ROnce one has acquired a fair knowledge of rudiments (meaning at least Grade 5 Distinction level), the study of harmony can begin. I recommend the three text books by William Lovelock, “First Year Harmony”, “Second Year Harmony” and “Third Year Harmony”. These books are not for the faint of heart and they get more and more involved as they progress. There is a need for patience and diligence at all times, as well as taking the “long view”. His communication style is old school, so he is direct and doesn’t waste words on false praise.
I have worked through the three books twice and will revise the second workthrough as I input all my handwritten work into Dorico, like I have done with “Free Counterpoint”, so I can publish them here.
After at least two years of serious harmony practice, the study of counterpoint can begin. I suggest using the textbook “Free Counterpoint”. This is a difficult subject, including for many professional composers. Some people mock counterpoint as being too dry and academic, but contrapuntal facility elevates one’s work enormously by adding coherence and a real touch of class to a piece. It also gives confidence in writing countermelodies. We all know that no amount of Monster Brass or Viking Percussion, or Pulsing Synths or Infinite Reverbs and Delays, or any of the other tricks one can use nowadays can hide a mediocre technique.
Please fell free to check any of my workings of the exercises in “Free Counterpoint”. I have done this book three times in my life. The first time when I was young, I gave up around Page 80 before the end of the Three Part Copunterpoint section. The second time, in 2015, I finished the whole book. Many of the exercises were too poor to aloow anyone else to hear them. Now I have finished the book again. It about a year, done in two sections, due to my doing the Cinematic Composing Momentum Course.
After these two skills are well developed then the fun really starts. There are fascinating textbooks on the subject, several of which are historical classics. I suggest Samuel Adler’s “The Study of Orchestration”. I bought a hardback copy, which was the right decision, but it was really expensive (£140) and so I intend to get the most out of it. I also bought the companion “Workbook for The Study of Orchestration” and use that for practice.
As this site develops I will put post some worked examples.
Before doing the Cinematic Composing Momentum course I had not previously composed anything for orchestra. If you are curious, there are Cubase mockups and Dorico scores under the “Works” tab at the top of each page on this site of several of the pieces I composed over the seven months of the course.
Thank you for listening.