promotion image of download ymail app
Anonymous asked in Entertainment & MusicMusicClassical · 10 years ago

I want to learn deeper theory and to actually compose music now that I have some idea of theory, help me!?

I have recently completed my AP Music Theory class in high school a while ago, and now I want to move onto the next step by learning deeper theoretical stuff and also to how to actually compose music. Could you help on what direction I should go to?

3 Answers

  • 10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Here is how I would recommend studying harmony, counterpoint, form, and orchestration:


    Most music schools will not require you to have knowledge of music theory when you come in, but they give a test and let you out of the lower level courses if you do well on the test.

    You can get a good head start by getting a harmony textbook and studying as far ahead as you can.

    Walter Piston's textbook is good, but there other good ones.

    Incidentally, if you haven't taken piano lessons, take piano lessons now.

    I have found an almost perfect correlation between music students' piano proficiency and grades in music theory class.


    I took a one-semester counterpoint course, but I didn't get much out of it.

    Probably the best way to learn counterpoint is to analyze Bach fugues.

    There are some good Websites on the subject.


    Douglass Green's Form in Tonal Music covers the subject pretty well, but it's hard to understand.

    For studying binary and ternary form, I suggest analyzing Anna Magdalena Bach's notebook and Schumann's Album for the Young.

    For studying sonata and rondo forms, analyze everything in the Sonatina Album.

    I also suggest analyzing the Mozart piano sonatas. Then check your results with Sonata: Its Form and Meaning by F. Helena Marks.


    There are some good textbooks here.

    The newer textbooks come equipped with CD's for examples of instruments solo and in combination.

    The older textbooks describe the sounds of the instruments verbally as well as they can, but modern technology does the trick a lot better.

    Listening to a recording while following the score is another good way to spend time.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • 10 years ago

    First, It's important to realize that composition is not theory in reverse. While having a firm grasp of theory is a good basis to inform your compositional decisions, the best way to learn composition is by trial and error: to write music, have it performed, and learn from what happened for the next piece.

    Most AP and intro college music theory courses will give a basic knowledge of common era practice. For deeper theory and modern analysis you need to go to music theory journals, these are generally not available online unless you have access to JSTOR, so go to a library or college library that subscribes to JSTOR or these particular journals.

    There are also a handful of journals that publish online, though these are often not peer reviewed, meaning that some of the information is speculation, or of dubious quality.

    These are some good journals (there are plenty more out there and many that have more specific niches):

    Journal of Music Theory


    Music Theory Spectrum

    Perspectives in New Music

    And no music search would be complete without consulting Duckles Music Reference and Research

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    independent study.

    Try researching:


    exotic scales (Neopolitan major/minor, mixolydian b6 and it's modes, harmonic minor's modes, double harmonic scale and it's modes, symetrical augmented scale, modes of the diatonic scale (if you haven't already) indian ragas, arabic maquams, etc... etc...)

    alternate tuning systyms

    ethnic music

    diffrent theroys of harmony


    counterpoint (if you haven't already)

    odd time signatures

    music production

    un-orthodox classicail instrumentation (a ocarina concerto, for example)

    polymodal chromaticism

    the harmonic series and it's implication for our music.



    Let your mind roam free, nothing is unholy!

    Source(s): independent study of my own.
    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.