Music Theory, Harmony, and Ear Training

Learn Music Theory with Berklee

Gain a command of music theory, harmony, ear training, arranging, orchestration, and the mechanics of contemporary music.

12-Week Courses

Courses are best for students who are looking to meet a specific need, or simply want to get started with Berklee Online. No application necessary.

Music Theory 101

In this introductory music theory course, you'll get the musical foundation you need to take your skills to a higher level. Learn to read, write, really listen and put music theory into practice every day!

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Music Theory 201: Harmony and Function

Become a more effective player and writer by furthering your music theory background with this 200-level music theory course. Learn more complex chords, progressions, and rhythms to open up your understanding of the elements that help put the groove in jazz, pop, blues, and rock.

Music Theory 301: Advanced Melody, Harmony, Rhythm

Prepare yourself for any future musical endeavor and gain a professional command of the mechanics of contemporary music in this advanced music theory course.

Basic Ear Training 1

This practical approach to ear training will help you build your confidence as a performer by teaching you how to notate basic rhythms and better identify the different parts of a song.

Getting Inside Harmony 1

Use harmony creatively in your playing and writing. Learn to hear and modify chord progressions, improvise effectively from chord to chord and deepen your understanding of music's inner workings.

Getting Inside Harmony 2

Take your harmonic development to the next level by gaining a solid footing in more advanced principles including melodic and harmonic tension, chord substitution, and chromatically altered chords.

Harmonic Ear Training: Recognizing Chord Progressions

Put your harmonic theory into practice. Learn techniques that will improve your performance, arranging, and compositional skills by refining your ability to really hear and recognize what is going on within the chord progressions.

Music Foundations

This course teaches the essential concepts in harmony and ear training to strengthen your musicianship, regardless of the instrument or style of music that you play. You will learn the basics about chords, melodies, rhythms, scales, time keeping, solfege, and how all of these elements come together to create music.


Gain a broad overview of counterpoint and the art of writing lines that support both the melody and the overall structure of a composition - essential information for singers, songwriters, composers, guitarists and musicians from all backgrounds.

Reharmonization Techniques

Take your musical vocabulary and skill set to a whole new level for writing, arranging, and performing music of any genre by learning reharmonization and providing musical interest and variety to standard repertoire.

Rock History

Discover the history of rock 'n' roll in more detail than you can imagine from the people that lived it. Learn about the musical and business trends in rock, major technological innovations, the prime innovators, and the historical context that has seen rock alternately flourish and struggle over the past 60 years.

The Language of Film and TV

Gain a thorough understanding of film and television, and learn to communicate effectively with directors, producers, and others involved in the production of these media.

Music History of the Western World 1: Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque

This course explores the development of Western European music from the Antiquity and Middle Ages through the Renaissance and Baroque periods. By focusing on major composers, genres, technical aspects, and historical facts, students will gain an understanding of how early Western music gave rise to the Classical, Romantic, and Modern eras.

Music History of the Western World 2: Classical, Romantic, and Modern

Just as learning the theory behind how music creation works, exploring the history of music is key to understanding the genres of music that we perform, create, and consume today. Music History of the Western World 2: Classical, Romantic, and Modern will provide you with a foundation for understanding how music has developed in the Western world through the study of composers, compositions, and key characteristics of a number of musical genres.

Music Cognition

Explore the mental processes underlying musical behaviors and how emotion, environment, cognitive capacity, personality, individual differences, and other factors influence how we perceive music.

Ear Training for Live Performance

Learn to play what you hear more quickly, and become more certain of the notes you are singing or playing. Interpret and respond to music with greater conviction and expression.

Music Notation Using Sibelius

Learn to create lead sheets, choral and instrumental scores, drum maps and guitar notation, and explore many other ways to use Sibelius for your own personal and professional needs.

Developing Your Artistry

Explore what it means to be an artist — both from a philosophical and practical perspective. This course will examine artistry and creativity while also teaching you how to plan and sustain a career.

Contemporary Vocal Arranging

Master the concepts of vocal writing and arranging from basic to more advanced and learn to write vocal charts in a number of contemporary styles, including jazz, folk, pop, and R&B.

Arranging: Contemporary Styles

In this music arrangement course, you'll learn to create your own original grooves by analyzing, writing, sequencing, and recording the rhythms and styles that have influenced western contemporary music.

Creative Strategies for Composition Beyond Style

In this music composition course, you'll learn how to develop upon virtually any kernel of an idea, from a melodic fragment to a catchy rhythm or phrase, or a nice chord. Explore a variety of approaches to composing and how they work, complete with examples, composer perspectives, and more.

Music Notation and Score Preparation Using Finale

Create great-looking music quickly and easily with the powerful Finale music notation software, and learn techniques to maximize speed, control, and accuracy.

Music Theory and Composition 1

Gain a solid understanding of music fundamentals while building your own musical language. In this course you’ll take a detailed look at the major and minor keys, and be given tools to help you comprehend scales and chords. This course includes a blend of both traditional and contemporary harmony.

Music Theory and Composition 2

Build upon the essential elements of music theory and composition you learned in Music Theory and Composition 1 and further your own musical language. In this course, you will expand your knowledge of major and minor key harmony and melody, in addition to scales, chords, and drum grooves.

Music Theory and Composition 3

This core course is the third of a four-semester curriculum that continues to lay the foundation for your musical development. The materials covered in this course will help you to express your musical ear and thoughts as applied to composition for film, TV, and video games.

Music Theory and Composition 4

Building on the foundation of the previous three levels, Music Theory and Composition 4 will introduce compositional techniques first pioneered by twentieth century European and American composers and will examine them in both classical and jazz/popular music contexts. This advanced music theory course will also help you express your musical ideas as applied to composition for film, TV and video games.

History of Film Music

This course is a survey of music in film, covering everything from the late 1800s to the present day.

Arranging: Advanced Horn Writing

This music arrangement course takes your arranging abilities to the next level of development by studying more advanced techniques for voicing chords, orchestration, articulations, and background lines.

Multi-Course Certificates

Certificate programs are 3-18 months in duration and are designed for students who want to gain a deeper proficiency in a chosen area. No application necessary.

Programs marked with " Degree Path Certificate" allow you to earn credits that transfer directly into the online Bachelor of Professional Studies degree program. Upon successful completion of a degree path certificate, you'll be awarded provisional acceptance into the certificate's correlating degree major. Learn More About Degree Path Certificates

Master Certificates (8-12 Courses)

Theory, Harmony & Ear Training

Maximize your performance, writing, arranging, improvisation, and music comprehension skills by developing your foundational knowledge in music theory, arranging, harmony, and ear training.

24 Credits

Professional Certificates (4-6 Courses)

Specialist Certificates (3 Courses)

Theory and Harmony

The courses in this music theory certificate program will help you gain the foundational knowledge necessary to read, write, and understand music's inner workings, and deepen your understanding of rhythm, scales, chord progressions, and harmony.

9 Credits
Music Theory

In this music theory program, you'll learn how to turn your musical impulses into concise information that you can share with anyone. Gain a concrete musical foundation in rhythm, chords, scales, and progressions, and the musical tools ready at your disposal to create your next music project with ease.

9 Credits
Music Theory & Counterpoint

Become an effective composer by learning the fundamental concepts that make up the foundation of modern music: pitch, rhythm, scales, intervals chords, melody and harmony.

9 Credits
Voice Technique and Musicianship

Develop a strong foundation of knowledge and a better awareness of what is happening in the music that you hear, write, and sing, to become a more confident and capable musician and vocal performer.

9 Credits

Degree Programs

Degree programs are the most affordable and flexible option for earning your music degree from Berklee College of Music. They are the best option for students who want a music education degree and the full Berklee experience.

Interdisciplinary Music Studies (Create Your Own Major)

“Build your own” music major by selecting coursework from a number of disciplines that align with your personal career goals.

Undeclared Option

This major is geared specifically for new and entering students who are not yet ready to declare their major.

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