Integrative Music Theory 1

Integrative Music Theory is a comprehensive introduction to musicianship and musical understanding. Students in the course will develop their abilities to play, read, understand, and write music. Work includes exercises in music fundamentals, model composition, performance, analysis, improvisation, and ear training, all of which are intended to complement students’ everyday activities as musicians and listeners. The course will be divided into seminars focused on notation, theory, and analysis, and “labs” focused on application, aural development, and musical experimentation. The goal of a sequence of music theory courses is to develop the students’ musical understanding and awareness through an investigation of the acoustical, historical, stylistic, expressive, and rhetorical elements of music. This course begins with the building blocks of music: notes, modes, scales, rhythm, meter, dynamics, instrumentation, timbre, and melodic intervals. This will be followed by studies in melodic construction, counterpoint, harmony, and form.

By course end, students will have a working understanding of the fundamentals of music and will be prepared for Music Theory II or further music studies. There will be a strong emphasis throughout on aural skills. Students will strengthen their aural skills using a variety of approaches– including sight singing, piano playing, and the use of smartphone apps and computer software — to the point where they can begin to transcribe and play their favorite music. Every student will leave the class with the ability to play simple notated music on the piano or a suitable instrument of their choice. There will also be a number of activities, often group projects that focus on the application of the students’ developing knowledge and skills, such as improvising with each other, creating harmonisations, or composing and performing new music.

This is an essential and fundamental music course, and a core course for students interested in the performing arts.