Music Theory and Composition 2

Authors: Kari Juusela, Suzanne Clark   •   Course Code: OCOMP-111

In this course, you will build upon the essential elements of music theory and composition learned in Music Theory and Composition 1, allowing you to further your own musical language. You will expand your knowledge of major and minor key harmony and melody, in addition to scales, chords and drum grooves. This advancement in music theory will support you in all of your musical endeavors, making the application of advanced techniques easier to use within your own compositions.

After completing a strong review of Music Theory and Composition 1 topics, including major key, minor key, blues, an intro to modal interchange, rhythmic grooves. and traditional harmony concepts, the course will move into non-diatonic structures such as secondary dominants, a wider vocabulary of modal interchange chords, and a thorough look at composite minor in both contemporary and traditional settings. Compound meter will be explored and also applied to bass and drum grooves, along with higher-level rhythmic concepts such as odd meter and African polyrhythms. Music Theory and Composition 2 will give you the tools to develop melody writing, presented through contemporary and traditional views and Indian ragas, as well as the importance of song form, harmonic function, and phrasing as compositional techniques.

This music composition course will continue blending and exploring both traditional and contemporary harmony in order to give you a historical understanding of current topics.

On a weekly basis, you will be asked to engage with your classmates and instructor as you work your way through each lesson. To help you thoroughly experience and understand the material, you will be given activities and exercises to complete for each topic. There will also be weekly compositional assignments, giving you the opportunity to practice writing.

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

  • Interpret and notate basic notational concepts of passing tones and upper/lower neighbor tones, melodic tension and release, escape tone, appoggiatura, and suspension
  • Identify and write melodic elements such as intervallic variation, interval expansion, interval contraction, permutation, rhythmic variation, augmentation, and diminution
  • Identify and use secondary dominants with modifying a major key progression and in different rhythmic positions within a harmonic phrase
  • Identify and voice-lead secondary dominants with tensions along with the use of related II chords
  • Identify and voice-lead secondary dominants and Neapolitan chord in traditional four-part SATB style
  • Construct and use deceptive resolution as applied to primary and secondary dominants and modal interchange chords
  • Identify and apply techniques in the minor key in contemporary and classical writing styles which include the use of composite minor, minor key chord scales, and minor key line clichés
  • Notate and create rhythms and melodies based on compound and other meters

Lesson 1: Introductions and Level 1 Review

  • Major Key Tonality
  • Minor Key Tonality
  • Modal Interchange and Blues
  • Bass and Drums

Lesson 2: Secondary Dominants and Chromatic Alterations

  • Melodic Chromaticism
  • Secondary Dominants
  • Harmonic Rhythm
  • Melody and Harmony Relationship
  • Melody Corner

Lesson 3: Secondary Dominant Continued

  • Secondary Dominant Chord Scales
  • Voice-leading Secondary Dominants with Tensions
  • Related II Chords
  • Traditional Voice-leading of Secondary Dominants
  • Melody Corner

Lesson 4: Deceptive Resolution – Primary and Secondary Dominants

  • Harmonic Function and Expectation
  • Standard Deceptive Resolution of V7
  • Deceptive Resolution of Secondary Dominants
  • Deceptive Resolution of Secondary Dominants in Classical Music
  • Melody Corner

Lesson 5: Minor Key 2

  • Composite Minor
  • Secondary Dominants in Minor Key
  • Minor Key Chord Scales
  • Minor Key Line Cliches
  • Melody Corner

Lesson 6: Minor Key in Classical Music

  • Composite Minor in a Bach Chorale
  • Minor Line Cliches in Classical Music
  • Advanced Figured Bass
  • Binary and Rounded Binary Form in Classical Music
  • Melody Corner

Lesson 7: Modal Interchange Expanded

  • More Modal Interchange
  • Chord Scales for Modal Interchange Chords
  • Standard Deceptive Resolution of V7 to MI Chords
  • Neapolitan Chord
  • Melody Corner

Lesson 8: Compound and Other Meter

  • 6/8 and 9/8
  • 12/8 and Triplets in 4/4
  • Odd Meters
  • Meter Changes
  • Melody Corner

Lesson 9: Bass and Drum Grooves in Compound and Other Meters

  • Compound Bass and Drum Grooves
  • Odd Metered Bass and Drum Grooves
  • Meter Changes Applied to Bass and Drum Grooves
  • African Polyrhythms and Indian Tablas
  • Melody Corner

Lesson 10: Modulation

  • Modulation
  • Relative Major and Minor Modulation
  • Pivot Modulation using Secondary Dominants
  • Pivot Modulation and Model Interchange
  • Melody Corner

Lesson 11: Musical Composition Applied

  • Musical Directions
  • Hybrid Chords
  • Guide Tone Lines
  • Song and Short Instrumental Form Review and Further Exploration
  • Melody Corner

Lesson 12: Blues

  • Minor Blues
  • Minor Blues Progressions
  • Minor Blues Chord Scales
  • Dominant Pedal
  • Melody Corner

Kari Juusela


Kari Henrik Juusela is a Finnish-American composer, performer and educator who presently serves as dean of the Professional Writing and Music Technology Division at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. n addition to writing music in styles ranging from pop to contemporary classical, he enjoys playing and recording the cello, bass, guitar, piano, table, and the Finnish Kantele. His compositions have won numerous awards from such organizations as the Vienna State Opera, the International Trumpet Guild, the London Chamber Music Society, the Composer’s Guild, GASTA, and ASCAP. He has also won the International Red Stick Composition Competition, the American Songwriting Awards Contest, the San Francisco Art Song Competition, and the Aliénor Harpsichord Composition Contest. His works have been performed at many important venues including Carnegie and Tchaikovsky Hall by internationally acclaimed ensembles and performers, as well as by numerous rock, pop, and jazz groups. He is the author of over 20 college-level courses and is the author of the Berklee Contemporary Dictionary of Music.

Dr. Juusela holds degrees from the University of Maryland, Georgia State University, and Berklee College of Music. His music is published by ISG Publications, MuusJuus Music, and Yelton Rhodes Music, and is recorded on ERM, Beauport Classical, Lakeside Records, Capstone Records, and MuusJuus Music.

Suzanne Clark

Author & Instructor

Suzanne M. Clark is an Associate Professor in the Harmony Department at Berklee College of Music and also teaches in the Songwriting Department and courses for Performance Health.

In 2010, Suzanne was the recipient of the Don Wilkins Curriculum Award, having authored five courses, including The Music of the Beatles, The Solo Careers of the Beatles, The Creative Flame, Integral Tai Chi, and Playing in the Key of Chi: Qigong for Musicians. She also teaches the Music of John Lennon. In 2014, Suzanne was featured in USA Today and on New England Cable News for the 50th Anniversary of the Beatles' appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. She also guest lectured on John Lennon for a Harvard University program.

Suzanne is a bassist, and throughout the years has played and recorded in a variety of genres including jazz, musical theater, world and contemporary music. She has performed and given clinics in New England, Pennsylvania, New York, and the Caribbean and Sweden. She was a guest lecturer at Northwood University's Creativity Conference where she focused on musical creativity. Currently, Suzanne also teaches an online graduate course, Seminar in Creativity, which focuses on creative blocks of creative artists and is based on research and studies related to her MA in Critical and Creative Thinking.

Alizon Lissance


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.

To learn more about Lissance, including her performance schedule, visit

Jeff D'Antona


Boston-based pianist and composer Jeff D’Antona splits his time equally as an educator and performer. An assistant professor at Berklee College of Music, Jeff teaches harmony and arranging courses. Online Jeff can be found at HDpiano, youTube’s leading piano tutorial channel with over 600K subscribers, as well as on his own blog, The Piano Shed, where he covers advanced concepts in jazz, blues, and improvisation.

Performing an average of 50 dates a year, Jeff leads his contemporary jazz group, The Jeff D’Antona Trio, as well as function/wedding band Protege. As an accompanist, Jeff has worked with jazz saxophonist Archie Shepp, gospel singer Evelyn Harris of Sweet Honey in the Rock, and live hip-hop outfit Cold Duck Complex. Jeff’s latest creative project, Planet Radio, features original pop/R and B compositions and released a self-titled EP in 2016. To learn more about Jeff’s performance schedule and watch his latest tutorials, visit


Completion of Music Theory and Composition 1 or equivalent knowledge and experience is required. 

No Required Textbooks

Software Requirements

  • Audio recording software that can import/export QuickTime movies such as GarageBand (Mac), Mixcraft (PC) or SONAR (PC)

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

  • 2 GB RAM (4 GB recommended)
  • 500 MB hard drive space
  • Speakers or headphones
  • Webcam
  • Internet connection with at least 4 Mbps download speed ( to verify or download the Speedtest by Ookla app from your mobile app store)


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 We can also answer basic questions in the comments below. Please note that all comments are public.

  • Level
    Level 1
  • Duration
    12 weeks
  • 3-Credit Tuition
  • or
  • Non-Credit Tuition

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