HAYDN: Online Journal of the Haydn Society of North America

Document Type



Our essay develops a historically-informed approach to the undergraduate minuet composition project, based on the second volume of Heinrich Christoph Koch’s Introductory Essay on composition (1787). In that text, Koch details how an aspiring composer might first compose a basic, unembellished minuet (what we call model form) and then, through techniques of phrase expansion, develop a more stylistically sophisticated composition (what we call elaborated form). Crucially, while Koch composes some of the text’s musical examples himself, many examples are drawn from works by Joseph Haydn. Thus, Koch teaches students to compose through analysis and imitation of works by a major living composer from his own time—one whose music is performed regularly by many small and large ensembles at colleges and universities today.