructor. (FILM)

MCOM 112. Composition- Computer Music. 2 Units.

Students study private composition in computer music within the Conservatory Computer Studio for Music Composition.

MCOM 113. Advanced Analysis. 3 Units.

Students explore advanced topics in music analysis that includes extensive study of Schenkerian analysis. Prerequisites: MCOM 010-017.

MCOM 124. Composition, Upper-Division. 2 Units.

This course is guided composition for experienced students that leads to the creation of several compositions for instruments and voices. This course may be repeated for credit. The course is for music composition majors, and admission to this upper division course is based on review of students' work at the end of the second year. Prerequisite: MCOM 024 or permission of instructor.

MCOM 126. New Performance Techniques. 1 Unit.

This class focuses on the study of extended acoustical techniques for voice, keyboard, string, woodwinds, brass, and percussion instruments. Specific techniques and appropriate notation are discussed and compositions that utilize these techniques are studied. Prerequisite: MCOM 015.

MCOM 127. Music, Sound, and Film. 1 Unit.

In any visual experience from real-life to commercial cinema to sound/image installation, sound plays a significant role in defining the expressive and relational content of the experience. This course explores the use of sound/music in film and experimental art with an emphasis on understanding the complex role sound plays in our experience. Through readings, film viewing, discussion, and analysis, students delve into the thinking of current sound designers, sound artists, and composers. Prerequisite: MCOM 019. (FILM)

MCOM 128. New Approaches to Form. 1 Unit.

In the 20th Century, composers have found it necessary to explore new formal structures that allow them to unify their compositions at all levels. These approaches vary greatly from technical to conceptual. This course pursues the study of formal approaches to compositional organization with an emphasis on the unique problems each one confronts musically. Prerequisite: MCOM 017.

MCOM 129. Non-Western Composing Techniques. 1 Unit.

This course examines the expansion of melodic, rhythmic, harmonic, and timbral composition techniques through the study of music from the Republic of Central Africa, Japan, India and Bali. Prerequisite: MCOM 015.

MCOM 191. Independent Study. 1-2 Units.

MCOM 194. Composition Senior Recital. 0 Units.

This is a half-recital (+30-45 minutes of music) required for degree completion, organized, managed, and promoted by a Senior composition student, featuring a selection from the works he/she composed during his/her/ tenure in the composition program. Prerequisites: MCOM 124 with a "D" or better. Senior standing.

Technical Knowledge

1. Developing and implementing basic concepts.
2. Controlling new compositional techniques.
3. Producing a new composition from concept to finished product.

Fluency

1. Organizing, conducting, and rehearsing of a new work.
2. Analytical skills.
3. New technologies related to the field.
4. Coherently expressing ideas and concepts in spoken and written languages.

Opportunities

1. To hear fully realized performances of student’s original composition.
2. To go beyond the boundaries of Western music.
3. For experiential learning.

Ability

1. Produce new compositions.
2. Set artistic goals.
3. Solve compositional problems independently.
4. Demonstrate significant technical mastery.