Music lessons are offered in our music studios in Coquitlam and Port Moody, and online.

Description and Objectives


This course is centered around a study of the harmonic aspect of tonal music, primarily the music of Baroque, Classical, and Romantic eras.


The theoretical notions and compositional tools discussed in this course include: basic harmonic structures and their connection to the physics of sound; integrating the concepts of tonality and the harmonic series; designing a harmonic progression through choosing a musical order for the harmonic colours and connecting them in the smoothest and most natural ways; principles of melodic motion within a harmonic progression; origin of the most directional order of chords in major and minor tonalities; chord inversions and the consequences of their aural qualities; role of harmony in musical phrasing; embellishing a simple harmonic texture in a search for hidden beauty; expanding the palette of our harmonic colours through borrowing chords from other tonalities; possible approaches in gravitating away from one tonal pitch collection towards another; musical excitement and changing the pitch center; writing effective music and the paradox of maximizing contrast and unity at the same time, among others.


As these theories are rooted in human aural perception, students study and understand these theoretical principles from a perceptual point of view. Also, to put what they learn into creative practice, students write short composition assignments, each focusing of one of the theoretical concepts.


Critical contribution and analysis of selected Baroque, Classical, and Romantic repertoire are other important components of this course.


It is expected that by the end of this course students will have developed the analytical skills and theoretical understanding to study and analyze the harmonic aspect of tonal compositions, and write basic but imaginative harmonic progressions that can be used as foundational material for their own original compositions.



Recommended Textbook


Stefan Kostka, Dorothy Payne, Byron Almen, Tonal Harmony, with an Introduction to Twentieth-Century Music


Tonal Harmony

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