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Music 33C: Intro to Composition (III)

Spring 2019
Wed 2-4:50pm
CPMC 145

This is the final step in a 3-course sequence for composition majors. 33C covers current trends in contemporary composition, through the lens of notation, practice, and analysis. Learning through performance is an important element of this course, as is acquiring a basic and general familiarity with electronics. Topics discussed include non-instrumental music, voice/text as instrument, found objects and sounds in composition, breaking the composer/performer dichotomy, improvisation, and musical theatre.
You will have a variety of assignments— short compositions which we will perform in class, written reflections on reading assignments, and your final project.
Assignments count 25% toward your grade, participation counts 25%, attendance counts 25%, and your final project counts 25%. Grades are posted through TritonED (
Your final project is a composition. You must include at least three elements from the topics covered in class. The final performance takes place on Wednesday May 29 at 3pm.


Week 1: Intro/Noise

Assignment 1

Methods for Listening
The Art of Noise (Luigi Russolo)
The Future of Music: Credo (John Cage)
Sketch of a New Aesthetic of Music (Luigi Russolo)
The Aesthetics of Noise (Torben Sangild)

Ligeti Atmosphères
Varèse Ionisation

Links to pieces listened to in class:
Henry Cowell: The Tides of Manaumaun
Edgard Varèse: Ionisation
Ligeti: Atmosphères (listen via UCSD library)
Pierre Schaeffer: Études de Bruit
Marianthi Papalexandri-Alexandri: Motors and Resonant Bodies
Sam Pluta: Broken Symmetries
Sachiko M/Otomo Yoshihide/Toshi Nakamura: Good Morning
Yasunao Tone: Solo for Wounded CD

Week 2: Voice/Text

Assignment 2

Carolyn Chen: Spin Straw. Or, This is Not a Revolution
Peter Ablinger: note on Voices and Piano
Chris Mann: Interview with Preston Wright

Bryan Jacobs: Do You Need, Do To Me, 18 Me, 18 Mean
Natacha Diels: Bahnhof
Carolyn Chen: Declaration
Chris Mann: Lyrics from Chris Mann & The Use
Shelley Hirsch: Script for O Little Town of East New York
Yoko Ono: Pages from Grapefruit

Links to pieces listened to in class:
Shelley Hirsch: Haiku Lingo
Chris Mann: Chris Mann & The Use (must listen through UCSD)
Bryan Jacobs: Do You Need, Do To Me, 18 Me, 18 Mean
Natacha Diels: Bahnhof
Louis d'Heudieres: Laughter Studies 3
Joanna Baillie: Artificial Environment #8: Babel
Sam Scranton: All is Always
Peter Ablinger:
Cecil Taylor (from Voices and Piano)
Speaking Piano (constructed by Winfried Ritsch)

Week 3: Musical Theatre (1)

Assignment 3

Steven Takasugi: Sideshow

Links to pieces not listened to in class (recommended viewing/listening):
Jessie Marino: Rotblau
Mauricio Kagel: Match
Robert Ashley: Automatic Writing
Natacha Diels: 2.5 Nightmares for Jessie

Readings (required):
FOTODEATH (Claes Oldenburg)
Why Theatre? (Steven Takasugi)

Week 4: Music Theatre (2)

Assignment 4

George Lewis: Improvisation as a Way of Life

Week 5: Improvisation/Aleatoric Writing

Julius Eastman Gay Guerrilla
Julius Eastman opening comments at Northwestern University (1980)
Terry Riley in C
Score || Performance Instructions
Butch Morris
Gestures and description [from Thomas Stanley]
Andrew Greenwald [99 Words]