SFU Application

Teaching Resumé


2016 - Present

Toronto Creative Music Lab

  • co-created, co-design,  and co-delivered an annual summer program for international early-career musicians and composers, which provides them with  an opportunity for artistic and professional development in the field of contemporary chamber music. With TCML, our non-hierarchical team strives to create a program that pushes toward a yet unimagined future in artistry and expression, connecting our social responsibilities, institutions, communities, audiences, arts, and each other.  www.tcml.ca

2015 - Present

Decoder: Music Lab

  • design and deliver a summer program that has been supported by the Canadian Music Centre and the Ontario Arts Council. This free program for high school music students focusses on exploring ideas in contemporary Canadian chamber music as a foundation for a collaborative composition. These works were then performed by the participants alongside professional contemporary chamber music performers. www.decodermusiclab.com

2013 - 2016

Music Theory Teacher At the Regent Park School of Music

  • taught RCM Theory (all levels).
  • designed and delivered Create Play Understand a music theory curriculum for preteen and adolescent learners, which took the class to through a collaborative composition/performance process centred around tasks that explored specific aspects of music theory.
  • designed and delivered Parade of Noises, which was a program brought into neighbourhood elementary and middle school. Students learned about rudiments and composition through instrument building and collaborative exercises.

2010 - 2011

Grading Assistant to the Director of the York University Counterpoint and Harmony Courses.

  • graded tests and exams for the Counterpoint and Harmony courses.
  • developed and delivered an optional tutorial session for students who needed extra help in the Counterpoint and Harmony courses.
  • delivered lectures to 100+ students in the Counterpoint and Harmony courses.

2010 - 2011

Assistant to the Director of the York University New Music Ensemble

  • conducted and ran rehearsal for the junior section (1st and 2nd year students) of the ensemble.
  • delivered informal assessment and feed back for junior section.
  • wrote 3 pieces for the ensemble (1 for the full ensemble, 1 for the junior section, and one for the senior section)

2007 - 2014

English as a Second Language Teacher at Hansa Language Centre

  • taught English grammar and beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels.
  • designed a curriculum for intermediate learners.
  • prepared students for standardized language tests  

Syllabus Rationale


Key Concepts and Methods

In the attached syllabus, I have worked from my primary teaching goals outward toward specific learning outcomes (see syllabus) with an emphasis on two specific key compositional concepts: re-imagining materials - using borrowed materials, and reconfiguring assumptions - re-examining what we already know in a different light. As stated in one of the learning objectives, inter-medial connections and perceptual understandings will frame much of our explorations. Rooted in weekly discussions about highlighted pieces of music and ancillary materials (texts, audio recordings, scores, video art, performance video, film, audio documentary), as a group we will build compositional tools and strategies that emerge from connections that surface between the materials and processes. By using this method, students will gain agency over the development of their own artistic voice while expanding their knowledge and refining their craft. Furthermore, I have come to understand the contemporary craft of composition as a process that connects compositional skills, knowledge bases, experiences, technologies, disciplines, media, and concepts,  all of which a composer constantly reconfigures in critical and creative ways. In this way, additional goals of this method are to give students for broad understanding of craft and to prepare them for a composer’s practice that operates outside of an academic context.  

To illustrate this method more concretely, I describe the approach to the first work examined in the class: Sofia Gubaidulina’s Meditation on the Bach Chorale 'Vor deinen Thron tret ich hiermit' (1995) for amplified harpsichord, 2 violins, viola, violoncello, and double bass. This is one of my favourite chamber works, and I have learned so many lessons from it over the years. For the class, I have programmed three ways for us to consider the piece over two lessons: 1) through an examination of Gubaidulina’s pre-compositional serial procedures, 2) through the lens of auditory scene analysis (ASA), and 3) as a narrative form in relation to David Lynch’s film Mulholland Drive

From Gubaidulina’s serial approach, we can can begin to build a toolbox for working from borrowed musical material. Through Milne’s report of Gubaidulina’s work, we will trace rhythmic invention, texture/gesture creation, pacing, and overall structure for the piece. From there we will begin to ask questions about our understanding of the piece as listeners and composers for the purpose of understanding the impact of compositional processes on the listening experience. For example: Can we hear the serial/pre-composition processes when we listen to the recording? How does knowing Gubaidulina’s process affect how we hear the piece? What can we leverage from her approach for our own compositional uses? What potential problems need to be addressed when using serial methods?

Following this, we will introduce ASA as a way to frame further interrogation of what we hear in the piece. Through the ASA lens, we will go back to the rhythm, texture, gesture, pacing, and form and start to understand how processes of composition and reception may differ or correlate. Additionally, using the ASA lens, we will incorporate the ancillary listening materials  into our discussions and begin to compare the methods and the results of Martin Arnold’s Tam Lin and Cassandra Miller’s For Mira, both of which were composed with the use of borrowed material.

Lastly, using a more speculative approach, we will draw a connections between David Lynch’s narrative rhetoric in Mulholland Drive and one potential way of hearing narrative form in Gubaidulina’s work. By discussing Meditations... from three different perspectives, the goal is to understand that each piece of music is a site for multiple perspectives and limitless connections from which we can draw our own compositional tools.

Throughout the rest of the syllabus, I have predominantly applied an inter-medial and/or perceptual approach, while connecting these methods to a more traditional interrogation of musical material. Similarly, by dividing the course into two-key concepts, and using a number of pieces to illustrate each, the desired outcome is one in which the learner understands that each compositional underpinning, like a musical work, has multiple differing perspectives. This highlights that there is no one way to write, understand, or listen to music, thus giving composers limitless ideas to leverage into their own work.  

More generally, I have addressed what I believe to be key areas of a contemporary education in music composition. I think it is important for a student composer to focus on a personal composition voice/practice, craft, critical connections, listening, and professionalism.




 

statement of teaching philosophy


Philosophy

I believe that learning is an ongoing process that consists of a complicated web of factors that are continually being reconfigured and transformed. Because of this, I see learning as a undertaking that implicates everyone participating in the class (learners, teachers, administrators) in the success of the group’s and individual's learning process. This philosophy requires a teacher to bring methods and values to the class that support the connectedness of all concerned parties.    

Goals and Methods

As a teacher, I borrow heavily from inquiry-based learning, action learning, design-based learning, and project-based learning pedagogies. I value group exploration and the development of knowledge and skills. I aim to create an environment where the learners and instructor collaboratively explore concepts, materials, and processes in a way that is respectful of personal difference and ultimately leads to a shift in the “how” and “what” of knowledge. I believe that entering a collaborative process with the instructor and classmates fosters an intrinsic motivation among learners which becomes the foundation for their ability to engage meaningfully in their own education. These ideas have arisen from reflections on my own experience as a student and what I have discovered over my ten years of in-class teaching experience.

As a student, the lessons that caused the most profound transformations in my music making were the ones in which the teacher collaborated with the class to shape knowledge and skills, and demonstrated an investment in my personal development. Similarly, as a teacher, I have seen the impact of these values and approaches on the students that I have taught and on myself as an instructor. For students, this method fosters a personal connection (intrinsic motivation) to the ideas explored in the classroom. As a teacher, I have developed new understandings from collaborative education models. This have led to the continual reconfiguration of how I develop and deliver a class - a process that continually excites me and keeps me engaged with the subject and the students.   

Values

I believe that in a classroom where the teacher and  students are invested in collaborative learning approaches, a learner can:

  • build confidence and agency in developing knowledge
  • collaborate in connecting skills, knowledge bases, concepts, and critical inquiry;
  • make new discoveries
  • challenge their assumptions
  • make progress in their journey toward mastery of their discipline
  • understand their own learning processes
  • and reach their personal education goals

I regard these values as vital in a successful learner's journey. One illustrative example comes to mind from two years ago: during the summers, I design and deliver a free program for adolescent musicians called Decoder: Music Lab. The workshop is six days long and is divided into two sessions per day: one session involves playing and discussing the work of a diverse group or living Canadian composers, and the other session is a collaborative composition process that generates material that comprises a piece that is performed by participants and professional chamber musicians at a culminating recital. On the first day near the close of the morning session, we were exploring a piece of music that had a shifting relationship to the pulse and no fixed meter. A participant came to me and asked if she could share a song she liked with the class. She felt that the “Pyramid Song” by Radiohead explored some overlapping ideas with the material in which we were engaged. This led to a productive group discussion that connected with the ideas we were exploring and produced more listening suggestions from other participants. As this was such a positive exercise, it became a staple task for the week that served to help organize our thoughts and connect the ideas we explored together to our personal relationships with music. As a result, I felt that the participants went from being shy strangers to being open and invested participants in the process.

In moments such as this one, an effective teacher must enter with a clear set of pedagogical values. As an educator, my objective is to:

  • be prepared
  • have respect, and empathy for each learner
  • take a personal stake in the learner’s education
  • understand and respond to the needs of the learners in the context of the curriculum/ education environment
  • provide clear, comprehensive, and timely formal and informal assessments
  • organize the physical classroom and classroom resources in a way that properly facilitates the activities of the class
  • reflect on and reevaluate my methods/activities/resources and their effectiveness while remaining open to trying new approaches
  • keep up to date with current developments in pedagogy and my discipline.  

These are all values that I feel are essential to a successful learning environment. An example that illustrates how my values impacted a student’s success comes from my time as a Master’s student. In my final year, I was able to fashion an independent studies program whereby I not only wrote three piece for the York University New Music Ensemble, but also assisted the ensemble director in the development and delivery of the course. By dividing the ensemble into a junior and senior section, we were able to focus our efforts on one section each. With the junior section, I was able to introduce difficult material that while ambitious for the ensemble, ultimately resulted in a  successful performance of the works. The values and approaches outlined in the sections above were a key component of that success, as evident in this email to the course director from a student:

“I just wanted to send you a quick email saying what an asset it was having Jason lead our group this year. I got great marks on my recordings this year and it was definitely due to the effort Jason put in with us in class.  He made everyone feel good about their playing skills and boosted confidence. He was also very entertaining haha! Overall he always seemed to be able to tell which areas needed work and how to approach them. I'm not sure if he's coming back next year,  but just in case you were wondering what people thought of the class, I enjoyed it and found Jason to be very helpful.”

My teaching philosophy, goals, methods, and values are necessarily interconnected, whereby each responds to and influences the others. Underlying all of this is a genuine interest in helping others, and a love learning - both of which are fundamental components of my life.  

 


letter of application


Dear Hiring Committee,

Please accept this package as my application for the position of Assistant Professor of Music Composition in the School of Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University. This position is particularly exciting for me as the experimental approach and interdisciplinary scope of the program resonates with my artistic practice and pedagogical outlook. For me, experimentalism as an artistic foundation teamed with interdisciplinary perspectives are necessary for contemporary composers entering the field in the current cultural climate - one in a state of continual reconfiguration. Contemporary composers need to be initiated in the practices of other arts disciplines, as well as, be able to engage with digital and web technologies, media theory, and philosophy - all of which are on offer in the School of Contemporary Arts. Additionally, the Gamelan classes are compelling to me because my first experience with contemporary chamber music was at an Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan Ensemble concert, which ultimately created a bridge from my involvement with pop/rock/indie music idioms to contemporary chamber music. As demonstrated in the proposed syllabus package, CV, portfolio and statement of teaching philosophy, you will find that my perspective and expertise are well suited for the aims of the program.

I think of my artistic practice as the confluence of two approaches to making music. Firstly, as an active and well regarded chamber music composer, my practice has grown out of my investigations into auditory perception/illusion, primarily building on Albert Bregman’s work in auditory scene analysis (ASA) by interpreting his theories and findings as compositional techniques for spatialized music as well as reinterpreting conventional composition techniques though an ASA lens for the same purposes. This has developed into an interest in exploring listening as a vital aspect of the composition process by incorporating ideas rooted in the psychology of perception, linguistics, music semiology, and nostalgia. Secondly, my compositional rhetoric involves setting up a musical context that is regularly reconfigured and intervened upon but never fully transformed, and allows for the listener’s attention to shift and stray with/without the piece. Primarily operating in an instrumental chamber music setting and often with subtle electro-acoustic augmentation, I frame my nuanced compositions with a delicate aesthetic surface that contains slight political nudges.

As a performer and sound artist, I am a busy electro-acoustic improviser and interdisciplinary collaborator that operates in experimental music and art scenes in Canada and the United States. In performance and installation contexts, I utilize elaborate and tangled signal-chains that consist of found objects, browser instruments, leveraged social media environments/extensions, patches made in visual programming languages (Pure Data and Max/MSP), FM radio broadcasting, and musical  instruments. I have collaborated with a number of international, national, and local luminaries, including Lina Allemano, Allison Cameron, Marc Couroux, Germaine Liu, Andrea Parkins, Hiroki Tsuromoto, and Jane Wood.

In the field of education, my experience is broad, and varied. I have logged hundreds of in-class teaching hours between two disciplines (music and English as a second language) with learners ranging in ages from elementary school-aged children to adult professionals. Additionally, I have been very active in curriculum/program development in both formal classroom and professional environments.

At York University, I held the position of grading assistant (GA) for Professor Art Levine’s Counterpoint and Harmony courses. During my time as GA, in addition to my grading duties, I delivered counterpoint and harmony lectures to classes of 100+ students, and developed my own tutorial for students seeking additional guidance. Additionally, I assisted course director Matt Brubeck with the delivery of the York University New Music Ensemble. During that time, I was responsible for selecting repertoire, conducting the ensemble, and assessing performance for the ensemble’s junior section (1st and 2nd year students), in addition to writing music for the entire group.

Over the past three years, I have led a number of innovative community education projects for young learners and early-career chamber music professionals. At the Regent Park School of Music, I had developed and delivered a music theory curriculum for preteen and adolescent learners called Create Play Understand, which took the class to through a collaborative composition/performance process centred around tasks that explored specific aspects of music theory. Similarly, for the past two years, I have designed and delivered a summer program that has been supported by the Canadian Music Centre and the Ontario Arts Council called Decoder: Music Lab. This free program for high school music students focusses on exploring ideas in contemporary Canadian chamber music as a foundation for a collaborative composition. These works were then performed by the participants alongside professional contemporary chamber music performers. Lastly, I helped to design and deliver an annual summer program for international early-career musicians and composers with the Toronto Creative Music Lab (TCML), which provides them with  an opportunity for artistic and professional development in the field of contemporary chamber music. With TCML, our non-hierarchical team strives to create a program that pushes toward a yet unimagined future in artistry and expression, connecting our social responsibilities, institutions, communities, audiences, arts, and each other. The program is recognized as holding a unique place among a new wave of early-career chamber music workshops.

I believe that my application offers an opportunity to include a unique, critical, and innovative approach to an education in music composition that is rooted in collaboration and interdisciplinarity. I encourage you to explore my website (www.jasondoell.com) for additional context for my practice. Thank you for taking the time to consider my application. I look forward to hearing from the committee.

 

Sincerely,

signature.png
 

Jason Doell

red ensign


Commissioned and performed by Continuum Contemporary Music. World Premiere Performers: Anne Thompson (flute), Anthony Thompson (clarinet), Carol Lynn Fujino (violin), Bryan Holt (cello), Laurent Philippe (piano), Ryan Scott (percussion), Gregory Oh (conductor) Recorded March 8, 2015 as part of Continuum's concert 30 More! at the Music Gallery, Toronto.

program note: Red Ensign is a whisper on a frayed thread that hangs from a canopy in much the same manner a brick doesn't - or can't. These sounds aren't echoes and they certainly do not wave in the wind, not in one manner nor another. Instead the hums, crackles, pitches, and buzzes slowly wobble into/through/beside, and around one another as they cover, as they smother, as they conceal, as they lay draped across the fractures and fissures of long-ruined forms.


referees


Marc Couroux

Associate Professor at York University - Time Based Art

BMus, MMus (McGill)

416 876 9524

couroux@gmail.com

 

David Mott  

Professor Emeritus at York University - Music Composition

BM (Berklee), MM, MMA, DMA (Yale)

613 476 1580

info@davidmottmusic.com

 

Matt Brubeck

Contract Faculty at York University - Improvisation, Strings, New Music Ensemble

MMA (Yale)

519 265 6954

mattbru@yorku.ca


Syllabus


FPA 346 Course Description

FPA 346 Music Composition IV is a continuation of FPA 345. Prerequisite: FPA 345.

Week by week, we will take a deep look at one piece of music (recording and score) by using assigned readings, ancillary recordings and scores, and videos to frame an entry point into the work. This entry point may be an obvious one (exploring the composer’s perspective or intentions), or a speculative one (leveraging ideas from other materials to catalyze interrogation). Through presentations and group discussions, we will examine weekly concepts under an umbrella theme, while maintaining ongoing discussions around compositional techniques, orchestration, parameter management, pacing, structure/form, invention, analysis, and compositional process.  

The focus of weeks 2-5 (and composition assignment #1) is the examination of music that has material not created by the composer embedded into its construction. Over the course of these 4 weeks we will look at a bounty of perspectives regarding materials, concepts, techniques, problems, and forms related to the reimagining of materials.

In week six, we will take an introductory look at the resources and materials that enable a composer to enter the field professionally.

In weeks 7-12 (and composition assignment #2), our attentions will turn to works that subvert, or reconfigure our assumptions of materials, forms, practices, rituals, and common sense.

All materials (scores, readings, recordings, videos), sorted by week are available in (google folder address).

Learning Outcomes

A student who successfully completes this course will: 

  • gain a better understanding of their compositional process and aesthetic interests
  • deepen their understanding of contemporary compositional aesthetics, concepts, techniques, craft, and problems
  • become familiar with perceptual and intermedial approaches to composition and analysis
  • gain an understanding of the professional landscape
  • be able to engage in critical discourse around differing musical perspectives in a healthy and respectful manner

Grading

  • Attendance/ In-Class Participation (10%)
  • Online Listening Group Participation (20%)
  • Composition Assignment #1 - due week 6 (30%)
  • Composition Assignment #2 - due week 11 (30%)
  • Portfolio/ Application Project - due week 13 (10%)

Online Listening Group

You will become part of the private Facebook group “A-Z Listening”*. Over the course of the semester, you are expected to make 10 posts of music you are listening to in the moment you are listening. Your own recordings may be included in the posts. Additionally, you are encouraged to comment on the posts of others. All posts and comments should follow the guidelines outlined on the group page. Should you not have a facebook profile, please create an alias and inform me of you moniker. The purpose of this task is to have the group develop a better understanding of where everyone is coming from musically.

Composition and Portfolio Projects

See attached handouts for descriptions and grading breakdowns for each assignment.

Syllabus by Week

Below is a list of concepts and material covered by week. All the materials listed for each week should be listened to/ read/ watched prior to the class.

Week 1: Inflection Point

As a class we will review the syllabus and expectations for the class. In class we will listen to and look at the scores for Linda Catlin Smith’s Moi Qui Tremblais, Rodney Sharman’s Notes on ‘Beautiful’, and Sky Macklay’s Many, Many, Cadences. With each piece we will speculate on the initial idea that catalyzed its creation and potential problems that would arise when composing these works. Additionally, we will set up a framework for discussing compositional craft that will be carried through the semester. 

Week 2: Hearing Serial Structures and Attuning to Perceptual Tendencies in Sofia Gubaidulina’s Meditation on the Bach Chorale 'Vor deinen Thron tret ich hiermit'

Focus: Sofia Gubaidulina’s Meditation on the Bach Chorale 'Vor deinen Thron tret ich hiermit' (1995) for amplified harpsichord, 2 violins, viola, violoncello, and double bass.

Reading: Jennifer Denise Milne The rhythm of form: Compositional processes in the music of Sofia Gubaidulina (2007) and selections from the first chapter “the Auditory Scene” of Albert Bregman’s Auditory Scene Analysis (1994).

Additional listening and score study: Casandra Miller’s For Mira (2012) for solo violin and Martin Arnold’s Tam Lin (2003) for mixed ensemble.

Week 3: Reconfiguring Coherence and the Mobiusoïdal Linearity of Sofia Gubaidulina’s Meditation on the Bach Chorale 'Vor deinen Thron tret ich hiermit'

Focus: Sofia Gubaidulina’s Meditation on the Bach Chorale 'Vor deinen Thron tret ich hiermit' (1995) for amplified harpsichord, 2 violins, viola, violoncello, and double bass.

Reading: Jennifer A. Hudson "No Hay Banda, and yet We Hear a Band": David Lynch's Reversal of Coherence in Mulholland Drive (2016) and selections from the first chapter “the Auditory Scene” of Albert Bregman’s Auditory Scene Analysis (1994).

Video: David Lynch’s Mullholland Drive (2001).

Week 4: Ways of Hearing the Materiality of Pamela Z’s Pop Titles ‘You’

Focus: Pamela Z’s Pop Titles ‘You’  (1986) for solo voice and electronics.

Video: John Berger’s Ways of Seeing episode 1 (1972), and Todd Haynes’ Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story (1987).

Additional listening: Naama Tsabar’s Babies (2008), Eric Blau and Mort Shuman’s Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris (1968), and James O’Callaghan’s Isomorphia (2014) for Orchestra and Tape.

Week 5: Contemporaneity, Sampling Praxis, and Emergence in Nicole Lizée’s This Will Not Be Televised  

Focus: Nicole Lizée’s This Will not be Televised (2005 -2007) for 2 percussion, 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass, turntables.

Reading: Tom Perchard “Hip Hop Samples Jazz: Dynamics of Cultural Memory and Musical Tradition in the African American 1990s” (2011).

Additional Listening: Brigitte Bardon't’s Infinite Poolside: Motel 1989 (2015), and Xenaudial’s Adjacent Exposure (2013), Doctor Octagon’s Blue Flowers (1996).

Week 6: Professional Development

We will review standards and practices in the creation of portfolios, biographies, CVs, and web presence for composers as well as investigate artistic and professional resources for early-career composers.

Week 7: The Skewed Topology of Charles Ives’ Three Quarter-Tone Pieces

Focus: Charles Ives’ Three Quarter-Tone Pieces (1923–24) for two pianos, one tuned a quarter-tone sharp, S. 128 (K. 3C3).

Additional listening and score study: Anna Hostman’s Murmuring (2014) for baroque quartet. Additional listening: Tristan Perich’s 1-bit Symphony (2010) for microchip, Fathmount’s A yoke of oxen (2007) for electric guitars. 

Week 8: Hearing Positivistic Analysis and Aprosodia in the Resonant Melodic Structure of Linda Catlin Smith's Knotted Silk

Focus: Linda Catlin Smith’s Knotted Silk (1999) for clarinet, trumpet, 2 percussionists, piano, violin and double bass.

Reading: Chris Mayo Knotted Silk - Linda Catlin Smith (2015) and selections from the third chapter “Integration of Simultaneous Auditory Components” of Albert Bregman’s Auditory Scene Analysis (1994)..

Additional listening and score study: Charles Ives’s In Re Con Moto et al (1915/16) for string quartet, piano and optional drum, and Eldritch Priest’s Glossolalia (stress positions) (2008) for violin, clarinet, flute, double bass, percussion), and tape. 

Week 9: Performance Ritual and Interface Reconfigured in Naama Tsabar’s Propagation (Opus 3)

Focus: Naama Tsabar’s Propogation (opus 3) (2015) for Wood, speakers, amplifiers, mixers, wires, cables, piano strings, bone, cable holders, contact microphones, brass, sheet rock. 6.5 meters high x 6.8 meters wide.

Reading: Marc Couroux Evryali and the Exploding of the Interface: from Virtuosity to Anti-virtuosity and Beyond (2002).

Video: Marc Couroux le contrepoint académique (sic) (2000) for piano, James O’Callaghan’s Among Am A (2015) for mixed ensemble.

Week 10: The New Discipline and Experimentalism in Jennifer Walshe’s THIS IS WHY PEOPLE O.D. ON PILLS/AND JUMP FROM THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE

Focus: Jennifer Walshe’s THIS IS WHY PEOPLE O.D. ON PILLS/AND JUMP FROM THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE (2004) open score.

Read: Bob Gilmore’s don't do PERMISSION ISN'T (2014).

Additional listening: Bob Gilmore’s audio documentary Five maps of the experimental world (2014), Pamela Z’s Sonic Gestures Installation (2007).

*Bring instruments to class today, we will be engaging with THIS IS WHY… as musicians.

Week 11: Finding Organic Music in the Open Score of Julius Eastman’s Evil Nigger

Focus: Julius Eastmans’ Evil Nigger (1979) for open instrumentation.

Additional listening and score study: John Mark Sherlock’s Life’s Rich Pageant (2003) for Rhodes, Wurlitzer and Clavinet, Allison Cameron’s In Memoriam Robert Ashley (2014) for open instrumentation.

Week 12: Beat Generation, Drones, and Exclusive Allocation: Chiyoko Szlavnics’ Gradients of Detail

Focus:  Chiyoko Szlavnics’ Gradients Of Detail (2005/6) for string quartet.

Read: Selections from the seventh chapter “The Principles of Exclusive Allocation In Scene Analysis” of Albert Bregman’s Auditory Scene Analysis (1994)..

Additional Listening: Chiyoko Szlavnics; Inner Voicings (2014) for sine waves and ensemble, Beard Closet & Bodies that Matter’s Monument to Monument (2016), and Alvin Lucier’s Silver Streetcar for Orchestra (1988) for triangle.

Week 13: Performance of Composition Assignment #2

The final week is a concert with all of the works from composition assignment #2 performed by (predetermined ensemble).  


assignment #3 - portfolio


Due: week 13

Summary

For the portfolio assignment you will have put together your portfolio and apply to one artistic/professional development opportunity.

A successful portfolio will contain:

  1. A professional head shot
  2. 3 versions of a biography (100 words, 150 words, and 250 words)
  3. Curriculum Vitae
  4. Complete list of composed works (including a discography)
  5. A short artist’s statement (100 - 200 words)
  6. 3 sets of documentation for 3 compositions (including a/v, score, and program notes for each piece)

For the artistic/professional development application, you will choose one opportunity outlined in week 6 and submit an application. For the assignment you have to provide:

  1. The name of the opportunity and a web address for the application
  2. .pdf copies of your submission, or a screen capture for online forms.

The assignment will be scored out of 100 with each section being worth 12.5 marks.


assignment #2 - composition


Due: week 11

Summary

For the second assignment, you will need to choose a musical idea, concept, parameter,  or process that you will reconfigure in a way that challenges/questions your preconceptions about that chosen aspect of the music. An ideal example is Linda Catlin Smith’s use of the poem Moi Qui Tremblais (see your notes from week 1) to reconfigure the musicians’ (and listeners’) relationship to and understanding of rhythm/meter/pulse. See also: assigned listening/scores of weeks 7-12.

Your piece will be an acoustic composition between 4-7 minutes in length and will witten be for (predetermined ensemble) or any subset thereof. You may also incorporate electroacoustic components to the piece should they be essential to illustrating your ideas. Your work will be performed during class hours in week 13.

Because the nature of this project will yield results that may not necessarily be immediately audible to a listener (as in Smith’s Moi Qui Tremblais) more emphasis in the grading will be placed on your ability to clearly illustrate your ideas in the rationale and score.

Assignment Components and Grading

Your assignment will be a digital package that will be delivered to (my email address) as a link that gives me access to a google drive folder containing all the components of the assignment. The folder should be labeled: class code_your name_assignment 2

  1. In the folder you will be required to have the following:
  2. Work Log - labelled: class code_your name_work log 2 (20%)
  3. Rationale - labelled: class code_your name_rational 2 (30%)
  4. Score - labelled: class code_your name_score 2 (45%)
  5. Rehearsal Itinerary - labelled: class code_your name_rehearsal 2 (5%)

All written materials should be .pdf files.

Work Log

The purpose of a work log is for you to be able to track the evolution/progress of your ideas, and bring a deeper understanding to your creative process and workflow.

The log is an informal document and can take any form you like. However, each entry should be dated. It is expected that you to make entries into the log prior to and after working on your composition. Please be cognizant that “working on your composition” should include research processes (such as reading, note taking, web browsing, creation research etc) and any imagining (work done in your head) that you do.

I am not looking for a list of topics that you googled, what I am after is a document that: reflects your process throughout the writing of the piece; illustrates how your ideas have changed from beginning to end; shows that you are doing research, illustrates that you are raising questions, formulating hypotheses, and revising your work/ideas as you come in contact with new materials, resources, inspirations etc.

A successful (read: achieving a higher grade and being more beneficial to you as a composer) work log will contain: regular entries, questions with speculated outcomes and follow up reflections, lists of resources accompanied by any notes/thoughts; and reflections on practical/aesthetic/conceptual/technical aspects of your process/piece.

Lastly, there is no minimum/maximum page requirement. However, the more material in your log that there is, the easier it will be for you to demonstrate all of the above.

Rationale

750 words double spaced (minimum).

The rationale for the assignment is a formal paper. End notes should be in the Chicago Manual Style of citation.

I expect in you writing of the rationale, that you will connect the most salient aspects of your process/research (see work log) to the work itself, while demonstrating an exploration of the core of the composition assignment.

A successful rationale will address: the genesis of the work (what concepts are you interrogating? How did this interrogation catalyze your initial ideas for the piece? And so on...), questions that arose through the process, inspirations/connections to ideas/works/material etc, compositional tools employed, management of parameters, structure/form, orchestration, your intentions for how the listener may perceive the work, and any practical/ aesthetic/ conceptual/ technical aspects of your work. Please also include some reflection on how you would improve the piece if given the opportunity.

Score

The score can be hand-written or done with engraving software but should strive to meet professional engraving standards.

Your score will be assessed on:

  1. Completeness and tidiness - page numbers, rehearsal letters, title page, notes, dynamics, etc. (15 marks), formatting - is everything where it should be? Do the page turns make sense? Are the bar numbers large enough for a conductor to see? Are measures crowded? And so on. (15 marks),  
  2. and quality of the composition - clear illustration of the ideas highlighted in the rationale, inventiveness. (15 marks)
  3. Advice: when working on engraving your score, you should reference pieces with similar orchestration or ways of operating for insight into formating. Should you find discrepancies between reference scores, make a choice and address your choice in your rationale.

Rehearsal Itinerary

Your rehearsal itinerary will give a breakdown for how you would plan to run a 45 minute rehearsal of your piece with the musicians.

A successful itinerary will have: an estimated breakdown (in minutes) of how the time will be used in rehearsal; identified areas/aspects of the piece that may require more focus; and a brief explanation (akin to program notes) of your piece for the performers.




 

assignment #1 - composition


Due: week 6

Summary

For the first assignment, you will choose material created by another artist as your starting point for this composition. Your piece can be any instrumentation (acoustic or electro-acoustic), and must be between 5-10 minutes long. You will need to connect at least one idea raised in the first five weeks of class to your composition or your composition process.

The materials that you borrow can be musical - melodies, chord progressions, full pieces, recordings -, or otherwise - poems, movie dialogue, etc. What is important is that material be recognizable as being from a work other than your own. This is to say that while you may borrow concepts or processes that may not be recognizable as being from an outside work, the purpose of this project is to use someone else’s material as the catalyst for your composition (see assigned listening for weeks 2-5).

Assignment Components and Grading

Your assignment will be a digital package that will be delivered to (my email address) as a link that gives me access to a google drive folder containing all the components of the assignment. The folder should be labeled: class code_your name_assignment 1

In the folder you will be required to have the following:

  1. Work Log - labelled: class code_your name_work log 1 (25%)
  2. Rationale - labelled: class code_your name_rational 1 (25%)
  3. Recording -  labelled: class code_your name_recording 1 (10)%
  4. Score - labelled: class code_your name_score 1 (40%)

All written materials should be .pdf files and the recording should be an .mp3 file.

Work Log

The purpose of a work log is for you to be able to track the evolution/progress of your ideas, and bring a deeper understanding to your creative process and workflow.

The log is an informal document and can take any form you like. However, each entry should be dated. It is expected that you to make entries into the log prior to and after working on your composition. Please be cognizant that “working on your composition” should include research processes (such as reading, note taking, web browsing, creation research etc) and any imagining (work done in your head) that you do.

I am not looking for a list of topics that you googled, what I am after is a document that: reflects your process throughout the writing of the piece; illustrates how your ideas have changed from beginning to end; shows that you are doing research, illustrates that you are raising questions, formulating hypotheses, and revising your work/ideas as you come in contact with new materials, resources, inspirations etc.

A successful (read: achieving a higher grade and being more beneficial to you as a composer) work log will contain: regular entries, questions with speculated outcomes and follow up reflections, lists of resources accompanied by any notes/thoughts; and reflections on practical/aesthetic/conceptual/technical aspects of your process/piece.

Lastly, there is no minimum/maximum page requirement. However, the more material in your log that there is, the easier it will be for you to demonstrate all of the above.

Rationale

500 words double spaced (minimum).

The rationale for the assignment is a formal paper. End notes should be in the Chicago Manual Style of citation.

I expect in you writing of the rationale, that you will connect the most salient aspects of your process/research (see work log) to the work itself, while demonstrating an exploration of the core of the composition assignment.

A successful rationale will address: the genesis of the work (why did you choose the starting material you did? How did this material catalyze your initial ideas for the piece? And so on...), questions that arose through the process, inspirations/connections to ideas/works/material etc, compositional tools employed, management of parameters, structure/form, orchestration, your intentions for how the listener may perceive the work, and any practical/ aesthetic/ conceptual/ technical aspects of your work. Please also include some reflection on how you would improve the piece if given the opportunity.

Recording

The recording should reflect the piece that you have written - meaning everything in your score should be audible. The recording will not be graded on production value. It will be a recording of acoustic instruments or an electro-acoustic piece. No midi playbacks will be accepted.

A successful recording will have all written parts audible to the listener.

Advice: when planning your piece, consider that you will have to record it. Recording an orchestral piece will require a lot more resources (personnel, rehearsal time, recording space etc) than a piece written for an instrument (or instruments) that you can play. By all means, put together an ensemble with friends/ colleagues but plan well to accommodate practical concerns that may emerge in the process.

Should you not have access to recording equipment, please talk to me immediately and we can work something out.

Score

The score can be hand-written or done with engraving software but should strive to meet professional engraving standards.

Your score will be assessed on:

  1. Completeness and tidiness - page numbers, rehearsal letters, title page, notes, dynamics, etc. (15 marks),
  2. formating - is everything where it should be? Do the page turns make sense? Are the bar numbers large enough for a conductor to see? Are measures crowded? And so on. (15 marks), 
  3. and quality of the composition - clear illustration of the ideas highlighted in the rationale, inventiveness. (10 marks)

For electro-acoustic pieces, you will need to submit a detailed transcription (visual representation) of your piece as you hear it and all of your DAW files. If you are not familiar with electro-acoustic transcriptions, please see me for guidance.

Advice: when working on engraving your score, you should reference pieces with similar orchestration or ways of operating for insight into formatting. Should you find discrepancies between reference scores, make a choice and address your choice in your rationale.


course map


This graphic illustrates the intersection of all the learning outcomes, lesson and assignments, and key themes in the course. Click image to enlarge.


(whatness)


performance/new media

lofi signal chain disruption/ seven channel "surround sound" diffusion system/ browser instruments/ FM transmission/ sonic transduction/ plunderphonics/ tape manipulation/ social media reconfiguration and feedback

live at Gerard Art Space on October 21st, 2016 - Faster Presents: Odd Electronics

comments on the performance by Joe Strutt at Mechanical Forest Sound here

video by Xuan Ye