Music 150 - Winter 2015
University of California, Irvine





Tuesday and Thursday, 2:00-3:20
Music and Media Building, Room 316

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


This course examines significant developments in Western classical music composition in the last 100 years. Students explore compositional ideas and techniques through study and analysis of seminal modern works and through hands-on experience composing études played by fellow student performers.

Prerequisite: Music 16C or consent of instructor.


Perception, Cognition, and Aesthetics

Styles and Techniques


Students will be assigned specific readings, listenings, and score study of selected exemplary works, and must write brief prose summaries of the essential ideas in those works.

Each student must complete several short composition exercises for solo instrument or small chamber group, as assigned, based on the readings, listenings, and score analyses.

Each student will compose one movement-length piece for mixed ensemble, to be rehearsed and recorded by other members of the class in the final "exam" meeting.

Students must participate in class discussions and critiques, and must practice and perform each others compositions as needed.

An attendance record of 90% or better is required to pass the class.


Students will be graded on their assigned written work, their performance of assigned compositions by fellow students, and their class participation.

Grading in a composition class is necessarily subjective to some degree, as there are often various "right" and "wrong" ways of doing things, and evaluation of creative work is complex. Every effort will be made to grade in a manner that is fair and consistent. Mere completion of the required work is considered the minimum requirement; students will be graded not only on the "correctness" of the work, but also on the originality and creativity they add to the minimal requirements.

To receive full credit, students must hand assignments in at the scheduled due time. If a student is unable to complete the assignment on time for a legitimate reason (e.g., illness), s/he must provide written documentation of the reason (e.g., a doctor's statement) in order to receive full credit for the late assignment. Late assignments will be accepted in the subsequent class session for a reduced grade. Assignments handed in later than that will not be given credit.

There is no specific percentage or weighting of importance predetermined for each assignment. Each of the above-listed requirements is a factor in the final grade.


The scheduled final exam time is Thursday March 19, 2015, 1:30-3:30 pm. Final performances/recordings of student compositions will be done at that time. Attendance is mandatory. There is no possibility of a "make-up" exam at a later time.

Academic Honesty

Plagiarism of any kind is a violation of UCI policy on Academic Honesty, and penalties for cheating or plagiarism can be severe. In this class you will be expected to attribute due credit to the originator of any ideas, music, or other work which you incorporate substantially into your own assignments. While supportive co-education between colleagues is encouraged, written assignments must be accomplished individually, without collaboration with others.


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 and the teaching assistants are thoroughly aware of the matter as early in the term as possible.

Other campus information

The UCI Policy on Student Conduct is available in its entirety online.
The UCI Counseling Center provides various types of counseling and mental health services.
All students are asked to familiarize themselves with the UCI Emergency Preparedness Procedures, which are summarized in a one-page document online.



This page was last modified January 4, 2015.
Christopher Dobrian,