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MUS 121 W — A Practical Introduction to Music Theory and Harmony

Quarter: Summer
Instructor(s): Ilias Chrissochoidis
Duration: 7 weeks
Format/Location: Flex Online
Date(s): Jul 15—Aug 30
Class Recording Available: Yes
Tuition: $495
Refund Deadline: Jul 18
 
Unit(s): 1
   
Enrollment Limit: 40
  
Status: Open
 
Quarter: Summer
Unit(s): 1
Duration: 7 weeks
 
Date(s): Jul 15—Aug 30
 
Format/Location: Flex Online
 
Tuition: $495
 
Refund Deadline: Jul 18
 
Instructor(s): Ilias Chrissochoidis
 
Enrollment Limit: 40
 
Recording Available: Yes
 
Status: Open
 
Music theory is often considered to be irrelevant to our experience of music. This course will demonstrate that the opposite is true—understanding the laws governing the art of sound enhances our ability to appreciate, enjoy, and even remember music. Reversing the traditional academic practice of moving from concepts to real music, we will start with concrete musical examples and seek to extract their theoretical premises. The opening of Richard Strauss’s “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” will serve as a roadmap, introducing such concepts as the overtones series, music intervals, major and minor modes, and chord progression. We will then use a repertory of well-known themes, songs, and large-scale compositions, from “Greensleeves” to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 and from “Flight of the Bumblebee” to the Star Wars theme, to expand our understanding of the theoretical foundations of Western music. Finally, we will learn how to use chords to harmonize a melody, and we’ll explore basic ways of composing music.

No music-reading ability is required.




ILIAS CHRISSOCHOIDIS
Research Associate, Department of Music, Stanford

Ilias Chrissochoidis is a music historian, composer, and pianist. The recipient of numerous research awards, he has written extensively on Handel and opera. He is also the editor of Spyros P. Skouras’s memoirs and has released the music albums Inspiratorio, Ringtones, Hellenotropia, and Eviva! He received a PhD in musicology from Stanford.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.