Fall 2023

Jazz Theory and Improvisation I

Listed in: Music, as MUSI-213


Bruce P. Diehl (Section 01)


This is a beginner-level course designed to explore jazz harmony and improvisation from theoretical and applied standpoints. Students will study common harmonic practices, modes and scales, rhythmic practices, 32-measure song form, and the blues, and will learn the historical contexts in which these practices have developed. An end-of-semester performance of material studied during the semester will be required alongside regular individual meetings with the instructor. One-hour ear training sections will be scheduled outside of regular class meetings. Two class meetings and two ear training section per week. This course is considered a point of entry to MUSI 341 and a pre-requisite of MUSI 246.

Prior performance experience on a harmonic instrument or voice at a basic proficiency level is assumed and necessary to fully participate in the learning examples and outcomes. Feel free to inquire about your own experience level and how it relats to the course content.

Students who have not previously taken a course in music theory at Amherst College are encouraged to take a self-administered placement exam on reserve in the Music Library and on the Music Department Website (www.amherst.edu/~music/TheoryPlacement.pdf). Students are also encouraged to discuss placement in music theory with a member of the Music Department.Limited to 12 students.

Fall Semester. Senior Lecturer Diehl. 

How to handle overenrollment: Priority given to music majors, jazz performance students, then seniors and 1st-year students.

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

MUSI 213 - LEC

Section 01
M 2:00 PM - 3:20 PM ARMU 007
W 2:00 PM - 3:20 PM ARMU 007


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