This course explores the nature of music through an introduction to the field of music theory, considering the complex roles of theorist, performer, listener, composer, and historian. We will grapple with such questions as: how an understanding of rudiments enhances our relationship with music; how musical materials (rhythm, melody, harmony, form) function across genres; how musical meaning and effect are created; why certain types of Western art music occupy a privileged position in music-theoretical discourse; and to what extent the concepts of this course can be brought to bear on other repertoires (popular music and non-Western traditions). Coursework will include an intensive review of the rudiments of music theory (clefs, notation, meter, key signatures, scales, intervals, triads, seventh chords), the development of musicianship skills, exercises in counterpoint and elementary composition, attending concerts, and undertaking primary source readings. The canonical position of Western art music in the study of music will be examined through the application of course topics to musics both within and outside of the traditional canon. In addition, as a ConnCourse, this class will make connections across the liberal arts, addressing questions that may include: how do musical structures display mathematical logic, how can dance choreography reflect musical meter, how might certain musical styles interact with theater and film, and how can a consideration of cognition enhance the study of music theory?




Two lectures and one ear-training session per week; students will be placed in ear-training section based on an in-class assessment. This course is intended for students with some musical background who are able to read music fluently in at least one clef. Prospective music majors should take this course in the fall of the first year; may be exempted with a qualifying score on a placement examination. Students may not receive credit for this course and Music 131.

This course is initially open to first-year and sophomore students. It will be open to all students after first-year students have pre-registered. 

Enrollment Limit

Enrollment limited to 20 students