Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
MUC 103
Course Title:
Commercial Music Theory III
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Covers preliminary score layout. Introduces harmonizing and blocking melodies and transposition, stressing craft and execution. Continue dictation adding elements of melodic and harmonic transcription. Must have prerequisite or instructor permission. Prerequisites: MUC 102. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Material for the course will be presented in a lecture format. Listening to both recorded and live examples will continue apace. Question and answer sessions or live playback will conclude each class, however this term the students will be required to present questions in addition to those posed by the instructor. Musical genres for listening and analysis will carry over from prior two terms with the addition of: modern fine arts music, latin, and odd meter jazz excerpts (Dave Brubeck, Stan Kenton etc.)

  • Students will be able to notate simple rhythms in odd meters (5/4,7/4 etc.)
  • Students will be able to craft simple backgrounds to melodies
  • Students will be able to include minor and dominant 9ths, llths, and the dominant 13th in voicing of standard progressions
  • Students will be able to chromatisizeî standard progressions through chord substitution
  • Students will be able to write a ballad and *latin phrase if not an entire song
  • Students will be able to set a three staff mini-score
  • Students will be able to write, produce (if prerecorded), and present score for an original song using a basic song form

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Grading policy will continue to be based upon good attendance, competitive testing, and quality of written (composed) assignments. To this will be added student critiques of composed works played in class. Student critiques will be quantified and folded into over-all grade. Criteria will include therefore:

  • Weekly oral/aural tests
  • Student based testing (see student questions and answers above)
  • Brief compositions in ballad and latin style
  • In class final exam to include written and listening response
  • Final project: An original tune prerecorded or performed live

Subject Matter:

  • Review of simple and compound meter
  • Cursory presentation of odd meters and mixed meters
  • Presentation of ballad and latin styles, forms
  • Adaptation of jazz rhythms to ballad and latin styles
  • Three staff mini-score techniques
  • Introducing preliminary foreground/background interaction: passive and active backgrounds
  • Introducing major and minor 9th chords (inc. major and minor 6/9s)
  • Presentation of minor and dominant 11th chords; dominant 13th
  • Voicing and connecting these chords in four note closed position

Chord substitution:

  • The secondary dominant and the secondary diminished 7th chord
  • Borrowingî from the parallel minor
  • Insertion * of the half step shift
  • Transposition for selected instruments (to be used in project playback)

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

The following skills are expected to successfully meet the minimum requirement for the course.

  • Hear and notate rhythms in simple, compound, and basic odd meters
  • Substitute secondary, borrowed, and half step chords in simple progressions
  • Set musical ideas in three staff mini-score
  • Recognize and spell 9th, 11th, and dominant 13th chord in root position
  • Voice 9th, 11th, and dominant 13th chords from given top note
  • Transpose melodies and chord changes to selected instruments
  • Analyze from lead sheets provided in class, the form, key, melodic and rhythmic behavior (using proper nomenclature), and chord structure of selected piece.
  • Compose a passive and an active background to selected piece
  • Complete compositional tasks as per agreement with instructor