Composition Activity Resources

Links to resources (project descriptions, scores, recordings, videos, etc.) used for various composing, analysis and listening activities will be posted on this page.

"Voiles," by Claude Debussy (from Preludes, Book 1)

Three Pieces for Clarinet Solo, Igor Stravinsky

Fantasy On An Old English Air, by Scott Watson (Shawnee Press/Hal Leonard, Grade 4)

Night Journey (Wingert-Jones, Grade 4) - A "the making of" story for this unique piece, based on Theodore Roethke's poem.

Aesop's Fables, by Scott Watson, with narration by Margaret Clark (Alfred, Grade 5)

The Orchestra: A Users Manual - Excellent online orchestration resource from composer/musicologist Andrew Hugill. Lots of information here.

Instrument Ranges handout - Brief/simple. This is no substitute for an orchestration book or website!

Alfred Music (publisher) School Band & Orchestra Parameters - Instrumentation, ranges and more regarding Alfred Music's graded band and orchestra (string and full) series.

Non-Harmonic Tones, Diversity and Delayed Gratification

Pedal Point Explained, with Examples - Music theory's gift to composers at all levels!

Cantus Firmus in the 20th-Century - Examples of how this centuries-old technique is still being used!

Sonata Allegro Form - Analysis of Franz Josef Haydn's Piano Sonata No. 37 in D Major, movement 1.

  • Score

  • Please Note the Following Typo/Error in One of the Slides: The brief key change in measure 59 should be to the key of D, not A as the slide indicates (at around 23:03). The Roman numeral chord symbols indicated there are correct for the key of D.

Musical Offering, by J.S. Bach - A fascinating tale!

The Bad Boys of Classical Music - A fun, and hopefully poignant, podcast episode cataloguing a rogues gallery of debauched composers.

Mt. Everest, by Rossano Galante (Alfred, Grade 4)

"Ballet of the Chicks Hatching in Their Shells," from Pictures at an Exhibition, by Modest Mussorgsky


A look at some deft orchestrations of music originally written for piano. Most of these orchestrations are by the composer.

JOHN WILLIAMS - Bach of Our Time and Master Orchestrator!

Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra - video score

from Moravian College Spring 2020 Students


Scene from "Narnia"

After viewing this scene from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005, with music by Harry Gregson-Williams), discuss ways the music (i.e. tempo, scale/mode, texture, timbre/orchestration, form, compositional devices, etc.) contributes to the drama/narrative presented in the film.

Reading this exchange between two noted composers whose post-modern music raised them to a high level of regard should provoke reflection.

The Composer As Entrepreneur - A discussion by Dr. Watson