Online Courses

Songwriting: Harmony

Authored by Jimmy Kachulis

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Course Code: OSONG-316

Next Term Starts January 8

Level 3

Level 3

3-Credit Tuition

$1,479

Non-Credit Tuition

$1,229

This course presents the "power progressions" behind countless hit songs, and dozens of ways to adapt these progressions into your own personal songwriting. Whether you are an experienced songwriter looking for new ideas or a beginning songwriter who can't read music, this course will lead you to a rich source of songwriting possibilities. You'll use techniques such as modulation and cadences to craft the essential dramatic architecture of your songs. By participating in a group of songwriters, you'll have the opportunity to share your work with others, get their feedback, and see different ways that these tools can be used, under the mentorship of a master songwriter.

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

  • Generate a groove and chord colors
  • Identify five common key colors
  • Understand and build songs from power progressions
  • Use melody and harmony for color
  • Use cadences and connecting songs with cadences
  • Understand modulation in songs
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Syllabus

Lesson 1: Generating A Groove and Chord Colors

  • Parts of a Groove
  • Developing a Groove
  • Four Chord Colors and Lyric Stories
  • Changing Colors of Chords - Variations

Lesson 2: Colors of Keys and Songs From Progression

  • Five Common Keys Colors
  • Building Song By Repetition
  • Contrasting Sections

Lesson 3: Power Progressions

  • Major Key
  • Minor Key
  • Mixolydian Key
  • Dorian Key
  • Blues Key
  • Building Songs From Power Progressions

Lesson 4: Rhythm Variations of Power Progressions

  • Progression Length
  • Chord Rhythm
  • Chord Order

Lesson 5: Song Sections From Rhythm Variations

  • Contrasting Sections
  • Two Sections ­ Two Progressions
  • Three Sections ­ Two Progressions

Lesson 6: Pitch Variations of Power Progressions

  • Subtract Chords
  • Add Chords
  • Replace Chords
  • Add Pedal Parts

Lesson 7: Song Sections From Pitch Variations

  • Contrasting Two Sections
  • Contrasting Three Sections

Lesson 8: Melody and Harmony

  • Coloring a Word
  • Coloring a Phrase
  • Coloring a Lyric Section

Lesson 9: Ways of Coming Home

  • Full Cadences
  • Half Cadences
  • Deceptive Cadences
  • Plagal Cadences
  • Mixed Cadences

Lesson 10: Song Sections Using Cadences

  • Verse/Refrain
  • Verse
  • Chorus
  • Bridge
  • Connecting Sections With Cadences

Lesson 11: Modulation

  • Parallel Key Modulation
  • Relative Modulation
  • Surprising Key Modulation

Lesson 12: Modulation In Songs

  • Modulation In A Section
  • Modulation Between Sections

Requirements

Prerequisites

  • Familiarity with popular music song form
  • Basic proficiency on a harmonic instrument
  • Ability to create a melody (optional)
  • Ability to create original lyrics (optional - will be provided, if needed)

Required Textbook

The Songwriter's Workshop: Harmony by Jimmy Kachulis, Berklee Press/Hal Leonard


Software Requirements

  • Word processing program that can open and save documents in Rich Text Format (RTF)
  • A basic audio recording tool that will allow you to record yourself playing along with a background track 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 (Windows) or GarageBand (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

  • 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)

Instructors

Author & Instructor

Jimmy Kachulis teaches songwriting and lyric writing at Berklee, conducts clinics nationwide, and has helped thousands of songwriters develop and maximize their skills. Look through the bios of some of today's best songwriters, and his name comes up again and again; his students' works have earned Grammy nominations, and been recorded by a vast range of artists on major and independent labels. An accomplished composer, arranger and conductor, he has worked with great artists like George Coleman, Jon Hendricks, John Lewis and Martha Reeves, and his compositions have been featured on scores from The Sopranos to Touched By An Angel. Jimmy's songs and arrangements for "Island Beeze", by legendary guitarist, Eric Gale, have been re-released and distributed worldwide under the Warner Brothers label.


Instructor

Sarah Brindell is a songwriter, arranger, producer, musician, and Associate Professor at Berklee College of Music. With touring credits around the world, she has shared the stage and recorded with many renowned artists including Norah Jones, Carole King, and Raul Midon. Her original songs can be heard on many television shows including MTV’s Made. She was a finalist in the Song of the Year contest as part of VH-1’s Save the Music Foundation, as well as the Billboard World Song Contest. A Summa Cum Laude graduate from Boston University, she holds a Masters degree in Music Education, and teaches courses in songwriting, harmony, ear training, arranging, and stage performance. She conducts clinics nationwide and internationally, and continually helps thousands of students to reach their full potential as professional musicians and songwriters.To learn more about Sarah Brindell, visit this link:

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Instructor

A graduate in Songwriting from Berklee College of Music, Kyle James Hauser went on to study banjo under Jayme Stone, Noam Pikelny, Chris Pandolfi and others. He’s been involved in over a dozen album releases over his career, and his album "You a Thousand Times" reached #1 on Colorado Public Radio a month after its 2014 release. His songs are featured in film and television including Judd Apatow’s The Big Sick, MTV's series 16 & Pregnant and Teen Mom, Where Hope Grows and many more. Kyle James Hauser’s performance credits include performances at the Kentucky Derby, and sharing the stage with Nathaniel Rateliff, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, The Head and the Heart, Brett Dennen, John Hiatt, David Grisman and more. Playing with Colorado band Rapidgrass 2014-2016, Hauser released two albums and toured internationally, most notably headlining La Roche Bluegrass Festival in France and winning 2015’s RockyGrass Competition. In 2015, Hauser also seized the opportunity to co-write a ballet with one of the country’s most highly-regarded regional ballet companies, the Louisville Ballet. Hauser currently serves as Colorado Music Strategy Coordinator for the Detour touring program at Bohemian Foundation’s groundbreaking incubator, The Music District. He’s been involved in music nonprofits Louisville Folk School (as co-founder), Think 360 Arts, Colorado Music Collective and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. In addition to a private teaching practice he has given masterclasses at schools all over the country, including Oberlin Conservatory and Swallow Hill. For more info, visit www.kylejameshauser.com.

Questions?

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.

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