How a Composer Thinks


Transfer Seminar
University Studies 4 - Fall 2013
University of California, Irvine

Wednesday, 1:00-1:50
Music and Media Building, Room 316

Professor Christopher Dobrian
Music and Media Building, Room 211
(949) 824-7288


This course examines the thought processes involved in music composition. Through discussions with UCI faculty composers and guest composers, and through writings about composition by famous composers past and present, students will learn how composers regard their own creative work.

We all love music, many of us play music, but few of us have insight into how a composer creates a new piece of music. Who better to explain that process than composers themselves? In this seminar we will read and hear firsthand accounts by composers discussing the process of composition. Students will encounter new music and new perspectives on its production from renowned composers past and present. No prior music training is required.




Class time will be more-or-less equally divided between a) composers introducing their own approach to composing and b) sessions of open discussion with students.


Course Requirements

Students should attend each class session having done the assigned work -- readings, listenings, etc. -- and ready to participate actively in discussion.

Each student will be expected to take notes during class in order to participate in the discussion, and to write a brief summary of what they've learned.

Each student will write a very brief (approximately two-paragraph) summary of what they learned in each class session, and will post it on the class MessageBoard by 11:59 pm on the Sunday following each class session.

Each student will write a brief MessageBoard response to another student's summary by 11:59 pm on the Tuesday following each class session.



For additional consultation with the professor, students are welcome to make an appointment for office hours if needed.

Assignments are posted online for the upcoming class session.

Discussion outside of class will take place on the EEE MessageBoard that has been created for this class.

If needed, there is a class email address, which addresses all registered students and the professor.



If you have a disability that inhibits you from performing any of the stated requirements of this course, as approved and documented by the UCI Disability Services Center, please ensure that the professor is thoroughly aware of the matter as early in the term as possible.

Academic Honesty:

Discussion and exchange of ideas between students in this course is strongly encouraged. Students are urged to exchange ideas and opinions in class and via the MessageBoard. However, each student is responsible for completion of his/her own assignments. Plagiarism of any kind is in direct violation of the UCI 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 words of others that you incorporate into your own work.


This page was last modified September 15, 2013.
Christopher Dobrian,