Listed in: Music, as MUSI-241
Formerly listed as: MUSI-31
How does music’s harmonic language work? What principles influence harmonic choices in different styles of music, and what do Bach chorales, Adele’s music, and Broadway showtunes have in common? How do composers and musicians manage the intricate relationship between harmony and melody? In this class, we’ll develop a deeper understanding of conventions of tonal harmony in music from popular and classical traditions, among others. Students will learn how to recognize, categorize, create, and manipulate diatonic harmonies through composition, analysis, dictation, and other aural skills, and will learn how harmonic language contributes to our conceptions of musical style and genre. A large portion of the musical examples will be drawn from the current repertoire of Amherst ensembles—including campus acapella groups, Amherst Symphony Orchestra, Concert Choir, student jazz combos, among others—and emphasis will be placed on improving students’ proficiency in connecting musical sound and musical notation.
This course is the first of the required music theory sequence for majors. Three class meetings and two ear-training sections per week. Students who have not previously taken a course in music theory at Amherst College are encouraged to take a self-administered placement exam available on reserve in the Music Library and on the Music Department Website (https://www.amherst.edu/academiclife/departments/music/theoryexam ). Students are also encouraged to discuss placement in music theory with a member of the Music Department.
Requisite: MUSI 112 or consent of the instructor. Fall and spring semesters. Assistant Professor Coddington.