Student Examples

First steps (harmonizing a melody)

While doing the exercises, my goal was to focus on fundamentals. To make something consistent and simple, rather than something else.

The second piece would probably sound better if the second part was made less predictable, but... I'm glad I rather finished it that way than overtweaking it without end.

I think it was good idea to don't start with inventing harmony and melody together.

In the past I had couple of attempts like that and they never got past 4 bars.

-Jakub Niemyjski

Evening Practice

Here is my composition (currently titled “Evening practice”) based on the chord progression from Brahms Wiegenlied. I managed to write it within less than an hour last night while at work and on standby for two rehearsals.

-Jen Spohn

Binary Dance Piece: Courante

Here is my attempt at the binary dance piece. This was a challenging exercise. It feels a bit stilted to me, just a little awkward. Still, I can imagine some well-coiffed dancers lifting their heels.

Thanks for all your helpful comments throughout the course. Some music theory concepts only become clear when you try to apply them. Maybe you could follow up with some modern styles, re-harmonizing, chord substitutions, etc.

-Doug Park

8 - Doug - Binary Dance Piece #2.pdf

Brahms' Redux

-Doug Park

22 Brahm's Redux Douglas Park Doug.pdf

Brahms' Redux

Where I really began to sweat was in my attempt to create a melody for the Brahm's Redux exercise. I struggled with this exercise for over an hour on Wednesday and Thursday with nothing that worked. After working a couple of additional hours on Friday, I finally put notes on the staff. I tried to follow the chord pattern in Brahm's Lullaby as you requested to follow the Question and Answer format (i.e., Q-A-A-A form). I have attached a PDF of my "composition". Please feel free to critique.

I have learned a lot from doing these exercises. I am beginning to see just how much of a novice I am. But I have a great teacher, and to misquote Euclid - "There is no royal road to music."

-Charles Frost


Harmonizing a Melody

My arrangement uses block chords and then Alberti base. I made a video of this using Synthesia. Thanks for your feedback.

-Geoff Montgomery

The Ticklish Song

Here is my attempt at writing a melody over the Brahms Lullaby base line. My approach was to use the F major pentatonic scale, on the basis that the notes might at least sound OK together.

After 'composing' Part A, by noodling around the F pentatonic on the keyboard, I set about Part B, but finally made no changes to the melody as the chords in Part B seemed to me to add enough variety already. Maybe I was just getting lazy.

After settling on a name, The Ticklish Song, i attempted to write some lyrics. I seriously had to suppress my "this is silly' gene to come up with a result.

I'm a bit intrigued by the whole process as i have never done anything like this before.

Best Regards,

Geoff Montgomery

Audiofile: 07 Week 2 The Ticklish Song Geoff.mid

Brahms' Redux

Here's my composition attempt! After looking at those empty bar lines, I thought "how can I fill them with notes?"

So I'm amazed that there actually some notes on the page! The music score is attached.

I would have liked to add some passing notes to get more of a "drifting" effect, but couldn't work out how to do that. Also I didn't manage to get the ii supertonics in.

-Vicki Lamplough

15 Brahms Redux Ex 2 Vicki.PDF
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