What is Composition Lab?

 

Composition Lab is a new resource to support students and teachers involved in the composition element of GCSE and A'level music which has been specially devised by Psappha, Manchester's new music ensemble.

Through more than 100 bitesize films presented by Charles Hazlewood we explore every orchestral instrument through five different ensembles using twenty-one of the North West's top professional musicians.

Begin your exploration in the 'learn about...' section as Charles Hazlewood guides you through music from Beethoven to Peter Maxwell Davies and styles ranging from ragtime to contemporary.  We look at how a work is composed, performances, instrumental techniques and a special interactive section, 'mix your own', in which you have the opportunity to literally mix your own version of the piece or listen to the inner lines, the choice is yours!

You can also find short programme notes and biographies of the composers as well as background information on the instrument groups written by eminent musicologist, Paul Griffiths. We also provide the tonal ranges of the instruments and manuscript paper set up for the ensembles we showcase. All of this can be downloaded as useful PDFs for further off-line use.

There is no particular start or end point and the site can be dipped into but we would recommend the progression of 'learn about...' in which you will get inside a piece and then you can continue on to 'performances' and 'mix your own' which is where the fun starts.

The 'what is that sound?' section gives more in depth information about each instrument and instrument family which will become more useful as you start to compose.

We will continue to develop and fine tune the site over the coming months and your feedback is gratefully appreciated.

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