Microtonal Ear Training and Composition

ET-212 or ET-232
Electable by: 
Required of: 
Semesters Offered: 
Boston Campus
Courses may not be offered at the listed location(s) each semester. Consult my.berklee.edu for specific term availability.

Microtones—intervals from outside the Western system of equal temperament—are a powerful feature of music from many places; they can be heard in traditional music from the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, in jazz and blues, and also in contemporary composed and improvised art music of the U.S. and Europe from the early 20th century to the present. They’re also part of the sound world around us—from birdcalls to car horns to overtones. How can you access these sounds and make them part of your own language? In this course, ear training drills and compositional exercises work hand in hand. Students practice identifying and singing/playing quarter-tones, sixth-tones, and even twelfth-tones (time permitting), exploring new modes of expression as they begin to hear in a different way. Along the way, we listen to a variety of examples of microtonal music from different styles and traditions, examining and transcribing small excerpts, and we conclude the semester with a final composition/performance project involving group collaboration among classmates.


Course chair: 
Allan Chase
Taught By