About this Course
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Intermediate Level

I recommended you have a basic knowledge of music notation prior to starting this course. Specific details are provided in the first week.

Approx. 11 hours to complete

Suggested: 4 weeks of study, 3-6 hours/week...

English

Subtitles: English

What you will learn

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    Analyze the relationship between the technical details and aesthetics of music.

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    Explore how culture, psychology, physics, formal context, and a sense of play all shape musical language.

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    Discover ways in which music theory may be relevant to enjoying, communicating a love for, and performing music.

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    Demonstrate confidence in the kind of musical self-analysis that can help you develop your own musical ideas.

Skills you will gain

MusicClassical MusicJazzMusic compositionMusic theory

100% online

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.

Intermediate Level

I recommended you have a basic knowledge of music notation prior to starting this course. Specific details are provided in the first week.

Approx. 11 hours to complete

Suggested: 4 weeks of study, 3-6 hours/week...

English

Subtitles: English

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

Week
1
11 minutes to complete

Course Overview

This introductory module lets you know what is involved in the course. Come on in!...
1 video (Total 1 min), 7 readings
1 video
7 readings
Is this course right for you?1m
How to Pass This Course2m
Accessing Music in the Course1m
Forum Guidelines2m
Requesting Peer Reviews2m
About Performing1m
About CalArts and the School of Music1m
5 hours to complete

Melodic Structures: Lines, Shapes, and Simple Modes

In this module, we will being to develop a vocabulary that is useful in describing the technicalities behind musical expression. To do this, we will start right away closely examining some actual, real music. First we will look at some Gregorian Chant (which, come on, can be stunningly beautiful). Second we will use some slow classic Jazz to thoughtfully build our vocabulary....
16 videos (Total 93 min), 11 readings, 6 quizzes
16 videos
The Richness of Simplicity, part 15m
The Richness of Simplicity, part 25m
Context and Discrete Function4m
Neighbor Notes and Passing Tones4m
Context Gives Notes Function1m
Cadences9m
How to Grade: Write a Gregorian Chant10m
An Utterly Different Aesthetic, part 13m
An Utterly Different Aesthetic, part 23m
Leaps vs. Steps4m
Chromaticism: Outside Notes3m
The Next Chromatic Note1m
Sequence4m
How to Grade: Write a Slow Jazz Song11m
How to Grade: Write a Folk Song13m
11 readings
Week 1 Glossary & Playlist1m
Optional Practice: Medieval Notation3m
Optional Practice: Modern Notation3m
Optional Practice: MIDI Notation3m
Some Lessons Learned2m
Optional Practice: Antiphon10m
Optional Practice: Improvise a Melody10m
Optional Practice: A Little Musical Idea5m
Some More Lessons Learned2m
Talking About Folk Music3m
Examples of Folk Music3m
3 practice exercises
See it then Hear it: Over the Rainbow (Required)14m
Hear it then See it: White Christmas (Required)12m
See it then Hear it: The Riddle Song (Required - Honors)14m
Week
2
7 hours to complete

Melodic Structures: Simplicity, Repetition, and Change

In this module, still looking at single melodic lines, we will start to branch farther afield to describe some useful technical descriptions of the differences between different simple and complicated musical styles....
17 videos (Total 140 min), 8 readings, 9 quizzes
17 videos
Repetition8m
How to Grade: Write Like a Classical Composer15m
Less is More: Chopin9m
Less is More: Ives5m
Some Lessons Learned3m
Brahms Rhapsody12m
Schoenberg's Piano Concerto5m
Single Ladies / It's a Small World / Your own personal nightmare earworm2m
Three Expansive Tunes3m
How to Grade: Write Like a Romantic Composer16m
How to Grade: Write like an Early 20th Century Composer13m
How to Grade: Write an Earworm7m
Boulez, Selon Pli7m
John Cage's Atlas Eclipticalis4m
How to Grade: Write Like a Mid- to Late 20th Century Composer17m
How to Grade: Write Like a Wombat2m
8 readings
Week 2 Glossary & Playlist1m
Some Lessons Learned2m
Listen First: Chopin, Withers, Ives6m
Less is More: Withers10m
Optional Practice: I Want You10m
Optional Practice: One Note Samba5m
Optional Practice: Musica Ricerata10m
Listen First: Brahms & Schoenberg12m
3 practice exercises
See it then Hear it: Diaphonic Suite #1 (Required)12m
Hear it then See it: Mon coeur s'ouvre a ta voix (Required)14m
See it then Hear it: 1- (Required - Honors)12m
Week
3
5 hours to complete

Combining Pitches: Consonance and Dissonance

Now we will start to describe different ways to think about playing pitches simultaneously. Carefully considering our terms, we will listen to a wide spectrum of styles before settling in to focus on the basics of common practice rules....
17 videos (Total 136 min), 4 readings, 6 quizzes
17 videos
The Physics Of It All6m
The Culture & Context You Swim In10m
The Functional Relationship10m
A Three-Minute History of Medieval Music12m
A bit more about medieval music—and meter2m
Introduction to 'The Rules'8m
A Simple Explanation of Counterpoint, part 18m
A Simple Explanation of Counterpoint, part 26m
Adding Dissonance18m
How to Grade: Counterpoint, Part One: A&B7m
How to Grade: Counterpoint, Part Two: C&D7m
Josquin in two voices, part 15m
Josquin in two voices, part 28m
Creatively Breaking Rules7m
Breaking the Rules In Order To Make New Rules in Order to Figure Out What Rules Are6m
How to Grade: Counterpoint, Part Three: E&F4m
4 readings
Week 3 Glossary & Playlist2m
Optional Practice: Meter5m
Optional Practice: An informal analysis of Josquin10m
Optional Practice: Two Beautiful Pieces15m
3 practice exercises
Physical Consonance (Required)5m
See it then Hear it: Broken Rules (Required)12m
Hear it then See it: Broken Rules (Required)10m
Week
4
6 hours to complete

Cadences and Basic Harmonic Function

Beginning with a fuller examination of cadences, we will come up with ways to describe chords and harmonic function that help us talk and think about different styles of music. Finally, we will consider how our newly constructed vocabulary can help us describe the function and aesthetics of more and more complete pieces of music....
18 videos (Total 108 min), 3 readings, 4 quizzes
18 videos
Demonstration: 3-part voice leading11m
Cadences, part 18m
Cadences, part 23m
Melodic Aspect to Cadences5m
Tonal Function6m
More about the Leading Tone: A diversion into Rock and Country3m
Rock/Pop vs. Country3m
Getting back to Tonal Function: Subdominant5m
Some simple examples10m
Subdominant Feelz6m
Recap of Harmonic Function5m
All Triads in a Key4m
Mozart Piano Concerto, Part 18m
Mozart Piano Concerto, Part 27m
Mozart Piano Concerto, Part 36m
How to Grade: Complete the Cadences (Final Assignment)3m
Conclusion1m
3 readings
Week 4 Glossary & Playlist2m
Listen to Haydn and Pärt15m
Listen First: Stairway to Heaven & Coal Miner's Daughter10m
2 practice exercises
See it Then Hear it: Piano Sonata #1 (Required)18m
Hear it and See it: Dove Sono (Required)15m

Instructor

Avatar

Marc Lowenstein

Roy E. Disney Family Chair in Musical Composition
Musical Arts / Experimental Pop, School of Music

About California Institute of the Arts

CalArts has earned an international reputation as the leading college of the visual and performing arts in the United States. Offering rigorous undergraduate and graduate degree programs through six schools—Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music, and Theater—CalArts has championed creative excellence, critical reflection, and the development of new forms and expressions. ...

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Once you enroll for a Certificate, you’ll have access to all videos, quizzes, and programming assignments (if applicable). Peer review assignments can only be submitted and reviewed once your session has begun. If you choose to explore the course without purchasing, you may not be able to access certain assignments.

  • When you purchase a Certificate you get access to all course materials, including graded assignments. Upon completing the course, your electronic Certificate will be added to your Accomplishments page - from there, you can print your Certificate or add it to your LinkedIn profile. If you only want to read and view the course content, you can audit the course for free.

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