The idea behind presenting all the worked exercises from various textbooks is twofold:

Firstly, I have spent a long time trying to develop some ability in the techniques essential to composition. To this end I worked all the examples, some of them two or three times, in the books which I studied. Initially I did them using paper and pencil (and rubber!). It is not too extravagant to suggest that even artifical exercises, which by their nature focus on technical mattters, can be made to sound quite interesting and musical as actual compositions, so I don’t want all my work just to sit in a cupboard for ever. In fact, rescoring the exercises has been an opportunity to revise them and also become more fluent in their preparation (ie isoftware notation).

Secondly, now that anyone can produce and publish professional standard scores using software such as Dorico and WordPress. I thought it might be beneficial to anyone else who is working through the same exercises. Naturally, my solutions are only one of many possible, but if anyone gets stuck, or is just curious as to how someone else did them, then he can check to see how I made a particular point or solved a particular problem.

At the moment all the exercises in William Lovelock’s First Year Harmony, Second Year Harmony and Free Counterpoint are available to view. Also in preparation are all the exercises from Third Year Harmony and 108 Exercises In Harmonisation Exercises by the same author, as well as exercises from Samuel Adler’s Orchestration Workbook (4th ed).

The harmonisations I have uploaded are in two colours: notes in red are the given notes of the exercises and notes in black are what I have added to complete them.

Additionally, audio performances of harmony, counterpoint and orchestration exercises are going to be uploaded as they are made, which I will do once I have completed the scores.


Once one has acquired a fair knowledge of rudiments (meaning at least Grade 5 Distinction level), the study of harmony can begin. I recommend the three text books by William Lovelock, First Year Harmony, Second Year Harmony and Third Year Harmony. These books are not for the faint of heart and they get more and more involved as they progress. Patience and diligence are necessary at all times, as is taking the “long view”. Lovelocks communicates in a refreshingly direct, old school manner so doesn’t waste words or encourage mediocrity.

I have worked through the three books at least twice and am revising them again as I input my handwritten work into Dorico, like I have done with Free Counterpoint, so I can publish them here.


After at least two years of serious harmony practice, the study of counterpoint can begin. The textbook Free Counterpoint is every bit as good as the harmony books and it goes from beginner level to professional in its ten chapters. This is a difficult subject, and never stops being so. Some less able people mock counterpoint as being too dry and academic, but contrapuntal facility elevates one’s work enormously by adding coherence and a real touch of class and authority to a piece. It also gives confidence in writing countermelodies. We all know deep down that no amount of Monster Brass or Viking Voices, or Pulsing Synths or Infinite Reverbs and Delays, or any of the other tricks one can use nowadays can hide a substandard technique.

So, please fell free to check any of my workings of the exercises in Free Counterpoint. I have done this book three times in my life. The first time, when I was a student, I only got up to Page 80. The second time, about ten years ago, I finished the book. However, a number of the exercises was too poor to show to anyone else. Now I have finished the book again and it took about nine months, not counting a break in the middle to focus on other matters.


After these two skills are well developed then the fun really starts. There are fascinating textbooks on the subject, several of which are of great interest as historical classics. For practical study I suggest Samuel Adler’s The Study of Orchestration. I bought a hardback copy, which was the right decision, but it was really expensive (£140) and so I intend to get the most out of it. I also bought the companion Workbook for The Study of Orchestration, which has lots of examples to be worked and so is ideal for practice.


Before doing the Cinematic Composing Momentum course I had not previously composed anything for orchestra. If you are curious, there are Cubase mockups and Dorico scores under the “Works” tab at the top of each page on this site of several of the pieces I composed over the seven months of the course.