Harmonic Spheres (MTH4130.01)

Nick Brooke

Composers and improvisers periodically reinvent the wheel, creating systems of scales and tunings, instruments, and even philosophies of harmony and rhythm. In this course, we’ll also explore how to invent your own systems. Beginning with tuning, students will build an acoustic or virtual instrument based on their own temperament. We will then explore harmonic systems that ground the work of Bartók, Messiaen, and Partch as well as later 20th century music. We’ll look at concepts of raga and tala, and Javanese concepts of pathet, as well as a broad range of rhythmic and harmonic systems from across the world. Students will be expected to do advanced harmonic analysis, master readings, and create original work. Special in-class musicianship labs will be devoted to the performance and listening of the works that we cover.


Learning Outcomes:
* gaining fluency in notation and harmonic analysis.
* improving musicianship in singing, instrumentalism, and dictation.
* learning about new harmonic and rhythmic concepts that are not part of standard harmony/voice leading.
* understanding alternate harmonic and rhythm systems from around the world


Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Prerequisites: Some notational skills. Permission of the instructor
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 4
M/Th 3:40PM - 5:30PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 16
Course Frequency: Every 2-3 years

Categories: All courses , Theory , Composition , Fully In-Person
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