Musical Composition, Theory and Songwriting/LTCL Music Composition


LTCL Music Composition.
I wanted to know the exact composition structure for Unit 1.
What kind of composition we need to present.
Totally confused about the Unit 1 Submitted Material.

Hello Tushar, and thanks for being patient.

Well, according to the syllabus you have to produce four pieces lasting 5-7 minutes each.  You have a choice of resources and you need two examples of each.  

String quartet: I assume, although it isn't explicitly stated, that we're talking the standard instrumentation of 2 violins + viola + cello.  You've got a variety of effects to play with - pizzicato, sul ponticello, spiccato, tremolo  - and if you include double-stopping you can include denser chords of up to eight parts.

Brass quartet: think brass band!  Or mix and match with woodwind.

Wind quartet: gives you the greatest variety in terms of instrumentation and timbre.  You could be conventional and go for flute + oboe + clarinet + bassoon, or 2 oboes + 2 bassoons, or 3 clarinets + bass clarinet, or saxophone quartet - it's up to you.  You can mix and match with brass too.  

Choral (SATB) piece: it's interesting that the syllabus says for "at least" 4 mixed voices, as if you're thinking choir rather than vocal quartet you again have the option of dividing some or all of the parts temporarily to enrich the texture.  You need to choose a text - if it's not in English then you also need to provide a translation.

Your compositional style will clearly influence which instrumentations you choose.  If it's conventionally tonal-based (as mine would be were I attempting this exam, which thank goodness I'm not) you just need to submit a score but can include a recording of the piece if you so choose.  If it's squeaky-gate music which doesn't use standard notation or incorporates a taped/electronic part, you need to submit both score and recording.  You also need programme notes for each composition.

To reach this level you need to be studying composition, so you already know how your "voice" is developing and what pathways you want to explore.  The syllabus is designed to be all-inclusive, which is why it may seem confusing.  

Hope this helps.

Musical Composition, Theory and Songwriting

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Clare Redfarn


All aspects of the academic/theoretical side of music, including harmony, counterpoint, elementary composition, history, harmonic analysis, aural training, sightreading - the lot! Please note I'm not primarily a composer so I can't help with composition beyond what's required for Grade 8 theory or A'level. And don't ask me about psychoacoustics or music psychology as I have no knowledge of, nor interest in, either subject.


57 years as pianist (soloist and accompanist); 42 years as harpsichordist (soloist and continuist); 10 years as violinist and 6 years as bassoonist (youth orchestras/chamber groups); 45 years as piano teacher, coach in performance/interpretation (all ages, instruments and levels) and private tutor (mainly the old O'level, Grade VI+ ABRSM theory/practical musicianship, A'level and undergraduates); 20 years as ballet pianist (Cecchetti syllabus).

Member of Musicians' Union in Britain 1978-1989 and 1991-2009.

I've been writing professionally since I was 20 - too many programme notes to count over the years and a number of articles. Additionally, from 1996-2000 I was a Music Assessor for London Arts and as such regularly wrote critiques of concerts given by recipients of Arts Council funding.

MA in European Cultural Policy & Administration (Warwick University, 1994)
B Mus with Honours (London University, 1977)
Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Administration (City University, 1982)
Licentiate of Royal Academy of Music in Piano Teaching (1976)
Licentiate of Royal Academy of Music in Harpsichord Teaching (1978)

Studied RAM Junior School (1966-74), then as full-time student (1974-78).

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