Listed in: Music, as MUSI-241
Formerly listed as: MUSI-31
Amy M. Coddington (Section 01)
How does music’s harmonic language work? What principles influence harmonic choices in different styles of music, and what do Amy Beach’s compositions, Rihanna’s songs, and Chopin’s etudes have in common? How do composers and musicians manage the intricate relationship between harmony and melody? In this course, 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 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 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.
Limited to 18 students. Professor Coddington. Hyflex format with as much face-to-face learning as possible; online elements of the course will occur via the course website, and zoom.
If Overenrolled: Preference given to first-year students and sophomores