Here is the first part of my basic compositional technique seminar. Since most everyone here has tried composing before I am going to cut you guys loose... a little bit... on the first assignment.
What we want to work on here is the basic manipulation of the motive and how important it is to everything that is composed. The best example of the use of motive is also the easiest to pick out the motive on listening. Beethoven composed his 5th Symphony based on the very famous four note motive.
Motive consists of two elements:
1. Actual notes
The first element can be manipulated using the following methods:
1. Transposition: This is the most used. Note the opening bars of Beethoven's 5th. The first time the motive is played it is G G G Eb. Then this main motive is transposed in the next figure to F F F D.
2. Inversion: This is, simply stated, flipping the tones upside down. A note in the motive is used as a pivot and the others move around it. It is best to see it done to understand it better. There is a sample in the attached pdf.
3. Retrograde: The motive is written backwards.
4. Augmentation: The motive is extended at the end with extra notes.
5. Retardation: Some of the motive notes are left out. Makes the motive shorter.
The second element can also be used in very interesting ways. Different notes applied to the same motive rhythm are allowable.
Study the brief pdf file showing the ways that the motive can be manipulated carefully. Compose a short piece for solo, unaccompanied clarinet using this motive. Do not think about harmony or scales yet. Keep the intervals in tact, so there should not be any minor seconds or thirds during the motive, but inbetween instances of the motive any interval can be done.
Do not concern yourselves with form or chords yet. Consider this a free form piece.
This is a simple exercise meant to teach motivic development. Good luck and post your assignments here when completed. You should also leave any comments or questions here.