Pillars of Composition

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"I learned so much from watching your work and from the knowledge you shared. Anyway, i submitted two pieces to the Film Scoring Academy of Europe's online Master's Degree Program and i got accepted into the program! So i just wanted to say thank you!

Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson

,

Composer

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Pillars of Composition | Music Composition Online Course

Build a strong foundation with Ryan Leach's music composition online course Pillars Of Composition. Suited for beginners und advanced composers.

Ryan Leach's flagship "Pillars of Composition" already helped hundreds of students to improve their music composition skills. I provides fundamental training for composers, presented in a unique and modern way. Music luminary Ryan Leach, with credits like Disney and Netflix, guides his students through over 13 hours of high quality content.

Students will get a deep understanding of the four pillars: Melody, Harmony, Accompaniment and Counterpoint. The course follows a spiral approach, with each turn Ryan expands on previous lessons.

This music composition course is well suited for beginners who want to build a solid fundamental knowledge, as well as experienced composers seeking to strengthen, develope and refreshing their core skills.

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Ryan Leach

As an 8 year old growing up in South Australia, Ryan started studying guitar so that he could play Beatles songs, which marked the beginning of a lifelong passion for music. Now an award winning composer for Film and TV, his music has been heard on every major network with clients including Disney, The California Lottery, MTV, Lowe’s, Rainn Wilson's SoulPancake, and the Netflix Original film Candy Jar. Before branching out as a freelance composer, Ryan earned a degree in Film Scoring from Berklee College of Music and worked as assistant to veteran composer Michael Levine at Hans Zimmer's Remote Control Productions.

Meet the teachers

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Fundamental Training For Composers

The course follows a spiral approach, with each turn of the spiral Ryan expands on the previous lessons:

1

Module I

In the first module Ryan covers the fundamental concepts for each of the four pillars: melody & form, harmony, accompaniment, and counterpoint.

You’ll learn what makes a memorable and useful motivic idea and how to use it to craft a musical phrase. The harmony lessons explain how to think about harmony for function, not just for color. With the accompaniment lessons you’ll learn how to actually voice the chords you’ve chosen.

And for the counterpoint lessons you’ll learn the basic concepts of counterpoint as well as how to write a 1:1 first species counterpoint to a given melody.

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He covers topics like:
  • motives
  • phrases
  • harmonic functions
  • chord voicings
  • counterpoint basics
2

Module II

The second module goes deeper with the fundamental concepts. Motives and phrases now expand into 8 bar themes with the Period and Sentence forms, two melodic formulas that once you learn will help you never be stuck writing a melody again.

The harmony lessons will take you beyond basic diatonic harmony with secondary dominants and harmonic sequences, and explain the importance of harmonic rhythm.

You’ll take the chords you learned how to voice in Module I and create interesting background accompaniment parts with them, and start to make your counterpoint sound like real music with second species counterpoint.

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You will learn about:
  • the sentence and period forms
  • harmonic rhythm
  • secondary dominants
  • accompaniment figures
  • 2nd species counterpoint
3

Module III

Things start to get serious in the third module! Ryan walks you through the small ternary, a basic ABA musical form that can serve you well for a vast majority of video game, library and film music.

Your harmony will become more colorful and emotional as you learn about modes and how to use them, and the counterpoint starts to serve a practical purpose as we learn how to use counter melodies as an accompaniment part.

And of course the counterpoint lessons keep getting deeper as third species counterpoint teaches you how to write four notes against one.

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Learn about:
  • small ternary form
  • modes
  • counter melodies
  • 3rd species counterpoint
4

Module IV

The fourth module and final module is where everything gets a final polish and shine. Your musical form expands in all directions with introductions, interludes and codas. You’ll take the modal harmony you learned in Module III and learn how to mix and match modes for powerful cinematic effects!

The final polish on accompaniment includes ways to bring music to life with fills, accents, and ornaments, and the fourth and fifth species of counterpoint will turn your counterpoint exercises into elegant flowing musical lines.

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Learn about:
  • introductions and endings
  • blend sound design with orchestral elements
  • modal interchange
  • fills and ornaments
  • 4th and 5th species counterpoint
5

BONUS: Final Projects

As a bonus section Ryan walks you through three complete projects, starting from a blank screen all the way to a final output.

Explaining every decision and idea along the way, Ryan writes an adventurous video game loop, a dark and moody production library track, and a refined TV main titles cue.

Follow along as all of the lessons and concepts from all four modules come together into real pieces of music!

road map image
Learn about:
  • introductions and endings
  • blend sound design with orchestral elements
  • modal interchange
  • fills and ornaments
  • 4th and 5th species counterpoint

Walkthroughs

1
.

First Adventure

by

Ryan Leach

"First Adventure" is an uplifting and energetic track for full orchestra that uses course elements like themes, modal interchange, and active accompaniment patterns. Built out of two main sections, the piece is designed to make the most of the Small Ternary Form by coming back around to the beginning for an endless loop.

2
.

Emerging From the Depths

by

Ryan Leach

"Emerging From the Depths" is created in Logic to show you that the principles of the course can be applied just as usefully in a DAW. The cue is composed and produced exactly like the real tracks Ryan writes for production music libraries that get major network TV placements, while adhering to the core musical principles of the course.

3
.

The Bridge Over the Abbey

by

Ryan Leach

Written as the main titles cue to a fictional BBC drama, "The Bridge Over the Abbey" is an original composition for small orchestra. Ryan walks you through every step from initial motivic idea to final arrangement and incorporates lessons from the course like contrapuntal bass lines, flowing counterlines, and a well balanced.

What students have to say

Mark Baldwin

Beginner Composer

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"Ryan's Pillars of Composition is an incredible resource.  Even for an absolute beginner, like me, the content is straightforward and provides a great roadmap to improve your compositions."

Michael Johnson

Singer/Songwriter

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“Ryan’s course is fantabulous! I’m a songwriter and composer of musical theater with 20-plus years of experience, and I can tell you that diving back with Ryan into the details of form, counterpoint, melodic construction, and harmony has proved invaluable. What’s more, I find Ryan’s straightforward approach, as well as his no-nonsense, effortless decision-making process to be joyful and awe-inspiring.”

Marcel Gruhn

Composer

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"I bought this course really quickly after release, because i knew Ryan makes high quality Videos regarding composition and orchestration on Youtube.... and it was 100 % worth it :)

The course is structered really well (the prozess of always returning to already learned techniques is really good) and for me as new composer, who just started this year the content has such a great value.

100% recommended"

Gabriel G.

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Getting Melody, Harmony, Form and Counterpoint into one course might sound almost impossible, but this course manages to break down all these aspects of composition into small units and increases the complexity in little consecutive steps that can be easily followed. The assignments after each chapter ensure that it’s never getting boring, and that the new know-how can be applied immediately.

Blake Burnett

Composer

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My composition skills were ok before I enrolled in this course. When I enrolled I began to see my compositional skills improve gradually over time.

Ryan's way of teaching is a great contributor to my overall improvement.

What you will get

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13+ hours of high quality content

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5 main sections with over 80 lessons

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unscripted creation of 3 tracks

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Lifetime access to the course

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Access to the private facebook and discord groups

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30-day satisfaction period

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An instructor who shares all his knowledge

Course Curriculum

Pre Course Info
Module I - Melody & Form
Module I - Harmony
Module I - Accompaniment
Module I - Counterpoint
Module I - Project
Module II - Melody & Form
Module II - Harmony
Module II - Accompaniment
Module II - Counterpoint
Module II - Project
Module III - Melody & Form
Module III - Harmony
Module III - Accompaniment
Module III - Counterpoint
Module III - Project
Module IV - Melody & Form
Module IV - Harmony
Module IV - Accompaniment
Module IV - Counterpoint
*BONUS* Final Project A - First Adventure
*BONUS* Final Project B - Emerging From the Depths
*BONUS* Final Project C - The Bridge Over the Abbey

Best suited for

This music composition online course is best suited for beginners as well as more advanced composers looking to improve their craft.  Learn to write melody, harmony, accompaniment, form and counterpoint, and build a strong compositional foundation. Covering everything from short motives to longer musical forms, this music composition course will help students in never getting stuck again.

Requirements

  • Basic notation reading
  • Basic understanding of music theory

Exclusive discounts for our students

All our students are eligible for discounts on libraries and plugins developed by renowned developers. This exclusive benefit alone can result in substantial savings, amounting to hundreds of dollars on composing software and libraries! See the current list below:

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Embertone

One time payment

(-%)

incl. VAT
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13+ hours of high quality content

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5 main sections with over 80 lessons

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unscripted creation of 3 tracks

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Lifetime access to the course

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Access to the private facebook and discord groups

Our top priority is your satisfaction.
Enjoy a 30-day satisfaction guarantee, and if you've completed less than 25% of the lessons, we'll grant a full refund.

For information on how we process your data have a look at our privacy policy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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