Tag Archives: composition

Unit 4 Composition Brief

To begin your composition, we would like you first to decide on a style to compose in. Please choose from this list:

  • ROCK – with vocal or guitar melody
  • REGGAE – with vocal or horn melody
  • INDIE/FOLK – with vocal melody
  • POP – with vocal melody
  • INSTRUMENTAL – CLASSICAL, WORLD MUSIC OR JAZZ – with vocal or instrumental melody
  • R’N’B/DANCE STYLES (DUBSTEP, HOUSE ETC) – with vocal or synth melody

All Unit 4 compositions must:

  • be between 3 and 4 minutes long
  • have at least four instruments
  • have a clear melody line
  • have at least two different chord sequences
  • have a range of texture

As your composition develops we will then speak to you individually and choose TWO Areas Of Study to focus the piece on. You might want to consider the Areas Of Study as your piece grows.

AoS 1 – Rhythm & Metre

AoS 2 – Harmony & Tonality

AoS 3 – Texture & Melody

AoS 4 – Timbre & Dynamics

AoS5 – Structure & Form

Texture – Timbre & Instrumental Techniques

So what does texture mean? 

“In music, texture is the way the melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic materials are combined in a composition, therefore determining the overall quality of sound of a piece. Texture is often described in regards to the density, or thickness, and range…..A piece’s texture may be affected by the number and character of parts playing at once, the timbre of the instruments or voices playing these parts and the harmony, tempo, and rhythms used.”

One way to develop texture is to vary the instrumental timbre (the instrumental “tone or colour”). For example, if you have a guitar part you could create textural contrast by using a mix of:

  • picking, strumming, double-stops, palm muting and FX (distortion, delay/echo, reverb, wah-wah)

These are all ways to develop your texture by changing the instrumental timbre.

To consider how you might use a range of instrumental timbre to develop texture in composing we are going to look at string instruments :

1. Use the Texture Garageband project created during last week’s lessons
2. Create FOUR new software instrument tracks
3. Choose the following instruments:

  • Xtra String Ens Legato
  • Xtra String Ens Pizzicato
  • Xtra String Ens Staccato
  • Xtra String Ens Tremolo

Use these instruments to create at least TWO contrasting accompaniment’s to your melody. You can use the same harmony but make sure that it expressed differently.

For example the first four bars might use legato strings playing long held block chords.

The second contrasting four bar section might use staccato strings with broken chords (but using the same chords as sections one).