Piano Composition Assignment MUS 111   William Wieland
This composition would be excellent for your e-portfolio or grad school application. I can also place it on my website if you wish. See Free Piano Music.
  • original music created by you this semester
  • at least 16 measures
  • You must be able to play it.
  • a beautiful melody in the right hand on the upper staff
  • wonderful harmony outlined by the left hand on the lower staff (You might refer to the Tree of Harmony.)
Much piano writing is one note at a time in the right hand and one note at a time in the left hand. Remember the guidelines of last semester's 2-Part Counterpoint Assignment.
Boom, Boom, Indian Drum by Fling — tonic and dominant in the left hand
Dance by Kabalevsky — block chords in the left hand
Andantino by Kohler — triad arpeggios in the left hand
Mozart's famous Sonata in C major uses excellent voice leading in both the alberti bass and scalar passages. (Make a reduction.)
Chopin wrote almost exclusively for piano. We can learn much from his compositions.
If you are having trouble getting started, you might
  • first write a beautiful melody, then harmonize it. Bach frequently did this. This is like harmonizing an unmarked melody for the keyboard competency except that you are composing the melody.
  • first write a wonderful harmonic progression, then compose a melody above it. Jazz and blues musicians do this. We did it last semester when we melodized a harmony.
  • invent an ostinato at the piano and then add a second part.

GRADING RUBRIC — You begin with 95 points.

I deduct 95 points if I receive nothing.

I deduct 30 points if I receive a rough draft, but no final draft.

I deduct 15 points if I receive a final draft, but no rough draft.

10 point deductions
  • The rough draft is late.
  • The composition is late.
  • The work is fewer than 16 measures long.
  • I am unable to perform the piece.
3 point deductions
  • No tempo markings
  • No dynamic markings
  • No articulations
  • No interpretive markings
At the instructor's artistic discretion, your grade may be raised as many as 10 points or lowered as many as 5 points.