MUS 100 Composition Assignment


Turn in 1st draft Monday of last week of classes (or earlier); final draft due Friday, the last day of classes.


Compose an eight bar melody with harmony, beginning on the tonic and ending with a dominant returning to the tonic.  Label the chords with chord names and Roman numerals (labeling inversions would be nice but is not necessary).  Write your work on the grand staff, using the treble clef for the melody and the bass clef for the chords or bass line.  (Instead of writing out full chords in the lower part, you may use a bass line that uses a single note at a time.)  Circle non-chord tones (passing tones and neighbor notes). 


Trying to put everything you know and love about music into one 8-bar phrase is not a good composition strategy.  (I have been trying it for about 30 years without great success.)  Keep it simple!  Use repetition and varied repetition.  If you want to get fancy, you are free to extend your composition beyond 8 bars, but make sure you write 8 solid, in-the-pocket, simple bars first. 




I           I         V           V         V         I           V7        I


I           V         I           V         V         I           V7        I


I           V         I           V         I           IV        V7        I


I           V         I           V         vi         ii          V7        I


I           IV        V         I           V         I           V7        I


I           IV        V         I           vi         I64        V7           I

(I64  is the symbol for a I chord in 2nd inversion)


I           vi         ii          V         I           IV        V7           I




You can use the ones above, changing the qualities of the appropriate chords.  For example, line 2 above becomes:

i           V         i           V         i           iv         V7        i



Grading standards

A = No notation errors (proper number of beats in each bar, proper stem directions, proper use and placement of accidentals and key signatures); harmony of each bar is correct, clear and labeled (root, quality and Roman numeral); the piece ends with a clear dominant-to-tonic (V-I) cadence.  All non-chord tones circled and properly used.  Creativity, individuality and music quality – all subjective judgments – are not considered. 

B = a couple of notation errors; a couple of incorrect or missing chord labels; a couple of non-chord tones not identified as such and not resolved

C = consistent notation errors; several incorrect or missing chord labels; incorrect chords; non-chord tones not labeled

D = incomplete measures; less than 8 bars; most chords incorrect and too many non-chord tones

F = little evidence of the basic ideas of harmony and notation, but much better than a zero


A+ = melody has a good shape and is musically coherent due to the use of pitch and rhythmic motives; the harmony and melody work well together


Dec 2007

MUS100 music fundamentals

David Meckler


Cañada College