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Harris Academy

Advanced Higher Music

Electronic Dance Music Composition Booklet

Name: _____________

Date: _____________

During this task you will be creating an original composition by:

Composing skills

1.1 Analysing how a range of advanced compositional methods and music concepts are used by composers for specific effect and the contexts which influenced their work

1.2 Experimenting and using complex music concepts and compositional methods in sophisticated and creative ways to develop, refine and create original music

1.3 Develop musical ideas which make musical sense and realize your creative intentions

1.4 Critically reflecting on your music and on the musical impact of your creative choices and decisions

Understanding Music

1.1 Identifying and analysing the use of level-specific and/or other music concepts, signs and symbols

1.2 Analysing style and form, melody, harmony and rhythm and the impact of social and cultural influences on the development of music

Use this booklet along with the accompanying power point as a guide to help your creative process throughout this task.

Tick off each task as you complete it. You must also show your progress to your teacher.

Task 1

Research task

Date completed:

Task 2

Vox 5 listening task

Date completed:

UM 1.1

Task 3

Hans Zimmer listening task (Trance)

Date completed:

UM 1.1

CS 1.1

Task 4

Calvin Harris listening task (House)

Date completed:

UM 1.1

Task 5

Electronic Dance Music composition using at least 12 concepts

Date completed:

CS 1.1

CS 1.2

CS 1.3

Task 6

Identifying concepts used

Date completed:

CS 1.4

Task 7


Date completed:

CS 1.4

Task 1

Listening to any piece of electronic music (House, Trance, Electropop, Musique Concrete, Techno, Electronica, Disco, Drum and Bass), find out the following information.

Title of the song you have listened to and the composer/performer

What genre would you say this piece of music is?

How would you describe the tonality of this piece?

Are there any interesting features in this music?





Task 2 (UM 1.1)

Listen to Vox 5 by Trevor Wishart.


As you listen, identify 3 concepts present in the music.

Electronic Dance MusicMusique Concrete






Task 3 (UM 1.1 CS 1.1)

You are now going to hear two versions of the same piece of music. Firstly, listen to the original version of Time; by Hans Zimmer.


As you listen to the remixed version, which has been remixed in the style of Trance music, complete the grid below to identify differences between the two versions.


You may also wish to refer to your concept grids in your record of work):

Style/Genre, Melody/Harmony, Rhythm/Tempo, Texture/Structure/Form, Timbre/ Dynamics/Tone

Add the bar number as you identify the concepts you may also wish to annotate the score.













Version 1

Differences in version 2

Think about any ideas used in these pieces of music that you may consider using in your own composition.

Task 4 (UM 1.1, CS 1.1)

Now listen to I need your love by Calvin Harris.


As you listen, follow the score below (you can also hear the score played on Sibelius), and notate the following concepts on to the score:

Vocal Music Composition Task


Time signature

Key signature

Key of piece

Scotch snap

Dotted quaver

2 semiquavers

Interval of a 4th

Interval of an octave

Interval of a minor 3rd

Eb Chord (I)

Cm Chord (vi)

Ab Chord (IV)

Bb Chord (V)

Task 5 (CS 1.2 and 1.3)

You are now going to compose a piece of electronic dance music uses at least 12 concepts.

You should follow the brief below:

When writing your EDM composition, you may wish to use Garageband, Mixcraft or Pro Tools. You must also produce a score or a detailed performance plan.

You will have the following layers in your electronic dance composition:

1. Drum loop

Decide what time signature you want to use. You may decide to use an irregular time signature.

When creating your drum loop, you may wish to consider the use of triplets, cross rhythms or syncopation.

You must create your own drum loop you can not simply take one of the existing loops within your DAW.

2. Chordal part

You should decide whether you want to compose in a major or minor tonality, or you may decide to modulate to the relative major or minor.

What chords do you want to use and what cadences might you consider?

When thinking about your chordal part, consider the types of chords you wish to use you may use added 6ths, dominant 7ths, augmented or diminished chords.

How do you want your chordal accompaniment to be played block chords or arpeggios?

Perfect Cadence V-I

Imperfect Cadence I-V, ii-V, IV-V

Plagal Cadence IV-I

Interrupted cadence V-vi

What instrument will play your chords synthesizer, guitar, piano?

3. Bass line

This could be played by a bass guitar, a synthesizer or using a virtual instrument on your DAW.

Think about the chord pattern you used above and create your bass line using your chord sequence. Consider the use of root notes of the chord and inversions.

4. Melody line

Use passing notes in your melody these should be strong through to your next chord.

Think about the style of your melody. You may wish to consider

the use of repetition, modes, chromatic scales, melodic minor or harmonic minor scales.

5. Counter melody

Your counter melody may run in rhythm with your melody, but a 3rd or a 6th apart.

Consider the use of imitation or question and answer.

You may wish to add controls and effects to your electronic dance composition.

You must keep a log of your compositional process. This may consist of screen shots of your work, a diary or blog of your journey.

You must develop at least TWO ideas!

Although you are asked to create a composition that includes at least 12 concepts, please remember that this is a creative process and you should not simply tick off the concepts! you must be able to explain your musical journey!

Task 6 Identifying Concepts (CS 1.4)

Write down all of the concepts you have explored in this composition/improvisation task

Remember you should include at least 12 concepts.







structure /




Task 7 Candidate Extended Reflection (CS 1.4)

Comments on my learning

A qualitative description of my main musical choices and decisions

Explain, in detail, the process you have gone through to complete this composition task.

Include concepts (you may wish to refer to your concept grid on page 11), processes and technology used

Explain any decisions you have had to make, e.g. experimenting with ideas and adapting/developing as necessary

An objective review of the impact of my choices on the music I have created

How successful have you been in completing the intended outcome?

Is there anything you would have done differently? Explain why

What approaches have I used to create music which was successful in meeting my creative intentions?

What approaches were less successful and why?

Three areas for improvement in my music

Date completed: __________________________________________

Teachers signature: ______________________________________

When completing this reflection, you should critically analyse the processes you have gone through and how successful you have been in writing a composition in this style.

You may wish to complete the grid above or write your reflection out in an essay format, or if you prefer, you can record your spoken reflection.