Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
MUC 101
Course Title:
Commercial Music Theory I
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Covers chord types and scales, and their proper spellings. Practice dictation practice. Includes music copying. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Material for the course will be presented in a lecture format, this buttressed by listening to examples both recorded and performed by in class ensembles. Question and Answer sessions conclude each class. Musical styles presented include, for example, jazz, blues, fusion, classical (1750-1900), and rock

  • Students will be able to recognize and notate rhythms in simple meters; standard and jazz interpretation of these rhythms will be required.
  • In bass and treble clef students will be able to write primary melodic ideas, both heard and self-generated.
  • Students will be able to identify and intervals, scales, key signatures, triads, 6th, and 7th chords.
  • Students will be able to voice (to some degree) triads and four note chords.
  • Students will be able to compose and write a twelve measure blues using cadences and standard harmonizations
  • Students will be able to transpose this melody for given instrumentation and provide parts for the rhythm section.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

During the first week of class instructor will discuss with students grading policy for the term. Aside from attendance (90% of all classes) criteria will likely include:

  • Weekly oral quizzes
  • Weekly aural or listening quizzes
  • Take home projects: analytical, research, or creative
  • In-class final exam, to include written and listening response
  • Final project: A twelve measure blues for instrumentation TBA

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  • Clef notation; accidentals
  • Intervals; fixed, inverted, as used in transposition for certain instruments
  • Rhythmic values, time signatures and the four behaviors of rhythm
  • Key signatures, constructing major and minor scales, nomenclature
  • Triad types, scale tone triads, spelling and nomenclature
  • Melody as related to pitch, key and scale,harmony; typical phrases
  • Melody as a function of rhythm
  • Connecting triads: from root position to inversions
    • Common progressions of triads
    • Introducing four note chords (6th and 7th)
    • Inversions and smooth connections of these chords
    • Non-harmonic tones (intro): nomenclature and demonstration
    • Presentation of twelve measure blues progressions

Competencies and Skills:
The following skills are expected to successfully meet the minimum requirement of "C" or "Pass" for the course.

  • Hear, recognize, and notate intervals
  • Know major/minor scales, key signatures, scale tone triads
  • Hear and notate rhythmic behavior: standard and jazz interpretation
  • Provide nomenclature for scale tones, cadences, triads, four note chords, and non-harmonic tones (at preliminary level)
  • Recognize melodic structures
  • Analyze given material, i.e. rhythm, harmony, and melody
  • Transpose melody/harmony for random instruments
  • Complete compositional tasks as per agreement in class