Music Application and Theory

Course Number

This course is a study of popular music. This study begins with the aural analysis of contemporary songs, including bass motion, chord function, and aspects of the rhythm section. It leads to understanding the bass line, harmony, and rhythmic structure of these songs and creation of original pieces in major key and Aeolian mode (natural minor). Keyboard exercises, written homework assignments, and laptop computer drills provide extensive practice in musical and notational elements. Students learn to read and write major and natural minor scales in all keys and learn triads and seventh chords diatonic to those scales. The course provides exposure to chromatic variations on major key harmony: the principles of secondary dominants and modal interchange are studied in limited situations to add color and variety to diatonic harmony. These activities will decode the melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic language of most of contemporary popular music and set the stage for a detailed study of more complex and chromatic music in Harmony 2, 3, and 4.


Required Of
Electable By
All B.M. and P.D. students
Semesters Offered
Fall, Spring, Summer
Course Chair
George Russell Jr.
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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