The composition curriculum begins with melodic design and harmonic language as they merge into specific composition forms basses upon the 17th, 18th, and 19th Century music composition practices. These forms include:

  • All the ancient dance forms, e.g., gavotte, minuet, and gigue
  • ABA and Rondo
  • Sonata Allegro (Sonatina)

From this foundation students are encouraged to reach beyond the structure of the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic styles into more contemporary forms and harmonic language of the 20th and 21st Century.

Also covered is orchestration and arranging for various instruments with the aid of Sibelius, a computerized composition program that is mounted on the BMS computers. Students learn to create works of any size and stature, arrange them for any single or any combination of instruments either through a digital keyboard or through the standard computer keyboard. The program also allows for play back, correction, and printing of each score or any combination of score parts. We recommend that composition students own a copy of Sibelius for their personal use at home.