OVERVIEWMU 109 covers basic tonal harmony, elementary voice leading, and phrase structure. We will approach harmonic syntax in a highly general way that is pertinent to a broad range of music, including much classical, jazz, rock, and pop. MU 109 is a prerequisite for higher-level theory courses and for many 100-level and above music history courses.
IN-PERSON MEETING PATTERN AND CLASSROOM SAFETYUVM policies on distancing, masking, and hygiene will determine minimum safety standards for our class. I may require further precautions, which I will expect everyone to follow for our mutual benefit, and to make a successful continuation of the semester as likely as possible. The number of class meetings per week, length of meetings, and number of students per meeting will be at the maximum that I am comfortable with. This will depend on developing conditions throughout the semester. Consult the home page for up-to-date information on meeting plans.
PREREQUISITESStudents should begin MU 109 with basic knowledge of notation and the elements of music theory (meter, scales, intervals, and simple chord structure) as determined by the department placement exam. (These elements will be reviewed very quickly in the first two weeks of the course.) Students needing more preparation will be referred to MU 009.
CONCURRENT ENROLLMENT IN GROUP PIANOConcurrent enrollment in piano class is not a requirement, but it is very helpful. Keyboard skill sufficient to play through examples and assignments is a great asset in learning theory. See MUL 002 and MUL 116-120 in the course catalog. If you are unsure of your placement or the requirements for your music major concentration, feel free to check with me.
CONCURRENT ENROLLMENT IN HARMONY & FORM LABAll non-MTB music majors enrolled in MU 109 should enroll concurrently in MU 101 (Harmony & Form Lab I). MTB majors and non-majors are encouraged to enroll as well.
- Subscription to teoria.com ($10). Details are here.
- Staff paper, 8½ x 11, for notes and assignments. You can download stationery online but quality paper in a notebook may be more pleasant (available at the UVM bookstore).
- Sharp pencils with good erasers. Don’t try to do music theory in pen.
- Optional: 3-ring binder for handouts and assignments.
There is no textbook. Expect to print a moderate amount of material from the topics pages and (depending on our in-person meeting schedule) from the assignments pages as well.
GRADINGWritten assignments 40%
Tests (two midterms & final, all equally weighted) 40%
Online fluency quizzes 10%
Online discussion (Yellowdig) 10%
WRITTEN ASSIGNMENTSThere is written work assigned for almost every class meeting. Sometimes I will check off homework (credit/no-credit) so we can review the assignment immediately in class; at other times I will collect and grade it. I will often mark mistakes without correcting them, so as to give you the chance to work out the problem yourself. If you ever want me to give you a correction directly, just ask, in or out of class.
Assignments will be reduced 10% for each class meeting they are late. Once I have returned an assignment, I may or may not accept further submissions.
You may notate in pencil or using computer notation software. In either case you must notate neatly and correctly and on standard approx. letter-size paper—no fragments or tiny sheets!
TESTSThere will be two in-class tests and a final exam, together worth 40% of your final grade.
ONLINE ASSIGNMENTSThere are two sorts of online assignments:
- those designed to build understanding of concepts (not timed)
- those designed to improve fluency (timed)
—You will always be able to practice as much as you like before you submit a timed result.
Fluency is essential to meaningful application of the material. Without fluency in fundamentals, you will struggle to understand and follow class discussion of new topics.
Online exercises must be completed by the deadline for that topic to receive credit. This rule is strict: tracking down results for past-due exercises is time-consuming for me.