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Theory & Composition at CE

Lyle Davidson, Department Chair

Paul Burdick
Martin F. Gardiner
Rodney Lister
Elena Lucas
Margaret McAllister 
Stephen Savage
Shane Simpson
Doug Amos

Jazz Theory and History Faculty
Eyran Katsenelenbogen
Rick McLaughlin
Joel Yennior

Click here for Jazz Theory and History course listings.

Certificate Programs

A Certificate of Merit and a Professional Studies Certificate are available in music theory and composition. Check out our Certificates page for more information.

Private Instruction

Students wishing to broaden their musical training whether general or expert can do so through private instruction. Private classical and jazz instruction is offered by highly qualified and experienced faculty. Lessons range from 30, 45, or 60 minutes. Theoretical studies include sight-singing, ear training, form and analysis, 16th-and 18th-century counterpoint, tonal composition, 20th-century idioms, orchestration, and jazz theory and arranging. Lessons are open to everyone and you can enroll at anytime. Placement is made by the SCE Director.

Theory Program

The theory program is designed to provide the highly motivated adult student with instruction in the areas of rhythmic and melodic sight-singing, keyboard skills, and basic theoretical concepts. Ear-training is emphasized at all levels. Class presentations also provide historical context through musical examples and videos.

Classes

Music Theory & Literacy I

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Shane Simpson, Instructor
Mon 6:30-8:30 pm
2 credits: $1400
Non-credit: $930
FALL SEMESTER ONLY

Required of all Certificate students. The practice of harmonic and melodic intervals; rhythmic performance and dictation in simple and compound meters; reading of treble and bass clefs using fixed-do solfège and oneline melodic dictation; the study of triads and inversions, introduction to voice leading, with an emphasis on the harmonic style of music from the 18th century.

Music Theory & Literacy II

Shane Simpson, Instructor
Mon 6:30-8:30 pm
2 credits: $1400
Non-credit: $930
SPRING SEMESTER ONLY

Required of all Certificate students. A sequential continuation of Advanced Theory I, the emphasis will be placed on a study of voice leading; harmonic analysis; the harmonization of bass lines and soprano melodies, employing a variety of diatonic triads, seventh chords and non-chord tones; recognition and labeling of periodic phrase structures, with an emphasis on the harmonic style of music from the 18th and early 19th centuries. Prerequisite is Advanced Theory I.

Music Theory & Literacy III

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Doug Amos, Instructor
Wed 6:30-8:30 pm
2 credits: $1400
Non-credit: $930
FALL SEMESTER ONLY

Required of all Certificate students. A sequential continuation of Advanced Theory II. It will continue from the topics related to the cadential seventh chord and its role in the musical form of the classical period to the expansion of tonality through chromaticism in the romantic period. This course incorporates the study of harmonic tonal procedures, musical analysis of selected pieces and the acquisition of the practical and theoretical skills needed to comprehend, perform and write short compositions using the idioms of the 18th and early 19th century. The study of modulation, altered chords and forms will be reinforced with dictation using seventh chords and sight reading using treble, alto and bass clefs. Prerequisite is AdvancedTheory II.

Music Theory & Literacy IV

Doug Amos, Instructor
Wed 6:30-8:30 pm
2 credits: $1400
Non-credit: $930
SPRING SEMESTER ONLY

Required of all Certificate students. A sequential continuation of Advanced Theory III. This semester will conclude with an introduction to 20th century harmony and the acquisition of the practical and theoretical skills needed to comprehend and perform that music. It will start from the topics of enharmonic modulation through augmented sixth and diminished seventh chords and its role in the further expansion of tonality in the music of late romanticism. The study will be reinforced with dictation using rhythms with changing time signatures and complex subdivisions, and sightreading using soprano, alto, and tenor clefs.

Introduction to Composition I

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Stephen Savage, Instructor
Saturday 1:00-2:00 pm
1 credit: $725 per semester
Non-credit: $490 per semester
FALL SEMESTER ONLY

Beginning composition students are encouraged to realize their musical conceptions.  Basic concepts introduced include pitch and scale organization, meter, rhythm, interval, chord, tone color, motive, phrase, melody and texture. Rudiments of counterpoint, harmony, instrumentation and standard forms are considered, with emphasis on the balance between repetition and contrast.  Specific exercises are given, but students are also encouraged to write freely and to develop a style of their own.

Compositions are performed in class when possible.  Prerequisite: some basic knowledge of standard music notation and a desire to compose.

Introduction to Composition II

Stephen Savage, Instructor
Saturday 1:00-2:00 pm
1 credit: $725 per semester
Non-credit: $490 per semester
SPRING SEMESTER ONLY

Intermediate composition students are encouraged to realize their musical conceptions.  Topics from Introduction To Composition semester 1 are reviewed, and in addition chromatic and non-triadic harmony, contrapuntal techniques such as double and triple invertibility, larger forms, and various 20th century developments are explored.  Specific exercises are given, but students are also encouraged to write freely and to develop a style of their own.  Compositions are performed in class when possible.

Prerequisite: Completion of Introduction To Composition 1, or permission of the instructor.

Prerequisite is Advanced Music Theory III or permission of the instructor.

Modal Counterpoint

Margaret McAllister, Instructor
Offered as private instruction. Private lesson rates apply.

A study of 16th-century species counterpoint in two voices and an introduction to 18th-century counterpoint and canon and fugue in three voices. Representative musical examples by Palestrina and Bach will be studied; the last class is a one-hour exam. Text: Johann Fux, Gradus ad Parnassum. Prerequisite: Theory I or permission of the instructor.
 

Eighteenth-Century Tonal Counterpoint

Margaret McAllister, Instructor
Offered as private instruction. Private lesson rates apply.

A study of the basic elements of canon and fugue and the tonal harmony that gives direction and articulation to these types of polyphony. Representative examples will be drawn from J.S. Bach’s Musical Offering, Goldberg Variations, and The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.