Mark Polishook

Mark has a doctorate in music composition from the Hartt School of Music, an MA in composition and theory from the University of Pittsburgh, an MM in jazz piano from the Manhattan School of Music, and a BM degree in jazz piano from the New England Conservatory of Music. His jazz piano teachers include Jaki Byard, Charlie Banacos, and Marian McPartland. He was also schooled in composition by teachers such as Eugene Kurtz, Ludmilla Uelehla, Robert Carl, and James Sellars.

As a jazz musician, he has performed with well-known jazz artists, including Ted Curson, Kenny Garrett, Cassandra Wilson, Eddie Gomez, Richard Davis, Little Jimmy Scott, Sonny Fortune, and Mark Murphy.

Mark’s first faculty position after completing his doctoral degree in music was as the jazz piano and composition instructor at the University of Maine at Augusta. Thereafter he moved to Central Washington University where he directed the music department’s composition and theory programs. His approach to teaching theory has always been extremely broad, encompassing counterpoint, harmony, contemporary approach to theory, jazz and improvisation.

Mark also taught as a Senior Fulbright Lecturer in the Electro-acoustic Music Studio at the Crakow Academy of Music. The tutorial he wrote for the SuperCollider programming language—a software system for digital sound editing and production—is used worldwide by Supercollider users and has been incorporated into the electronic music curriculum at Stanford University, the Eastman School of Music, and elsewhere.

Currently residing in Leicester in the UK, Mark teaches students both in his studio and across the globe via Skype.

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Overtone and undertone series

We often think about pitches as they're represented by the keys on a piano. But, that's only one way to think about the tones that we know and hear. For a different point of view, we can turn to the acoustical foundations upon which music in the Western art music... Read >>

Tags: learning pieces, applied theory, counterpoint, harmony

Permutations and shapes

Let's move on to another experiment with our { C B C D } sequence. Here we use those notes to generate twenty-four permutations. That is, we re-order those four notes in twenty-four different ways. The formula behind the number of possible permutations is 4! (four factorial or 4 x... Read >>

Tags: learning pieces, applied theory, counterpoint, harmony

From hearing to phrasing to key and chords

Let's experiment some more. We'll begin with simple connections among a few pitches — C, B, and D will do to start. To be sure, the advantage of working with extremely simple things in the beginning is from them we get to draw very solid conclusions. Our sequence So,... Read >>

Tags: learning pieces, applied theory, counterpoint, harmony

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