Composition Notebook: Introduction

It’s been a couple of months now — time to give this blog some kind of purpose.

When I signed up for my Music Theory class last summer, I knew I wanted a few basic things out of it: to improve my sight singing; to do some formal interval and dictation training; and to gain a better understanding of the structure of the music I’ve been singing.

Now, after two quarters, I’ve found that: sight singing is coming along nicely (though I really hate Solfège); interval training is kicking my rear (dictation is going ok); and, as it turns out, I am totally loving the study and analysis of music structure.

This naturally led me to seriously consider composing something of my own.

As the class advanced through melodic and harmonic analysis, I felt like I was quickly gaining just enough knowledge to be dangerous. In November at church we received a unison hymn with chords and I thought, Surely I can harmonize this.

I know very well that I still have a lot yet to learn. But if there’s one thing I discovered when teaching myself programming, it’s that diving in and doing something is the best way to work through it and force yourself to fill in the gaps in whatever way you can.

Thus, I set myself a goal of doing some sort of composition each month. It’s March now, but I started on this back in December. And with a few months under my belt, I’m feeling like this is actually an achievable goal.

Beyond just writing the music, I also feel like the process of working through it afterwards (a “postmortem” of sorts) is valuable to reinforcing my education. So in addition to producing a composition each month, I intend to write about it as well on this blog.

Depending on the particulars and how well I think it turned out, I may or may not share fine details. But I think it will be instructive to at least talk it through. Expect a few “catch up” posts to cover December through February, followed by hopefully monthly musings on my latest attempts.

Thanks for listening!