Music 374: Harmony, Counterpoint and Keyboard 6

Syllabus - Fall 2013

Dates: Classes will meet on Mondays and Wednesday 3:10 to 4:25 PM in room 351, on the following dates:

August 28September 9
September 11September 16
September 18September 23
September 25September 30
October 2October 7
October 9October 15 (Tuesday)
October 16October 21
October 23October 28
October 30November 4
November 6November 11
November 13November 18
November 20November 25
December 2December 4
December 9December 11

Note in particular that after our first class, we have 11 days before the second. Therefore, an extensive assignment will be given in the first class. We also have classes on two successive days, October 15-16, and we have no class on Wednesday, November 27, the day before Thanksgiving.

Class overview: This course is the last semester of a required six-semester theory sequence, but it is not a continuation of the previous courses. It requires you to think about how music is organized. You are encouraged to think about any music that you listen to, and to follow the melodies, harmonies, and musical structure in ways you may not have done before. The materials presented in this course are cumulative, meaning that they build on the material presented previously, so that if you fail to understand some aspect presented at the beginning of the course, you may have further trouble with later materials. Please do not hesitate to ask questions in class if you do not understand something; silence will be taken as an indication that you have understood the material and are ready to go on to the next stage.

Syllabus: The (departmental) syllabus, in its entirety, is as follows:

The actual syllabus that we will follow could be stated more like this:

In each case we will progress by studying individual works and abstracting general principles from them, which will then be applied to compositional exercises.

Assignments: You should expect to work on some form of assignment for every class meeting. Many assignments will consist of analyzing works, which will then be discussed in class. Sometimes these assignments will be written and handed in, and at other times you should simply prepare yourself to discuss a piece in detail. The most important assignments will consist of compositional exercises where you apply concepts learned from your analysis to a creative project. These must be handed in at the beginning of the class period. Assignments may not appear to be long, but they will usually require that you spend a significant amount of time doing them.

Keyboard: It is expected that you will be able to play any assignments you write at the keyboard, even if you can’t play them in tempo. You are encouraged to do them at the piano, even though the amount of playing involved may be minimal. Also, you could, on occasions, sing them. Other keyboard assignment will consist of playing passages in some of the compositions that are given for analysis, sometimes from the full score. Even though you may write out a transcription of the music before playing it, you will be required to play from score in class.

Textbook: There is no required textbook for the course. Compositions for study will sometimes be xeroxed or distributed through the web site, and material needed to prepare your assignments will be presented in class and sometimes given in hand-outs. The most important “text” you should study is the music itself!

Works Studied: Many of the works studied are available for free from the Petrucci International Music Score Library Project ( These works will be listed by the IMSLP database number. You should retrieve these works and print them yourself if you need to use a hard copy for your assignments.

Bibliography: The following books are recommended for study of some of the materials presented in this course: