Minor in the Theory of Jazz and Popular Song

The minor in the theory of jazz and popular song affords students the opportunity to focus on music theory through 12 credit hours of specialized advanced study beyond the core music curriculum. At the heart of the minor are the three harmony courses:

  • HR-325 Reharmonization Techniques (2 credits)
  • HR-335 Advanced Harmonic Concepts (2 credits)
  • HR-345 Advanced Modal Harmony (2 credits)

In these courses students explore historically important styles through listening, analysis, composition, and arranging. The remaining six credit hours may be chosen freely from a broad list of specified electives that span a wide variety of classic, popular and ethnic styles. Examples include Harmonic Analysis of Rock Music, Harmony in Brazilian Song, the Music of the Beatles, Music of the Yellowjackets, South Indian Rhythmic Solfege and Jazz/World Music, and Contemporary Application of 12 Tone Techniques. 

Entrance Requirements

There are no entrance requirements for this minor. Students must follow the regular declaration of minor procedure as outlined in the Registration Guide. This minor is managed by the Harmony and Jazz Composition Department

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of a theory of jazz and popular song minor, students will:

  • transcribe increasingly advanced songs from various contemporary music styles;
  • analyze the underlying theoretical structures of various contemporary music styles;
  • synthesize advanced music theory and apply it to their own musicianship;
  • apply their enhanced theoretical knowledge as they develop an individual voice and enhanced creativity in both composition and performance; and
  • prepare for graduate work in the fields of ethnomusicology, jazz studies, music theory, or jazz composition.
Curriculum and Courses

Required Courses (three courses; 6 credits)

  • HR-325 Reharmonization Techniques (2 credits)
  • HR-335 Advanced Harmonic Concepts (2 credits)
  • HR-345 Advanced Modal Harmony (2 credits)

Elective Courses (choose three from the following; at least 6 credits)

  • HR-241 Harmony in Brazilian Song (2 credits)
  • HR-261 The Music of the Beatles (2 credits)
  • HR-351 The Solo Careers of the Beatles (2 credits)
  • HR-355 The Music of the Yellowjackets (2 credits)
  • HR-361 World Music Materials and Concepts for the Contemporary Musician (2 credits)
  • HR-365 The Music of Stevie Wonder (2 credits)
  • PSHR-321 Harmonic Considerations in Improvisation 1 (2 credits)
  • PSHR-322 Harmonic Considerations in Improvisation 2 (2 credits)
  • PSW-350 South Indian Rhythmic Solfege and Jazz/World Music 1 (2 credits)
  • CM-320 From Brubeck to Tigran: Complex Rhythm in Contemporary Composition
  • CW-255 Contemporary Application of 12-Tone Concepts (2 credits)
  • PSW-235 World Percussion for Nonpercussionists (2 credits)
  • PW-240 Compositional Techniques of Bob Brookmeyer