Meeting 1 -- 16 Jan 2007
“A Poem Is Not A Lyric.” Handout:  Richard Cory texts.  (from Sheila Davis, The Craft of Lyric Writing, pp. 8-9)


Meeting 2 – 18 Jan
thinking about 1st lines – assignment: write four 1st lines using these 4 prompts
[1] question
[2] provocative statement
[3] request, suggestion or command
[4] time frame
(selected from Sheila Davis, The Craft of Lyric Writing, pp. 20-22)


Meeting 3 – 23 Jan
score handout: “Do You Want to Know a Secret?” (The Beatles).  Discussion of student 1st lines.  Assignment: 4 different rhythmic settings for a lyric (first line)


Meeting 4 – 25 Jan 2007
Discussion of previous assignment.  Reading Assignment:  read/listen Kachulis, The Songwriter’s Workshop: Melody, pp. 1-48.


Meeting 5 – 30 Jan
MEET IN COMPUTER LAB.  Steptime music entry in Sonar Home Studio. Handout .doc file


Meeting 6 – 1 Feb meet in piano room
melodies based on chord tones and non-chord tones.  Composition Assignment: compose two melodic phrases or fragments, one using only chord tones, one using some non-chord tones.  Identify the non-chord tones. 

Examples:  Beatles, “Got to Get You Into My Life.”  (big intervals, chord tones)

James Brown, “Get Up Offa That Thing,  rhythmic, speech-like text setting; one-chord

Poptude #3 “A Song About Non-Chord Tones” (handout).  

Purcell, “Dido’s Lament” (handout)  presented but not discussed

Reading Assignment:  read/listen Kachulis, The Songwriter’s Workshop: Harmony, pp. 1-30.


Meeting 7  - 6 Feb
Discussion of previous assignment.  – looking at Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.  Melody using 99% chord tones only; use of motif (rhythm and pitch contour); transposing the motif and varying which chord tones are used; large-scale use of the scale going down as background organizing device, with rising motives in the foreground.   No new assignment.


Meeting 8  -- 8 February 2007
ASSIGNMENT: create one four-bar phrase using two chords (I recommend choosing I & IV or I & V).   Create the phrase from two sub-phrases that both use the same rhythm (rhythmic motif).  (see p. 50, Melody text).  For Tuesday, 13 Feb.  USE MUSIC MANUSCRIPT PAPER

chords from one key (pp. 31-36 in HARMONY text)
“power” and all that
root movement by 5ths, 2nds

 progression (V-I) Cycle of 5ths progression.  Ex. “I Will Survive,” “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” simple mix of I-IV-I and I-IV-V-I:  Green Day, “St. Jimmy.”  avoiding or delaying  V-I, Schubert, “Gretchen Am Spinnrade  

retrogression, (V-IV-I)  rock, blues.  Blues demo website; 

root movement by 3rds (no common tones)

root movement by 3rds in same key.  The Beatles, “Eleanor Rigby” (i-VI).  Weak, claustrophobic.  She doesn’t get out much.  Nor does Father McK.    Green Day, “Give Me Novacaine” (I-vi)
(examples in blue-gray text were not presented yet)

chord sequences within one key (handout: Poptude #10 Simple Chords)


Meeting 9 Tuesday, 13 Feb
Discussion of previous assignment results.
  Good variety of approaches! 
overview of song forms from simple to complex (For more details, see this handout)

Strophic “AAA”

Verse-chorus (verse refrain)

            Verse –“pre-chorus” (rise) – chorus

Classic 32-bar AABA

Hybrid or compound AABA

ASSIGNMENT:  Bring in some text for a song, from a title to a complete lyric.  Class discussion will be centered around finding appropriate forms.

NOTE ERROR IN HARMONY BOOK: p. 48, Example 3.23 (second example on page) the last chord numeral should be V (not I).


Meeting 10 – Thursday 15 Feb
Discussion of previous assignment results.   thinking about form – some history.  Listening “Barb’ry Allen.” 
“Let Yourself Go,” Irving Berlin, 1936 (handout)

  Where are you going to put your title?  ASSIGNMENT: Revise or expand work from today.


Meeting 11
film clip:  Ginger Rogers sings “Let Yourself Go,” Irving Berlin, 1936, in Follow The Fleet.
the joys of TEXTPAINTING (notes in .doc format)
borrowed chords, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road  using
bVI, bIII, and bVII to create harmonic distance but still relating to the key.
ASSIGNMENT: Revise or expand work from 15 Feb


Meeting 12 – 22 February 2007
Discussion of 2 sets of lyrics by students. 
Contrasting rhyme schemes
Handout “Poptude #6 – Just Do the Work” & discussion of Dorian mode.
  See Harmony, p 41.  Syncopation.  Polyrhythmic implications of the James Brown style.


Meeting 13 – 27 Feb
thinking about rhyme:  a handout of suggestions (.doc format)
ASSIGNMENT:  identify techniques used in the U2 song “One  (see handout)


Meeting 14 – Thursday, 1 March
review of borrowed chords using the textbook.
more textpainting: Cole Porter, “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” stepwise organization of melody

Meeting 15 – Tuesday, 6 Mar –
discussion of student work


Meeting 16 – 8 Mar
discussion of student work

Meeting 17 – 13 Mar
finding chords for a melody; pentatonic melodies.  Handout:  Irving Berlin, “Blue Skies.” 

Contrasts & Oxymorons in “Blue Skies”

Ø  Pentatonic melody mm 1-8 (repeated mm. 9-16) against

Ø  Chromatic bass line

Ø  Complex chord progression that include augmented and diminished chords


Ø  Bridge ALL stepwise motion, in contrast to the gappy pentatonic motion and leaps in the A melody

Ø  Bridge melody emphasizes half-steps, in contrast to the half-step-free (anhemitonic) pentatonic

Ø  In contrast to the harmonic sweep of the A section, the bridge has a simple repeated back-and-forth motion (I-iv)


Ø  Happy sentiment in text contrasted by

o    Descending chromatic bass line

o    Opening minor chord; borrowed minor IV chord in bridge


Meeting 18 – 15 mar
getting’ groovy – RHYTHM.  Presentation of Poncho Sanchez DVD on Latin rhythms.  (DVD is in the library.)  Take away points:  [1] straight eighth-notes can be interesting – depending on variations in accent & polyrhythmic implications. [2] think in rhythmic units larger than just one bar.  Example: the clave pattern.




April 16, 18, 2007
DVD Before the Music Dies


April 23, 25, 2007
Harmony – varying within the phrase
contrasting key areas for chorus, bridge

 rev. 2007

David Meckler



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