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Techniques of the Contemporary Composer Paperback – August 7, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0028647371 ISBN-10: 0028647378 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Cengage Learning; 1 edition (August 7, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0028647378
  • ISBN-13: 978-0028647371
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #384,997 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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Introduction. 1. Basics. 2. The Tonal Legacy. 3. New Roles of Melody. 4. Harmony, Counterpoint, and Hierarchy. 5. Interval Exploration. 6. Serialism. 7. Pitch-Class Sets. 8. Rhythm and Meter. 9. Texture and Modulations. 10. Microtones. 11. Percussion and the Prepared Piano. 12. New Techniques and Instruments. 13. New Notations. 14. Indeterminacy. 15. Musique Concrete. 16. Electronic Music. 17. Algorithmic Composition. 18. Media Forms. 19. Minimalism. 20. Experimental Music. 21. Decategorization. Bibliography. Index.

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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Forbes on October 21, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book attempts to introduce most of the important techniques of modern music since 1945. This is a tall order. The years from 1945 to about 1975 were years of explosive development of new musical languages, perhaps more explosive and diverse than at any other time in musical history. What impresses most about this book is how well Cope outlines most of these techniques and how non-dogmatic and practical his approach really is.
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.)
There are some problems with the book.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Phillip Hintze on March 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is geared for a younger composer who hasn't had experience in writing in a contemporary style, or is unfamiliar with some techniques such as pitch-sets. It is practical, and it gives some exercises at the end of each chapter to give some hands-on experience with these techniques. Sure, there may not be anything groundbreaking here, but if you're unfamiliar with contemporary techniques, take a good look at this book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Music Matt on August 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
A good book that contains general information about composition techniques. I wish it was slightly more detailed. Nonetheless, it is a great book to have if your are a composer. I often find myself looking through this book when I get a case of writer's block.
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By Tessa Short on September 10, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Written in a very highminded and technical manner. It helped to actually be going through the book in class to sort through the exact meaning.
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40 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Your Pen Name on December 22, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I didn't like it. This book takes a rather 'coffee table' approach to the topic, and is very basic. I found nothing I had not seen before, and nothing to inspire new composition. Basicly, it takes each simple compositional idea, breifly explains it, and moves on. Since the ideas are rather straighforward to begin with, this isn't much use.
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.
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