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MUS 177 — Understanding Music Theory Through Popular Music

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Thursdays
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 6 weeks
Date(s): Sep 27—Nov 1
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm
Drop Deadline: Oct 10
Unit: 1
Tuition: $355
Instructor(s): Lisa Sanchez
7:00—8:50 pm
Sep 27—Nov 1
6 weeks
Drop By
Oct 10
1 Unit
Lisa Sanchez
Have you ever wanted to learn how music works but wished that music theory could somehow be demystified and made more relevant to you as a popular music listener? In this course, we will learn about the basic building blocks of music by analyzing songs we all know and love. Drawing from the folk, blues, rock, and jazz traditions, we will look closely at such iconic songs as “House of the Rising Sun” (The Animals), “Stormy Monday” (T-Bone Walker), “Norwegian Wood” (The Beatles), and “Take Five” (Dave Brubeck). In these songs and others, we will identify and learn about such elements as scales, modes, keys, chord progressions, rhythms, and song forms; and we will examine how these elements fit together to create a beloved piece of music. We will also discuss how these musical traditions have influenced each other. Recorded examples of music will be presented in the course, along with visual presentations and live musical demonstrations. The ability to read music is not required. You need only the desire to understand what goes into making great music.

Lisa Sanchez, Instructor, Gryphon Stringed Instruments

Lisa Sanchez has taught basic music and guitar at SF State. She studied jazz guitar with Warren Nunes and voice with jazz vocalist Mark Murphy. Sanchez has extensive experience as a vocalist and a freelance professional jazz and pop guitarist. She performs regularly, and her latest album is Lisa Sanchez / Jon Eriksen Quartet.

Textbooks for this course:

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