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What Is Music Theory?

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Course DatesWeeksMeeting TimesStatusInstructor(s)CRN
June 23, 2014 - July 11, 20143M-F 9A-11:50AOpenArlene Cole10644

Course Description

This course is designed for you to learn: 1) what music theory IS, and 2) how music theory can help you "hear music better." We will investigate patterns and trends in Western classical music (with Baroque through twentieth century) and more contemporary genres. The ultimate goal of the course is to see how theory can be applied to their own musical experiences, providing an at-a-glance overview of the central topics and issues in great masterworks. In the class we will learn new concepts and well as listen and analyze music.

This will be achieved in several ways. This course is more technical than a standard "music appreciation," although it will not achieve the fluency of an undergraduate theory track. Rather, the course provides a look into what students will continue to learn in their collegiate music journeys, including:
1) Rudiments: intervals, scales, keys
2) Phrases and cadences
3) Larger forms (binary, ternary, sonata, etc.)

2) and 3), in particular, focus on the "big picture," and opens up the chance for students to appreciate the structure of masterworks by different composers, each of which will be discussed in sequence (e.g., Bach, Beethoven, Brahms). The approach is highly intuitive, and taps into instincts that we already possess.

The course will combine recordings, live performances by the instructor, and, ideally, instrumental demonstrations by the students.

Pre-requisite: proficient ability to read treble and bass clef.