Music Theory 301: Advanced Melody, Harmony, Rhythm

Author: Paul Schmeling | Course Code: OHARM-301

Establish a toolkit of musical expertise that will prepare you for any musical endeavor or opportunity. This advanced music theory course provides you with a professional command of the mechanics of contemporary music. You'll learn to write effective jazz, pop, and rock-influenced pentatonic and modal melodies as well as master anticipations and articulations that will give your music the necessary sound and "character" to fit these styles. You'll explore harmony related topics such as diatonic, natural/melodic, minor, and slash chords, which will help you to select the appropriate harmonic tensions to add color, character, and sophistication to your music. You'll also master triplets, swing eighths, and sixteenth notes in double time feel, as well as topics related to improvisation and melody including chord scales, avoid notes, approach notes, and modal and pentatonic scales. With this level of music theory, there will be practically no barriers between you and the music you want to create.

By the end of this course, you will be able to

read and write rhythms that include triplets and swing eighth noteswrite and analyze diatonic chord progressions in minorread and write rhythms that include sixteenth notes in a double time feelconstruct modal scales and identify by soundconstruct pentatonic scales and identify by soundwrite a pentatonic melody over a basic blues progressionunderstand and use slash chords and bass pedal points

Lesson 1: Triplets and Swing vs. Straight Eighths

Eighth and Quarter Note Triplets - Theory / NotationEighth Note Triplets as Basis for Swing EighthsSwing Eighths vs. Straight Eighths - Musical Application

Lesson 2: Open Position Chords/Drop 2 Voicings

The II V I Progression in Two Positions of Drop 2Extended Progressions Using Alternating PositionsVariations on the V7 Chord

Lesson 3: I VI II V I Progression; Root Motion/Bass Lines

The I VI II V I Chord PatternVoice Leading the I VI II V I Chord PatternRoot Motion and the Bass Line

Lesson 4: Modal Scales

Lydian and Mixolydian - Comparison to MajorDorian, Aeolian, Phrygian - Comparison to Natural MinorWriting Modal Melodies

Lesson 5: Chord Scales in Major Keys

Chord Scales as Chord Tones Plus Passing Tones from KeyTheory of Avoid NotesWriting/Analyzing Melodies Using Chord Scales

Lesson 6: Approach Note Theory

Theory of Diatonic and Chromatic Approach NotesWriting/Analyzing Melodies Using Approach NotesEar Training

Lesson 7: Diatonic Chords in Natural/Melodic Minors

Construction of Diatonic Chords in Melodic MinorConstruction of Diatonic Chords in Natural MinorRecognition/Analysis/Ear Training

Lesson 8: II V I and I VI II V I in Minor - Mixing and Matching Scale Types

Theory of Minor Scale Type on Each ChordApplication of Theory in Variety of KeysRecognition/Analysis/Ear Training

Lesson 9: Sixteenth Notes

The Sixteenth NoteSixteenth-Note AnticipationsDouble-Time Feel

Lesson 10: Pentatonic Scales

Constructing Pentatonic ScalesFitting Pentatonic Scales over ChordsWriting Pentatonic Scale Melodies

Lesson 11: Slash Chords

The Dominant (sus4) as Slash ChordOther Chord Types Written as Slash ChordsRecognition/Analysis/Ear Training

Lesson 12: Bass Pedals

The Tonic Pedal - Common ApplicationsThe Dominant Pedal - Common ApplicationsRecognition/Analysis/Ear Training

Paul Schmeling

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.

Completion of the Berklee Online course Music Theory 201: Harmony and Function or equivalent knowledge and experience.

None required.

PC Web Browser: Firefox (Recommended), Chrome, Internet Explorer 10 or higherMac Web Browser: Firefox (Recommended), Chrome, SafariFlash Player: current versionQuickTime: current versionAdobe Reader: current versionNoteflight Crescendo. Upon enrolling in the course, you will be offered an academic discount on this online notation tool.
Windows Vista SP2 or higherIntel Pentium 4 or higher1 GB RAM500 MB hard drive space recommendedSound cardSpeakers or headphones for your computer
OS X 10.7 or higherIntel Mac2 GB RAM500 MB hard drive space recommendedSpeakers or headphones for your computer


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Next Term Starts June 27

  • Level
  • Duration
    12 weeks
  • 3-Credit Tuition
  • or
  • Non-Credit Tuition Add 6 CEUs
    $1,200 + $25

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