California Institute of the Arts
Approaching Music Theory: Melodic Forms and Simple Harmony
California Institute of the Arts

Approaching Music Theory: Melodic Forms and Simple Harmony

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Marc Lowenstein

Instructor: Marc Lowenstein


(156 reviews)

Intermediate level

Recommended experience

22 hours to complete
3 weeks at 7 hours a week
Flexible schedule
Learn at your own pace

What you'll learn

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

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

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

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

Details to know

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12 quizzes

Taught in English

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There are 5 modules in this course

This introductory module lets you know what is involved in the course. Come on in!

What's included

1 video9 readings

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.

What's included

16 videos11 readings4 quizzes3 peer reviews1 discussion prompt

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.

What's included

17 videos8 readings3 quizzes6 peer reviews

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.

What's included

17 videos4 readings3 quizzes3 peer reviews1 discussion prompt

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.

What's included

18 videos3 readings2 quizzes2 peer reviews


Instructor ratings
4.9 (73 ratings)
Marc Lowenstein
1 Course51,332 learners

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