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Techniques of the Contemporary Composer 1st Edition
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I have to strongly disagree with one of the reviewers below. This book is certainly not in depth...and Cope's fund of techniques tend to favor the modernist and stop about 1975 or so,,,but honestly, most innovation in compositional technique did stop about 1975. Music written since that time has tended to develop one or more of these techniques, but not really break new ground. (Even in electronic music, the new ground broken has been primarily technical, innovative in instruments and computer usage, but not really innovative in basic langauge.
None of the sections in this book gets an exhaustive cover. If you find yourself interested in twleve-tone or serial composition, you may need to aquire other books...if your interest is peaked by aleatoric procedures, other books will be needed. The purpose of this book is not to be exhaustive, but to whet the appetite of the younger composer. I am no longer a young composer, and yet I found some techniques that, while not new to me, I had never previously considered in any serious way. (The chapter on Pitch Class Sets was excellent. I had never thought seriously about these as compositional techniques, more as methods of analysis. I found the chapter to be rich and to spur many ideas for both my compositions and my improvisational group work.)
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Any musician in contact with the latest music styles and even relatively old electronic toys (such as the sequencer), will find this book rather useless - especially the chapters on algorithmic and electronic music. The stuff here is really old hat!
I was looking for inspirational new composition techniques. Didn't find it here. Still, if you won't listen to any music that wasn't written for full orchestra, beleive that all real music has to be written out with pen and paper and are looking for a simple overveiw of some 'new fangled tricks' that people have tried in the last hundred years to kick start their writing process, you may find something here of use.