Techniques of Musical Composition 1 - 2nd semester


a) To develop technical skills and ability to practical realization within the fundamental techniques of Musical composition
b) To acquire fundamental theoretical and practical knowledge in the field of tonal harmony and counterpoint
c) To know the fundamental rules of tonal harmony and counterpoint, as well as its historic usage.
d) To develop skills to apply the rules of tonality to divers musical genres, including two different historic period styles.
e) To know specific compositional techniques involved in the principal musical forms from the studied historical periods and genres, as well as the rudiments of instrumentation.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Ernesto Donoso Collado, Isabel Pires


Weekly - 4

Total - Available soon

Teaching language





Schoenberg, A. (1999) Structural Functions of Harmony (Revised Edition). NY: Norton.
Nettles, B.; Graf, R. (1997) The Chord Scale Theory & Jazz Harmony. Advance Music.
Tymoczko, D. (2011) A Geometry of Music: Harmony and Counterpoint in the Extended Common Practice. Oxford. Oxford University Press.
Damschroder, D. (2008) Thinking About Harmony: Historical Perspectives on Analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Agmon, E. (2013) The Languages of Western Tonality. NY: Springer.
Bent, M. (2002) Counterpoint, Composition, and Musica Ficta. NY: Routledge.
Bochmann, Ch. (2003). A Linguagem Harmónica do Tonalismo. Lisboa: Juventude Musical Portuguesa.
Rings, S. (2011) Tonality and Transformation. Oxford. Oxford University Press.

Teaching method

Theoretical and practical lessons with the regular realization of practical exercises that should be accomplished outside the classroom.

Evaluation method

Regular and successful accomplishment of practical exercises (60%). Two assessments (40%). Because of the practical character of this course is mandatory the presence of the student in 80% of classes.

Subject matter

1. To study the concepts of harmony, counterpoint, homophony, polyphony, tonality.
2. To analyse examples and produce practical exercises, to study the techniques of composition and the main forms of genres and eras treated during the semester.
3. Tonality—study and practice:
a) Functional hierarchy; chord sequences and harmonic rhythm;
b) Types of measure and rhythm;
c) Ornaments and chromaticism;
d) Cadences;
e) Modulations.
4. Realization of tonal harmony exercises.
5. Tonal couterpoint—study and practice:
a) Direct and reversed imitative counterpoint;
b) Canon;
6. Realization of tonal counterpoint exercises.
7. Stylistic Exercises.


Programs where the course is taught: