Music Composition Techniques 2: Tension & Release

Jason Allen, PhD, Ableton Certified Trainer

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35 Videos (3h 26m)
    • Welcome & Intro

      5:07
    • My Background

      6:43
    • Why Tension And Release

      3:02
    • Review Tools

      2:47
    • Review Process

      2:52
    • Long Term And Short Term

      8:06
    • Forms We Know

      3:05
    • Forms That Create Drama

      4:44
    • Sonata Form Definition

      2:11
    • 4 Elements Of Sonata Form

      8:58
    • Sonata Form Example

      16:35
    • Using Sonata Form for Tension

      5:41
    • Modern Uses Of Form and Tension

      1:55
    • Muse: Butterflies And Hurricanes

      10:21
    • Meter And Tension

      4:54
    • Stylistic Concerns

      7:36
    • Compound Meters

      3:09
    • Alternating Compound And Duple Meters

      6:07
    • Rhythmic Patterns

      7:39
    • Pattern Obfuscation

      7:36
    • Example: Glass

      5:16
    • Example: Aporia

      4:03
    • Consonance And Dissonance

      8:23
    • Prolonged Dominant

      6:42
    • Emphasized Resolution

      5:29
    • Pedal Tones

      9:15
    • Long Resolutions of Pedal Tones

      3:38
    • Pedal Tones in Higher Voices

      7:08
    • Example: Ventolin

      6:25
    • Combining Techniques

      7:38
    • Example: Kinesthesia, Movement 7

      10:40
    • Intersections Of Film Example

      5:55
    • Composing For Films

      3:14
    • Coming Soon: Film Music

      1:13
    • Thanks & Bye!

      1:26

About This Class

When most people think of a composer, they imagine someone sitting in a dusty attic with a grand piano, big white wig, and the year is 1800. That might have been accurate back then, but the modern composer is just like you and me. In fact, I am one. 

In this course I'll show you techniques I use for writing music in a variety of styles and situations. I've worked with major American orchestras, film studios, and video game designers, so I've got more than a little experience. I'm also a PhD in music composition and a university professor (of music composition). 

Recently I was named as a semi-finalist for the Grammy Foundation's Music Educator of the Year award because of my in-person university classes. Now I'm taking those classes to Udemy in an online format in order to reach more students, and give them the joy of Music Theory.

I'm planning on making several "sections" of this class, and this is Part 2. As the class grows, we will go deeper and deeper into my techniques. This class is focused on the creating a sense of Tension and Release: one of the most fundamental concepts in music composition.

In this class, we will cover:

  • My background, and listen to some of my music
  • Why Tension and Release?
  • Tools of the trade: Software
  • Tools of the trade: Pencils and fine paper
  • Long Term and Short Term Tensions
  • Using Form for Tension and Release
  • Forms that Create Drama
  • Sonata Form
  • The 4 Elements of Form
  • Example: Mozart, Moonlight Sonata
  • Composing with Sonata Form
  • Modern Uses of Sonata Form
  • Example: Muse, Butterflies and Hurricans
  • Tension and Release with Meter
  • Compound Meters
  • Meter Signatures
  • Alternating Compound and Duple Meters
  • Using Rhythm for Altering Expectations
  • Rhythmic Patterns
  • Pattern Obfuscation 
  • Example: Philip Glass, Truman Show Soundtrack
  • Example: Allen, Aporia
  • Using Harmony for Tension and Release
  • Consonance and Dissonance
  • Prolonging Dominant
  • Emphasized Resolution
  • Pedal Tones
  • Moving "Pedal Tones"
  • Example: Aphex Twin, Ventolin
  • Combining Multiple Techniques
  • Example: Mozart, Sonata in C
  • Example: Allen, Angel of Repose
  • Film Music and Tension Cues
  • Composing for Films
  • Any much, much, more! 

And of course, once you sign up for this "section" of the class, future sections will come to you at steep discounts! Over half off for all future sections!

You will not have another opportunity to learn Music Composition in a more comprehensive way than this. Start here.

Dr. Jason Allen is an Ableton Certified Trainer, and a PhD in Music Composition and master of Electronic Sounds. His music has been heard internationally in film, radio, video games, and industrial sound, as well as the concert hall and theater. His 2015 album, Aniscorcia, reaching the CMJ Top200 Charts and radio broadcasts nationwide. In 2014 he was named a semi-finalist for the Grammy Music Educator Award.

He currently as an adjunct professor of composition at the University of St. Thomas, and the CEO of Slam Academy in Minneapolis.

Praise for classes by Dr. Jason Allen:

  • "Without a doubt the best explanation and east of use that one can get. It leaves you enough room to go explore. The classes go by quick, so you can be on your way at being proficient. What are you wait for!"
  • "Amazing - Seriously Loved It! I took all his courses and have to say I'm so happy! Learnt loads! Jason is an awesome teacher!"
  • "I have never had any formal training in music at all. Trying to learn all the notes and how everything translated was a serious challenge. After going through this class, Dr. J has totally brought down the barriers. The content was very useful and was easy to grasp for me."
  • "I like these courses because you can get up and running quickly without having to spend hours of time wading through TMI (too much information!). Jason hits the high points but shows you what you need to know. Thanks!"
  • "I've watched many other videos on scales and chords before, however, this one has been the best. I now understand minor scales and chords and even how to analyze songs. It really gave me the confidence to start producing music because I feel like I have some structure and guidelines to follow. AWESOME!"
  • "Clear and Informative - Jason has a clear uncluttered style (with the important dashes of humor) of presentation that is focused on the important key aspects of this course. Recommended for those starting out!"
  • "Dr. Allen does it again with his music theory series. This course really opened up everything I learned from the 1st section, and now I understand more about the composition side of things for music. I highly highly recommend this course to anyone!!! Really opened my eyes to many things I wasn't aware of."
  • "The Best Teacher Ever, who makes you understand the ins & outs of Music Theory by all means without giving what you don't want to know."

5 of 5 students recommendSee All

The core idea presented in this course is incredibly useful to me: I always got told to just try to vary the harmony and rhythm by trial and error and never had any kind of strategy on how to approach composition. Results would be good most times but I never really felt as if I knew where I was going and how I could create variation. I will definitely be looking into Jason's other courses and thoroughly recommend this one!
Jason is an excellent teacher with a great deal of knowledge. The breadth of the is course is very wide including examples in Classical, Rock and Electronic. If you want to understanding what skills you need to bring to your DAW then this is the course for you. I have purchased many of Jason's other courses and I highly recommend them all.

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Students

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Projects

Jason Allen

PhD, Ableton Certified Trainer

J. Anthony Allen has worn the hats of composer, producer, songwriter, engineer, sound designer, DJ, remix artist, multi-media artist, performer, inventor, and entrepreneur. Allen is a versatile creator whose diverse project experience ranges from works written for the Minnesota Orchestra to pieces developed for film, TV, and radio. An innovator in the field of electronic performance, Allen performs on a set of “glove” controllers, which he has designed, built, and programmed by himself. When he’s not working as a solo artist, Allen is a serial collaborator. His primary collaborative vehicle is the group Ballet Mech, for which Allen is one of three producers.

In 2014, Allen was a semi-finalist for the Grammy Foundation’s Music Educator of the Year.

J. Anthony Allen teaches at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN., and is an Ableton Live Certified Instructor. He has a PhD in music composition, 2 Master’s degrees in music composition and electronic music, and a bachelors degree in guitar performance. Through his academic travels, Dr. Allen has received numerous awards along the way.

Born and raised in Michigan, Allen has worked with many forms of interactive media including audio, video, installation and dance. Mr. Allen’s work has been experienced all over the world, and has been called “a study in ominous sound and motion,”(Baltimore Sun) “An aural hallucinogen,” (Minnesota Public Radio) and “A beautiful and engaging use of technology. ” (Cogapp: The Art and Science Blog). In 2003 Allen joined the team of the Spark Festival of Electronic Music and Art where he was the assistant director and lead producer through 2009.