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Unit information: Technical Studies II: Introduction to Baroque Composition in 2015/16

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Unit name Technical Studies II: Introduction to Baroque Composition
Unit code MUSI10048
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Scott
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Music
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

In this unit, students will study the harmonic and contrapuntal procedures of the baroque period with reference primarily to the work of Corelli and Bach. The emphasis will be on 2-part writing, beginning with the composition of simple dance movements for violin and continuo in the manner of Corelli and gradually progressing towards the 2-part invention style of Bach. At various stages, the developing harmonic language of the period will be explored with reference to BachÂ’s chorale harmonisations. Students will also be given an opportunity to develop further their fluency and confidence in the application and practice of figured bass.


The unit aims to introduce key stylistic features of baroque instrumental music through the study of models and the composition of pastiche examples. It provides an opportunity to further an analytical appreciation of musical structures introduced in Technical Studies I, to apply fundamental harmonic principles learnt in that unit to the composition of whole sections or movements and to provide a grounding that will serve as a useful foundation for other pastiche compositional work at later stages of the BA programme. Wherever possible, selected models and examples will be illustrated through live performance in class.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Successful completion of this unit will enable students:

  1. to compose simple dance movements for violin and keyboard in the baroque style
  2. to compose 2-part counterpoint for keyboard in the style of J. S. Bach
  3. to harmonise chorales fluently.
  4. to identify and discriminate between the various stylistic characteristics of baroque instrumental repertoires, and to apply these characteristics in appropriate ways

Teaching Information

Weekly lecture (I hour.) and progress tutorials.

Assessment Information

Two coursework assignments (50%) and an extended final assignment (50%)

Successful attainment of learning outcome 4 will enable students to demonstrate outcomes 1, 2 and 3.

Reading and References

  • Piston, W. (rev. ed. by DeVoto, M.), Harmony (London, 1978)
  • Corelli, Sonatas for Violin and Continuo, op.V

Handel: Solo Sonatas

  • J.S. Bach (ed. A. Riemenschneider), 371 Chorale Harmonisations (New York, 1941)
  • J.S. Bach, Two-part Inventions