My First Piece

So I’ve finally finished the Write Like Mozart: An Introduction To Classical Music Composition course and have learnt a lot over the 6 weeks. At the end of each week I had to complete part of a composition. Each one had some big restrictions as I was already give the chord sequence and the melody or bass line, however, the assignment for the final week was actually a proper composition as I had no starting point, just a few things that needed to be included. Here is the brief:

Compose a work in rounded binary form.

• The work can be in 3/4, 4/4, or 6/8 time.

• It should last between 20-30 bars.

• It should be scored for piano with a solo instrument, which can be concert flute, C trumpet, oboe, or violin.

• The following must be included:

1. One deceptive cadence, half cadence, and perfect authentic cadence;

2. At least two different texture types – homorhythmic homophony, melody and accompaniment, polyphony, or monophony;

3. One sequential progression;

4. One basic progression that has been elaborated with diatonic substitution, chromatic substitution, and/or secondary dominants/leading tone chords.

I must admit though that I failed at the second point, as my piece is 36 bars. I thought about cutting it down by removing some sections but then it would be missing the other requirements. The first 8 bars contains a half cadence and uses polyphony, the second 8 have a secondary dominant, the next section has a sequential progression and uses a different texture type, and then we’re back to the A section which we had at the beginning but which ends with a deceptive cadence, leading onto a perfect authentic cadence. Therefore, I decided I was happy with it being too long, since this is what I’d call my first proper composition where I actually understood what I was doing. Plus I managed to put into practice a lot of what I’d learnt, which was why I wrote the composition in the first place.

I felt like a proper composer writing this piece as I was sat in front of my desk with my accordion strapped to my chest, a notepad in front of me for working out chords and chord sequences and my iPad which I was using to notate the score.

So here’s the piece that I wrote for piano and violin. The sounds used are the synths from the score writing software I was using, so you have to use your imagination a bit to make it not sound like a robot is playing it! But I’m thinking about adapting it for accordion at some point, when my playing skill is good enough to do those scale runs, and then I might upload a recording.

Classical Composition 1 (Part 1)


Classical Composition 1 (Part 2)

Classical Composition 1 (Part 3)

Let me know what you think as I’d appreciate any thoughts/feedback.

Writing Like Mozart

If you love learning then you should definitely check out Coursera. It’s a website which hosts short online courses, normally of about 6-8 weeks. It’s a great place to learn from home and has a nice variety of topics you can choose from. There’s “Introduction to Genetics and Evolution”, “Fundamentals of Global Energy Business”, “Understanding Einstein: The Special Theory Of Relativity”, “The Music Of The Beatles”, and many more, all from a host of well known universities. I found out about this great website when one of my friends showed me a TED Talk about it. I’ve embedded the video at the bottom if you’re interested.

Anyway, I found a great course that is relevant to me called Write Like Mozart: An Introduction To Classical Music Composition. I’ve just finished my first week and I’ve already learnt a lot. If you read my previous post then you’ll know I had to brush up on my theory knowledge to do the course. But I managed to catch up quite quickly, and when I did, I was able to start the video lectures and exercises.

Now what is great about this course is that at the end of each week there is an assignment and each weeks assignment is a composition. I thought this pretty scary at first, but then thought it makes perfect sense. As the course leader says, it’s called Write Like Mozart for a reason. However, it is only the first week, so you don’t exactly have to go and write a symphony. Instead you’re given a chord sequence and a melody and then it is down to you to voice the other three parts.

Mozart Assignment 1

There were a lot of restrictions for this weeks assignment though, for instance all the chords must be in root position and the music must be homorhythmic and homophonic, which means that each voice must have the same rhythm. The end result sounds pretty basic, but it was definitely worth while doing, and was a good place to start. Here it is, complete with the audio:

Mozart Assignment 1 Completed