Working in and around a composition (part four) Mozart K. 545 – Sonata in C major – I

By Saturday, November 6, 2010 No tags 0

Once students are comfortable with the style of Mozart and how he transformed his thematic material throughout the piece (especially the development section), I would close the instructional ‘loop’ on this piece by having students compose their own classical sonata exposition.


If students were not comfortable with their compositional skills I would limit the assignment to composing a primary theme.  The length of the composition assignment can vary to fit the needs of the class.


For the initial composition assignment, I would provide students with the left hand of the first four measures of the Mozart Piano Sonata.  Their instructions: “Compose a four-measure theme that uses the chord tones outlined in the left hand.  Passing tones and non chord tones should be used appropriately”.  If students needed more scaffolding, the instructions could be modified: ” Compose a four-measure theme that uses the chord tones of the left hand.  Only chord tones may be used.  The rhythm must consist of half notes or quarter notes.  The theme must start and end on the tonic”.

Students would complete the theme outside of class.  During the next class, we would review different examples of student work.  The next assignment would be to write dependent transitions, leading the piece into the dominant key area.  If scaffolding were needed, I would have students use only the first and second measures of their composition and sequence those measures (using V-I motion) to reach the dominant.


The secondary theme and closing themes would be completed in the same manner.  Students would continue to use the left hand of the Mozart to start their ideas in each section.  Once students were comfortable navigating through the piece, they could start to use more of their own ideas in the piece.


This assignment could easily stretch for a week.  The assignment could be abridged depending on how much class time was available.


The same type of assignment could work for other composers.

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