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Composition Courses at OU


Composition, like most great academic areas, takes years of study and practice. The OU School of Music offers many courses in general music studies, advanced topic, and specialized coursework to prepare students for careers in the field of Music Composition. Alongside the course offerings in Musicology, Theory, and general music, students have access to a handful of courses tailored to composers and their needs from the beginning stages of writing to the advanced stages of discovering your own voice.


MUTH 4853 Orchestration

A study of the characteristics of the instruments of the orchestra and their uses in combination, including historical background of orchestral style.


MUTH 5863/MUTH 4863 Advanced Orchestration

Continuation of the study of the characteristics of the instruments of the orchestra and their uses in combination covering advanced techniques and practices, including historical background or orchestral style, including the twentieth century.

This course engages the students by taking a hands-on approach to studfying the techniques used in various pieces of the repertoir critical to the understanding of orchestration throughout the course of Western music history.

No student may earn credit for both 4863 and 5863.


New Century Ensemble

This Ensemble specializes in music from the 20th century. Repertoire includes multimedia, dance, electronic, opera and chamber music. Both students and faculty participate as performers and composers. Composers are encouraged to participate, and even write for the ensemble.


New Century Improv! Ensemble

New Century Improv! Ensemble is a proud tradition for OU composers. This ensemble specializes in improvisation-based music, but also touches into more intriguing notated works should the piece fit our mission. This ensemble is built by composers, for those studying composition to experiment in improvised music with, and run exclusively by the graduate students of the Composition Studio of OU. 

In the past, this ensemble has performed peices by Terry Riley, John Cage, George Crumb, and other famed composers. Performance tools have varied widely from traditional acoustic instruments, to laptops, Kinect Sensors, and even plants. Every concert features several student compositions, as members of the composition studio are strongly recommended to take advantage of this ensemble's unique presence to push their own boundaries as a composer, and challenge them to create something new.


Music Notation

Music Notation is becoming a more relevant subject every day. To this end, The University of Oklahoma has begun to offer a Music Notation class each spring as part of the usual course offerings. This class is catered to the individuals taking it, and is for beginners looking to transcribe their ideas into a digital format, or even advanced users looking to test their knowledge and find new aspects of the software previously unfamiliar to them. 

This course currently focuses on learning Finale 2014. However, students may ask for help with other leading software such as Dorico and Sibelius from the Composition Area's Graduate Assistant staff.


Special Topics

Special Topics courses may cover a wide variety of subject-matter relevant to the composer's growth as an academic, and professional composer. These courses are usually offered for anywhere between 1 and 4 credit hours, and are taught one-on-one or in small groups. Previous iterations of these courses, when offered, have included studies on: The String Quartets of Elliot Carter, The Music of George Crumb, and the Davidovsky Synchronisms. Each course is designed by the student and professor teaching the special course study to fit what the student(s) want to achieve by taking the course.


Music Technology Courses

Click Here to see our classes offered in the field of Music Technology.