Theory of Jazz and Popular Song Minor

The minor in the theory of jazz and popular song affords students the opportunity to focus on music theory through 12 credit hours of specialized advanced study beyond the core music curriculum. At the heart of the minor are the three harmony courses: Techniques of Reharmonization HR-325 (2 credits), Advanced Harmonic Concepts HR-335 (2 credits), and Advanced Modal Harmony HR-345 (2 credits). In these courses students explore historically important styles through listening, analysis, composition, and arranging. The remaining six credit hours may be chosen freely from a broad list of specified electives that include Harmonic Analysis of Rock Music, Harmony in Brazilian Song, the Music of the Beatles, Music of the Yellowjackets, South Indian Rhythmic Solfege and Jazz/World Music, and Contemporary Application of 12 Tone Techniques. These courses explore a wide variety of classic, popular and ethnic styles. Through the this minor, students will develop techniques of transcription, analysis, synthesis, and composition necessary to engage with and come to an understanding of the ever broadening spectrum of contemporary musical styles. These activities will enhance students' creativity and help them to develop an individual voice. Students who elect this minor will find it appropriate theory preparation for graduate work in the fields of ethnomusicology, jazz studies, music theory, or jazz composition. Any student enrolled at Berklee may opt to pursue this minor. Interested students are encouraged to contact the chair or assistant chair of the Harmony Department for further information.

Required Courses

  • HR-325 Reharminozation Techniques (2 credits)
  • HR-335 Advanced Harmonic Concepts (2 credits)
  • HR-345 Advanced Modal Harmony (2 credits)

Elective Courses (choose three from the following)

  • HR-231 Harmonic Analysis of Rock Music (2 credits)
  • HR-241 Harmony in Brazilian Song (2 credits)
  • HR-261 The Music of the Beatles (2 credits)
  • HR-P351: John, Paul, George, and Ringo: The Solo Years (2 credits)
  • HR-355 The Music of the Yellowjackets (2 credits)
  • HR-361 World Music Materials and Concepts for the Contemporary Musician (2 credits)
  • PSHR-321 Harmonic Considerations in Improvisation 1 (2 credits)
  • PSHR-322 Harmonic Considerations in Improvisation 2 (2 credits)
  • PSW-350 South Indian Rhythmic Solfege and Jazz/World Music 1 (2 credits)
  • CW-255 Contemporary Application of 12-Tone Concepts (2 credits)
  • PSW-235 World Percussion for Nonpercussionists (2 credits)

6 courses required for completion of the minor.

For more information, contact:

Harmony Department
150 Massachusetts Avenue
617 747-8438
Chair: Joe Mulholland,
Assistant Chair: Tom Hojnacki,