Music Theory

Video of Theory Class Sessions

Theory III

Six-Four Chords

A class session from 1/18/2013 that presents the four main kinds of six-four chords.

Six-Four Chords Class Session 1/18/2013

  This class begins with Keith Green’s rendition of Melody Green’s “Make My Life,” which serves to introduce passing six-four chords and, by its lyrics, to help us think about how offering ourselves to God is a prerequisite for experiencing his power as we put to use the talents he has given us.  We then connect the instability of the sound of six-four chords to their functions as embellishing chords.  The four types of six-four chords are presented.  Finally, six-fours are identified within several musical excerpts.

Chromatic Sequences

This class session continues to explore sequences involving secondary dominants.

Chromatic Sequences Class Session 3/2/2012

Motives in Baroque Music (Bach Inventions)

Having just finished covering the topics of modulation and sequences, this class session begins the topic of melodic motives.  We consider the roles of motives within a common 3-element pattern found in contrapuntal music of the Baroque:

1. The phrase begins by presenting a main motive (or “subject”) in imitation,

2. the middle of the phrase involves one or more sequences, and

3. the phrase ends with liquidation, sometimes involving fragmentation.

Motives Class Session 10/22/2011

Review Session for Unit 2 Exam

Motives (imitation, sequences, liquidation) and modulation in the context of Baroque Fortspinnung-style music.

Class Session, part 1

Class Session, part 2

Review Assignment

         Assign #24-Sequence & Modulation in a Baroque Phrase

Binary Form

Theory III class session on 11/11/2011.

Binary Form Introduced


Theory IV

Neapolitan Sixth Chords in Analysis

A class session from 1/18/2013 that presents how to recognize the Neapolitan and some typical contexts in which it appears.

Neapolitan Sixths in Analysis Class Session 1/18/2013

  The class begins with a discussion of how we must be strengthened to become filled with God’s Spirit.  We then review Neapolitan sixth chords, their content, doubling, resolution, and function.  Then we identify these features in a real musical example.  We tackle a more challenging excerpt with a strange doubling and, later in the same excerpt, a new resolution involving viio7/V.  Two patterns of harmonizing a ^1 in between b^2 and the leading tone are presented:


  bII6-cadential six-four-V

Finally, we talk about how to perform the phrases in this excerpt that include Neapolitan and critique a recorded performance of them.

Set Classes

An introduction to set classes: how to realize set classes and how to recognize and label them.

Introduction to Set Classes

Introduction to Transformations and Transformational Graphs

This is the Music Theory IV class right before Fall Break 2011.  We have just covered normal form (the most compact arrangement of a set of pitch classes), set types (the intervals up from the lowest note in the set’s normal form), and set classes.  This class sesson begins our discussion of the topics of (1) transformations, primarily transposition and inversion, and (2) transformational graphs, in which we show how the music moves from pitch-class set to pitch-class set in time.

Class Session 10/22/2011

 Part 1

Part 2

Introduction to Phrase Rhythm

This class session, 11/11/2011, introduced phrase connections (phrase overlap and links between phrases) and phrase expansion (prefixes, internal expanions such as parenthetical insertions, and suffixes) using Lennon and McCartney’s “Michelle” and a string quartet by Haydn.

Phrase Rhythm Session



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