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Course Syllabus

Course: MUSC 4130

Division: Fine Arts, Comm, and New Media
Department: Music
Title: Commercial Arranging

Semester Approved: Fall 2019
Five-Year Review Semester: Fall 2024
End Semester: Summer 2025

Catalog Description: This course focuses on the practical application of composition skills learned in Music Theory I-IV. Emphasis will be placed on the creation of musical arrangements for a wide variety of instrumental and vocal ensembles. Topics of study will include the ranges and colors of instruments and voices and their idiomatic styles. Additional topics will include an emphasis on commercial arranging, alteration, and other forms of musical adaptation and their relation to copyright laws and licensing.

Semesters Offered: Fall
Credit/Time Requirement: Credit: 3; Lecture: 3; Lab: 0

Prerequisites: Music Theory IV (MUSC 3120)

Justification: Arranging courses are typically required of music composition majors throughout the state of Utah and are a standard part of music major degrees at most colleges and universities accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music. Courses in commercial arranging are also typically found in commercial music programs throughout the United States.

Student Learning Outcomes:
Students will be able to write idiomatic and appropriate arrangements for a variety of instrumental and vocal combinations, especially those commonly encountered in commercial music.  Arrangements will be created using Digital Audio Workstations, or live instruments, and will be performed in class.

Students will demonstrate an understanding of contemporary instrumental and vocal styles as well as all musical terms associated with these styles.  Students will be required to do short presentations on commercial repertoire, explaining the musical elements of each piece, such as dynamics, articulation, range, timbre, texture, rhythm, etc.

Using a variety of compositional techniques, students will compose short works that are easily understood and playable by other musicians.  These works will be performed in class by the students in the class

Students will develop skills in various Digital Audio Workstations and notation software Each assignment will be turned in and/or performed using a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) and transferring the assignment to an mp3, or using notation software to have live musicians perform it.

Course topics will include instrumental and vocal ranges, idiomatic instrumental styles, melodic interpretation and variation, harmonic and rhythmic backgrounds, music color and texture, copyright law, and commercial music styles and historical practices.

Key Performance Indicators:
Students in this course will be evaluated using the following methods:

Attendance 20 to 25%

Presentations: Students will compose short arrangements for a variety of instrumental and vocal combinations that are technically correct, playable by other students in the course, and written in a proper range for each instrument/voice in the ensemble. 25 to 30%

Exams: Through written exams students will define specific musical terms associated with commercial arranging styles, music theory, traditional arranging practices, and copyright law. 25 to 30%

Final Project 20 to 25%

Representative Text and/or Supplies:
Modern Arranging Technique by Gordon Delamont. Kendor Music, Inc. Current Edition.

"Arranged by Nelson Riddle", by Nelson Riddle

Music Composition for Film and Television, by Lalo Schifrin

Pedagogy Statement:
The teaching method of this course is a mix of lecture, discussion and hands on manipulation of musical materials. The students and teacher discuss many different pieces of commercial repertoire as a group, and analyze commercials, films, scores, recordings throughout history, as well as current musical styles. Assignments are turned in using a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) primarily. However, notation software is used frequently, especially when performing works live. The final exam is turned in in the form of a final project using a DAW.

Instructional Mediums:

Maximum Class Size: 18
Optimum Class Size: 12