Harmonic Ear Training: Recognizing Chord Progressions

Author: Roberta Radley   •   Course Code: OEART-320

Whether you're playing your instrument, composing, arranging, improvising, or transcribing, the ability to quickly and effectively recognize chord progressions is a necessity for the serious musician. Harmonic Ear Training: Recognizing Chord Progressions details a step-by-step "vertical" (from the root up) and "horizontal" (using the song's key as a reference point) approach to hearing chord changes and progressions. By engaging in a variety of solfege exercises and voice-leading demonstrations, as well as weekly assignments that involve transcribing contemporary music examples, students will learn to internalize the music and identify chords and progressions with ease and confidence. Put your theory background into practice, and learn the practical techniques and ear training exercises that will work for you in your musical life every day.

What Is the Course Like?

Each week, you'll complete interactive online lessons, animated demos, and engage in ear training activities that will improve your listening skills and enhance your ability to recognize chord progressions. Your instructor will give you direct feedback on each assignment, and because all assignments are posted, you will also have the opportunity to review your classmates' work and learn from them. You can contribute to ongoing threads on the discussion board, which connect you to your classmates and instructor on a daily basis. If you need help on anything, you can chat with your instructor during office-hours each week.

By the end of this course, you will:

  • Use a step-by-step approach to identify all types of chords and progressions quickly and easily.
  • Gain a solid foundation in ear training to enhance all your musical pursuits.
  • Apply practical techniques and exercises to improve your performing, composing, arranging, transcribing or improvising skills.

Lesson 1: Bass Lines and the Major Sound

  • Hearing the Bass Line
  • Assignment: Transcribe the Bass Line
  • Hearing the Major Triad Sound
  • Hearing the I, IV, and V Triads
  • Transposing
  • Assignment: Transpose the Bass Lines and Chord Progressions

Lesson 2: More Bass Lines and the Minor Sound

  • More Bass Line Identification
  • Assignment: Hearing the Bass Line
  • Hearing the Minor Triad Sound
  • Introducing II-, III- , and VI- In Progression
  • Assignment: Sing Along with the Chord Progression
  • Memorization

Lesson 3: Introducing Voice Leading and New Triads

  • Voice Leading
  • Assignment: Real-World Song Selection Practice
  • Diminished Triad Sound
  • The VII° Triad Sound
  • Assignment: Progression Dictation

Lesson 4: Introducing Seventh Chords and Guide Tones

  • Major and Dominant Seventh Chords
  • Assignment: Singing Diatonic Triad Arpeggios
  • Taking the Horizontal Approach: Guide Tones
  • Assignment: Progression Dictation

Lesson 5: More Seventh Chords with Guide Tones

  • Introducing the Minor 7 and Minor 7b5 Chords
  • Introducing the Dominant 7sus4 Chord
  • More on Guide Tones with Diatonic Seventh Chords
  • Assignment: Creating Guide Tone Lines
  • Diatonic Progressions/Dictation
  • Assignment: Dictation

Lesson 6: Diatonic Inversions and the Passing 7th

  • Inversions of the I Triad
  • Inversions of the IV Triad
  • Inversions of the V Triad
  • Assignment: Inversions Dictation
  • The Passing 7th
  • Progression Dictation
  • Assignment: Dictation

Lesson 7: Introducing the Chromatic Scale and Melody/Harmony Relationships

  • Introducing the Chromatic Scale
  • Identifying Non-Diatonic Chords Using the Chromatic Scale
  • Assignment: Identifying Non-Diatonic Chords
  • Melody/Harmony Relationship
  • Assignment: Real-World Song Selection Practice

Lesson 8: Introducing Secondary Dominants and More on Melody/Harmony Relationships

  • Secondary Dominants
  • Addressing the Guide Tones of the Secondary Dominant
  • Addressing the Guide Tone of the Secondary Dominant, Continued
  • Assignment: Identify the Secondary Dominant via Guide Tone
  • Assignment: Real-World Song Selection Practice

Lesson 9: More on Secondary Dominants and the Melody/Harmony Relationship

  • More Work with Secondary Dominants
  • Assignment: Real-World Song Selection Practice
  • More on the Melody/Harmony Relationship
  • Assignment: Dictation

Lesson 10: Introducing the II V Pattern and More on Guide-Tone Lines

  • The II V Pattern
  • Connecting II V Patterns
  • Assignment: Real-World Song Selection Transcription
  • Assignment 10.2: Dictation

Lesson 11: Arranging, Reharmonizing, and Creating Chord Progressions

  • Arranging the Harmony
  • Reharmonization
  • Project: Create Your Own Chord Progression

Lesson 12: Review and Wrap-Up

  • Project Discussion
  • Course Wrap-Up

Roberta Radley

Author & Instructor

Roberta Radley is Assistant Chair in the Ear Training Department at Berklee College of Music. A Berklee graduate with a degree in composition, she joined the faculty in 1976. Since then, Radley has taught a wide range of ear training classes, using innovative methods to help students hear music more analytically, and earning recognition for Outstanding Achievement in Music Education from Berklee College of Music. Co-author of the Department Core Curriculum Ear Training 1-4 books as well as author of the Harmonic Ear Training DVD on Berklee Press, Roberta has traveled widely on behalf of Berklee, holding scholarship auditions, working with affiliated schools, and presenting seminars across the U.S. and internationally. Additionally, Roberta is an active performer as a pianist and vocalist and is an experienced private piano and voice instructor.

Prerequisites

Completion of Basic Ear Training 1 or equivalent knowledge and experience is required.


Required Textbook and DVD

The Real Easy Ear Training Book by Roberta Radley, Sher Music Co.

Harmonic Ear Training by Roberta Radley, Berklee Press/Hal Leonard


Software Requirements

  • Finale NotePad, Finale (full version), or MuseScore
  • A basic audio recording tool that will allow you to record yourself and save the recording in MP3 format. You will have a tool to use for this purpose inside the learning environment. Alternatively, you can use software like Audacity or GarageBand.

Mac Users:  Finale NotePad is currently not compatible with macOS 10.12 Sierra.  It is highly recommended to not upgrade to this version if you plan on using NotePad.  If you have already upgraded to macOS Sierra, we recommend downloading MuseScore or purchasing the full Finale version at a deep discount through the Student Deals page upon enrolling in the course.  To check your OS version, click on the Apple icon in the upper-left corner of your screen and select About This Mac

Mac Users

  • OS X 10.9 Mavericks or higher (click here for system requirements)
  • Latest version of Google Chrome

Windows Users

  • Windows 7 or higher (click here for system requirements)
  • Latest version of Google Chrome

Hardware Requirements

  • DVD player
  • A built-in microphone or an external microphone plugged directly into your computer (via built in ports or an external audio interface)
  • 2 GB RAM (4 GB recommended)
  • 500 MB hard drive space
  • Speakers or headphones
  • Webcam
  • Internet connection with at least 4 Mbps download speed (http://www.speedtest.net to verify or download the Speedtest by Ookla app from your mobile app store)

Comments

Got a question? Contact our Academic Advisors by phone at 1-866-BERKLEE (U.S.), 1-617-747-2146 (INT'L), or by email at advisors@online.berklee.edu. We can also answer basic questions in the comments below. Please note that all comments are public.




  • Level
  • Duration
    12 weeks
  • 3-Credit Tuition
    $1,479
  • or
  • Non-Credit Tuition
    $1,229

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