Contemporary Harmony

Course Number

This course is a study of the pervasive harmonic language and techniques of popular American song. The goal of this course is to foster an understanding of the harmonic ideas that have carried American music through the latter half of the last century, and to discover harmonic alternatives to the traditional tonal systems that pervade American popular music of this time. Students come to understand the contextual relationship between melody and harmony through observation of different song forms from different styles of popular music, including show tunes, jazz standards, blues, rock/pop/R&B, and through-composed works in the jazz idiom. Harmonic options, both diatonic and otherwise, will be observed through study of the scale(s) that relate to the chord/tonality of the moment.

Written approval of program director
Required Of
None; elective course in all graduate programs
Electable By
All graduate students
Semesters Offered
Spring, Summer
Course Chair
Casey Driessen (Valencia), Marco Pignataro (Boston)
Courses may not be offered at the listed locations or taught by the listed faculty for every semester. Consult to find course information for a specific semester.

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