Contemporary Harmony

Written approval of program director
Electable by: 
All graduate students
Required of: 
None; elective course in all graduate programs
Semesters Offered: 
Spring, Summer
Valencia (Spain) Campus
Courses may not be offered at the listed location(s) each semester. Consult for specific term availability.

This course is a study of the pervasive harmonic language and techniques of popular American song. The goal of this course is to foster an understanding of the harmonic ideas that have carried American music through the latter half of the last century, and to discover harmonic alternatives to the traditional tonal systems that pervade American popular music of this time. Students come to understand the contextual relationship between melody and harmony through observation of different song forms from different styles of popular music, including show tunes, jazz standards, blues, rock/pop/R&B, and through-composed works in the jazz idiom. Harmonic options, both diatonic and otherwise, will be observed through study of the scale(s) that relate to the chord/tonality of the moment.

Course chair: 
Casey Driessen (Valencia), Marco Pignataro (Boston)
Taught By