Music Theory 201: Harmony and Function
Authored by Paul Schmeling
Course Code: OHARM-201
Continuing on from the concepts presented in Music Theory 101, this music theory course will further develop your background in music theory and provide you with the foundational knowledge you'll need to be a more effective writer and player.
You'll master the fundamental concepts of rhythm and harmony—and learn more complex chords, progressions, and rhythms that will open up your understanding of the elements that together contribute to put the groove in jazz, pop, blues, and rock. You'll study topics including rhythmic anticipations and related notation issues; articulation markings; diatonic triads and seventh chords in both major and harmonic minor; harmonic function; the II V I chord progression; some additional chord types; melodic and harmonic tension; and the blues form and style. You'll understand why chords move from one to another the way they do; and learn to better analyze and write harmonic progressions and different rhythmic styles. Through ear training exercises, musical examples, and personalized feedback from your instructor, you'll be able to analyze, read, write, and listen more effectively as well as understand the fundamental knowledge essential to the beginning studies of harmony.
By the end of this course, you will:
- Understand rhythmic anticipation and articulations
- Understand diatonic triads and seventh chords in major and harmonic minor
- Understand the II V I chord progression
- Understand the melodic and harmonic use of tensions
- Understand the blues form and style
Lesson 1: The Imaginary Bar Line
- The Imaginary Bar Line
- Note Values Smaller than the Half Note
- Rest Values and the Imaginary Bar Line
Lesson 2: Diatonic Triads and Seventh Chords in Major
- The Construction of Diatonic Triads
- Diatonic Seventh Chords
Lesson 3: The Harmonic Function of Diatonic Chords
- The Terms Tonic, Subdominant, and Dominant
- Harmonic Cadences
- The IImin7 V7 IMaj7 Progression
Lesson 4: Additional Chord Types
- Two Additional Dominant 7 Chords
- Two Additional Major Chords
- Two Additional Minor Chords
Lesson 5: Harmonic Function and Voice Leading of Additional Chord Types
- The Major and Minor 6th Chords
- The Minor and Augmented Major 7th Chords
- The Augmented 7th and Dominant 7(sus4)
Lesson 6: Diatonic Chords in Harmonic Minor
- Diatonic Chords in Harmonic Minor
- Diatonic Function in Harmonic Minor
- The II V7 I Progression in Minor
Lesson 7: The Upper Structures of Harmony/Tensions
- The Theory of Tensions
- Altered Tensions
- The Melodic Use of Tensions
Lesson 8: The Harmonic Use of Tensions
- Substituting the 9th for the Root
- Substituting the 13th for the 5th
- Using Altered Tensions
- Using the 11th
Lesson 9: The Rhythmic Anticipation and Articulations
- The Rhythmic Anticipation
- Short Durational Value Anticipations
- Articulation Markings
Lesson 10: Simple Binary Song Form
- Examples of Simple Binary Form
- Other Types of Variation and Contrast
Lesson 11: The Blues Form and Style
- The Blues Form
- The Blues Style and Its Effect on Harmony
- The Blues Style and Its Effect on Melody
Lesson 12: A Closer Look at the Dominant Seventh Chord
- Voice Leading Dominant Seventh Chords with Tensions
- Stripping the Dominant Seventh Chord down to the Basics
- Adding a Third Voice to the Dominant Seventh Chord
Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements
- Completion of Music Foundations or Music Theory 101 or equivalent knowledge and experience is required.
- Take the Music Theory self-assessment quiz to determine your level.
- None required
After enrolling, please check the Getting Started section of your course for potential deals on required materials. Our Deals page also features several discounts you can take advantage of as a current student. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions.
General Course Requirements
Below are the minimum requirements to access the course environment and participate in live chats. Please make sure to also check the Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements section above, and ensure your computer meets or exceeds the minimum system requirements for all software needed for your course.
- Latest version of Google Chrome
- Zoom meeting software (available in the course when joining your first chat)
- Speakers or headphones
- External or internal Microphone
- Broadband Internet connection
Author & Instructor
Paul Schmeling is a master pianist, interpreter, improviser and arranger who has inspired countless students since he began teaching at Berklee in 1961. He has performed or recorded with jazz greats such as Clark Terry, Rebecca Parris, George Coleman, Carol Sloane, Frank Foster, Art Farmer, Herb Pomeroy, Phil Wilson, Dick Johnson and Slide Hampton. In the 1990s, the Paul Schmeling Trio released two inventive and critically acclaimed albums, interpreting the music of Hoagy Carmichael and songs associated with Frank Sinatra. Recently retired as chair of the piano department, he is co-author of the Berklee Practice Method: Keyboard (2001) and Instant Keyboard (2002) and the author of Berklee Music Theory: Book 1.
Russell Hoffmann is Assistant Professor of Piano at Berklee College of Music and is a pianist, recording artist, composer and arranger in many styles of contemporary music, including jazz, Latin, and pop styles. He has served as musical director for Concord recording artist Marlena Shaw and the University of Minnesota's "Twelve Moods for Jazz" Langston Hughes project. He has performed with many jazz luminaries, including Jack McDuff, James Moody, Billy Hart, Donald Harrison, Bobbie McFerrin, Peter Lietch, and many of Boston's finest jazz artists. As a clinician, Russ has appeared in Berklee's Italy summer program, Umbria Jazz Festival, Perugia, Italy; Berklee in Taipei; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Heineken Jazz Fest, San Juan, Puerto Rico; and the Berklee Annual Jazz Festival. He is the author of workbooks on keyboard comping, ensemble performance, and co-author of the Berklee Practice Method: Keyboard.
An assistant professor in Berklee's Harmony department since 1997, Alizon Lissance is a well-rounded musician with decades of experience as a multi-keyboard player, vocalist, songwriter, and arranger. She has earned regional and national accolades, ranging from critical acclaim in Musician Magazine to receiving a Boston Music Award as "Outstanding Keyboardist" in 1991.
In 2005 Lissance released the CD So What About You, an eclectic collection of original material. She is a founding member of The Love Dogs, an established jump/swing rhythm & blues band that has released four CDs and has been touring in North America and Europe since 1994. She also keeps busy with freelance recording and performing engagements.
As an alumnus and faculty member of the Berklee College of Music, Lissance is thrilled to be a part of the extension school providing the "Berklee Experience" to people who might not otherwise have that opportunity.
Michael Moyes has been working at Berklee since 2008. He has performed piano as a soloist, in combos, and accompanied by a full orchestra. In addition to piano and music theory, Michael teaches five string banjo and actively performs and records original bluegrass, country, and folk music. He is also the Associate Dean of Admissions Strategy and Operations for Berklee College of Music.
When taken for credit, Music Theory 201: Harmony and Function can be applied towards these associated programs: