Course Syllabus

Music 209, Fall 2012
Tuesday 2:00-4:50 pm
Music and Media Building, Room 316
University of California, Irvine

Professor Christopher Dobrian
Music and Media 211, x7288

Office hours by appointment.

Course Description:

This is the first trimester of the core first-year seminar required for graduate students in the Integrated Composition, Improvisation, and Technology emphasis of the M.F.A. program in Music. The goal is to develop effective personal technique and methodology in developing new musical work, while establishing a process of creative experimentation.

In this course we will examine both traditional and innovative approaches to structuring works of music, with particular attention to the integration of composition, improvisation, diverse genres, and new technologies. We will study and analyze existing works, and will devise new works to be performed at the end of the quarter.

Work will include analysis of scores and recordings, completion of small composition studies using specific techniques, definition and explication of one's own aesthetic aims, and the composition and rehearsal of at least one substantial new piece for performance.

Course Requirements:



Grading for the course will be based on timely completion of all the course requirements. Since every assignment is considered a vital part of the educational experience of the course, serious and high quality work is expected at all times. Grading will be based on:

  1. Assigned exercises and analyses to learn specific concepts and techniques (25%),
  2. Assigned writings and presentations (25%),
  3. Final chamber music composition project, including score, performance, and recording (40%), and
  4. Productive participation in class discussions, presentations, and rehearsals (10%).

Important Dates:

Thursday, October 18 - Gassmann Electronic Music Series: The Music of Conlon Nancarrow, Winifred Smith Hall, 8:00 pm, free.
Tuesday, November 13 - Gassmann Electronic Music Series: KarmetiK Dream Space, Winifred Smith Hall, 8:00 pm, free.
Saturday, December 1 - Faculty Artist Series: Michael Dessen Trio, Winifred Smith Hall, 8:00 pm, $11 for students.
Tuesday, December 4 - Last class session; Final composition project due.

Final Critique:

The final performance and critique will be held during the final exam week, at a time to be announced. Participation is required.

Regarding Academic Integrity:

Collaboration between students in this course is strongly encouraged. Students are urged to exchange ideas, opinions, and information constantly, and to help each other with the composition and performance of their technical exercises and creative projects. Plagiarism of any kind is in direct violation of University policy on Academic Honesty, and penalties for plagiarism can be severe. In this class you will be expected to attribute due credit to the originator of any ideas, words, or music that you incorporate into your own work.

Christopher Dobrian
September 23, 2012