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Contemporary Music Harmony

If you want to understand how harmony and chord progressions work in today’s popular praise and worship music, then this one-year course is designed with you in mind! Although primarily aimed at keyboardists, guitarists, and bassists, this course will benefit any musician who aspires to compose, arrange, lead, or perform popular contemporary music. Students will thoroughly explore major and minor scales, modes, keys and key signatures, intervals, triads, four- and five-part chords, upper-structure chords, chord extensions, chord-scale relationships, voice-leading principles, and harmonic analysis of popular tunes. Assignments will include written exercises in interval-building, scale/mode-building, chord-building, chord-voicing, and voice-leading, as well as other assignments. We will pay particular attention to interpreting chord symbols from “lead sheet” notation. Furthermore, students will then apply this knowledge in a stylistically appropriate manner to whatever instruments they play. The course will even include a significant ear-training component. This class is intended for high school students comfortable with reading standard music notation. Plug in your axe, turn on your amp, crank up the volume, and get ready to make a joyful noise!