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Music Composition

The science or art of arranging music by ordering tones or sounds in succession, in combination or in temporal relationships to produce a composition having unity and continuity.


  1. Only one (1) original notarized composition with six (6) copies of the notarized original should be submitted on or before the specified deadline.
  2. The top of each page must include the contestant’s name, page number and unit name and number.
  3. The composition must be neatly and precisely written on music manuscript paper, in such a manner that any trained musician could perform the composition. Before submission, all electronically generated manuscripts (Finale, Sibelius, etc.) must be proofread to ensure proper quantization in the final print generated composition.
  4. The contestant must provide a CD recording of the composition and be prepared to perform or have the composition performed on site. A piano will be the only instrument provided.
  5. The composition must not exceed five (5) minutes.

Note: The deadline for submission of national registration documents is the first Friday in May. No materials or copies will be accepted at the National Competition.

Contestants Will Be Judged By The Following Criteria

  • Creative sense  (10 pts)
  • Form  (20 pts)
  • Harmonic and rhythmic interest  (20 pts)
  • Strength of melodic line  (20 pts)
  • Use of theory  (20 pts)
  • Quality of transcript  (10 pts)

Click Here to Submit an Online Application

 Click Here to Download the Requirements and Judging Criteria for all ACT-SO Categories.

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