Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
MUC 102
Course Title:
Commercial Music Theory II
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Covers functional harmony and altered chords, especially dominants. Focuses on chord progressions presented aurally and analyzed in reference to popular tunes, and scalular techniques to include melody writing with emphasis on jazz, rock and other commercial rhythms. Basic tune forms are analyzed. Must have prerequisite or instructor permission. Prerequisites: MUC 101. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Material for this course will be presented in a lecture format. Listening to student's work will increase over 1st Term quantity. However, examples from the standard recorded repertoire will be heard regularly as well, these examples drawing from jazz (esp. big band genre), blues, fusion, classical, and rock. Question and Answer sessions, or live playback conclude each class.

  • Students will be able to recognize and notate rhythms in compound meter
  • Students will be able to recognize and notate jazz rhythms
  • Students will be able to identify all 6th and 7th chords in root position
  • Students will be able to voice these chords in their inversions
  • Students will be able to voice and manipulate dominant 9th chords
  • Students will be able to recognize and voice standard progressions using 6th, 7th, and dominant 9th chords
  • Students will be able to recognize aurally phrase structures and basic song forms
  • Students will be able to analyze, explain, hear, and generate non-harmonic tones in melodies.
  • Students will be able to write (and provide preliminary score for) required songs.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Grading policy will have been established during the first term. Add to this that testing (not the compositions) will be competitive; students will vie for the highest point total. Low totals will affect the student's grade adversely, high totals positively. Quality of compositions will be paired with test grades to determine final grade. The 90% enrollment requirement still applies. Criteria will include:

  • Weekly Oral and Aural testing
  • Take-home test: A variation on some well-known song
  • Two compositions: A minor key blues and a short functional piece (a ┬┐jingle)
  • An in class final
  • Project: harmonizing a selection from melodies provided by the instructor

NOTE: All written material will be performed in class. Students will provide lead sheets for all written material.
Subject Matter:

  • Thorough review of first term
  • Layout for lead sheets and two staff mini-scores
  • Grouping of all practical 6th and 7th chords; spelling and voicing
  • Resolution of dominant 7th and 9th chords
  • Standard progressions in pop/jazz idioms, this to include major and minor keys
  • Voicing of standard progressions in four note closed-position chords
  • Presentation of twelve measure minor blues
  • Compound time signatures (as substitutes for 2/4, 3/4, and 4/4)
  • Rhythmic ideas: pick-ups, hemiolas, syncopation, styling simple rhythms
  • Analysis of basic song form (A1, A2 AABA AAB)
  • Analysis of melody tones as chord or non-chordal tones

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

The following skills are expected to successfully meet the minimum requirement of C or Pass for the course.

  • Hear and notate 4 note chords in root position; notate inversions
  • Identify and ┬┤ notate stylized rhythms as presented in class
  • Transpose rhythms from simple to compound meter (and visa versa)
  • Write stylized variations on simple rhythms
  • Identify non-harmonic tones both aurally or on paper, using proper nomenclature
  • Recognize melodic structures
  • Voice standard progression from given top note down
  • Complete compositional tasks as per agreement with instructor