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Curricular Unit: Fundamentals of Composition and Orchestral Production V
Code: LPI045
Cientific area: Performance Practices

Learning outcomes

This curricular unit aims to provide students with the knowledge to master two part and three-part form (unrestricted from any style), compose a full three-part fugue in the style of the 18th century. At the same time students will acquire techniques of composition of music of essentially the first half of the 20th century. Students will also be encouraged to orchestrate music effectively according to the main styles of the early twentieth century. Upon successful completion of this curricular unit, students will be able to:
– Write a short tonal musical piece, free in style, in binary and
ternary form.
– Write a three-part full Fugue.
– Write modal contemporary music.
– Master the core techniques of B. Bàrtok’s music as well as Minimalism.
– Orchestrate in the style of the Impressionist orchestra of C. Debussy and M. Ravel


– Characteristics of binary and ternary form (“Tonalities”, contrast vs complementarity);
– Characteristics of Fugue writing (exposition, answers, episodes, intermediate entries of theme, stretto, codetta/coda). Variation techniques in imitative counterpoint;
– Modal composition: mode’s names and characteristic notes, cadences. Modal reharmonization.
– Compositional techniques of B. Bàrtok: Axis System, Alpha chords, rhythms, amongst others.
– Minimalistic music techniques: the concept of phasing, added notes, augmentations, amongst others;
– Principles of style in Debussy and M. Ravel’s Impressionist orchestration.

Teaching methodologies

Each semester consists of 15 two and a half hour sessions. In each class is provided the theoretical and practical knowledge that will be worked out by the students, by means of in-class and homework assignments of which steady and weekly feedback is provided by the professor. Classes are usually divided into 2 blocks (1.30h allocated for composition and 1h for orchestral production).


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BELKIN, Alan. (2018). Musical Composition, Art and Craft. New Haven & Londres, Yale University Press.
BLACK, Dave, & GEROU, Tom. (2009). Essentials of Orchestration, Alfred Publishing Co., Inc.
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BUKOFZER, Manfred. (1947). Music in the Baroque Era. Nova Iorque, W. W. Norton & Company.
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LA RUE, Jan. (1970). Guidelines for Style Analysis. Nova Iorque, W. W. Norton & Company.
MOORE, Douglas. (1992). Guide to Musical Styles: From Madrigal to Modern Music (Ed. Rev.). Nova Iorque, W. W. Norton & Company.
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RIMSKY-KORSAKOV, Nikolay. (1964). Principles of Orchestration. Nova Iorque, Dover Publications, Inc.
SCHOENBERG, Arnold. (1970). Fundamentals of Musical Composition. Londres – Boston, Faber and Faber.
SCHOENBERG, Arnold. (1999). Structural Functions of Harmony. Londres, Faber and Faber.
SOLOMON, Samuel. Z. (2002). How to Write for Percussion. Oxford University Press.
TARUSKIN, Richard. (2010). Music in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. The Oxford History of Western Music. OUP

Teaching Staff
Nuno Dario (regent)