Spring 2023

Tonal Harmony and Counterpoint

Listed in: Music, as MUSI-341


Amy M. Coddington (Section 01)


As musicians, we sometimes forget how powerful harmony is. We casually drop the term in conversation. We think of it as common knowledge. Well, in a way, it is. Emerging in the 17th century in Western Europe and eventually spreading to many places around the world, this musical system has come to play a tremendous role in our perception of musical structure and our emotional experience as listeners.We find harmony in concert halls, coliseums, and coffeehouses, jazz clubs, movie theaters, and mosh pits. Inextricably bound to our digital-download algorithms for "happy", "focus-flow", and "lo-fi cool down", it is built into our playlists. Through composition, analysis, dictation and performance, we will develop theoretical and practical tools to cultivate a deep understanding of the conventions of tonal harmony across a variety of styles. We will use counterpoint - the combination of melodic lines - to amplify our examination.

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. Fall and Spring semester.

How to handle overenrollment: Preference given to first-year students and sophomores

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: artistic work, aural analysis, readings, written work, oral presentations, and group work.

MUSI 341 - LEC

Section 01
M 12:00 PM - 12:50 PM ARMU 212
W 12:00 PM - 12:50 PM ARMU 212
F 12:00 PM - 12:50 PM ARMU 212


Other years: Offered in Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Fall 2024, Spring 2025