Music Intensive: Western Music Theory

Winter 2022
Freshman - Senior
Class Size: 25
16 Credits per quarter
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This program incorporates Greener Foundations. Greener Foundations is Evergreen’s 2-quarter introductory student success course, which provides all first-year students with the skills and knowledge they need to thrive at Evergreen. First year students will get 14-credits from this program, and 2-credits from a Greener Foundations course. 

One of the pleasures of understanding the theory behind Western Music is that it allows for the pleasures of listening to be intensified. Gradually, the smallest turns of phrase within the music become a joke, or a scold, or indifference -- or any number of other human actions.

Rather than remaining an abstract "art form," a piece of music may become the ambiguous but definite expression of a thought, a story, a plea, a stalwart joyfulness, or the gesture of dutiful resignation.

This program will seek to enhance your listening capabilities, and simultaneously teach you about the mechanics that build up the world of harmony and rhythm. We'll have regular exercises in ear-training, both rhythmic, melodic and harmonic, as well as workshops on harmony, where we'll learn what defines a "chord," how are chords used in "sequences," and we'll practices ways of aurally identifying chords and their sequences. We'll learn about cadences (or "closing statements"), and how they're used to play tricks on our listening. We'll also attend concerts, and see a live opera.

Theory of Harmony,Fundamentals of Sight Singing and Ear Training,The Complete BeatlesNo previous experience with theory or analysis is expected. Readings will include:  by Arnold Schoenberg; by Arnold Fish and Norman Lloyd;  (Vol. 1), arranged by Todd Lowry. One day week, we'll meet in small groups and work on applying what we study of harmony by analyzing songs, both by the Beatles and various jazz composers: Cole Porter, George Gershwin, and others.

Students will be expected to take weekly lessons on the instrument of their choice at their own cost. Students should should set up their lessons by the end of the previous quarter. Please contact the faculty ( for help finding teachers.


Winter 2022 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

Sr (16): 20264
Jr (16): 20265
So (16): 20266
Fr (14): 20267

Academic details

Preparatory For

Music performance, music teaching, music composition, musicology.

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing

$100 for performance tickets

Special Expenses

$150-$200 for 10 private music lessons (students will arrange these on their own, with advice and support from the faculty)


In Person or Remote
In Person
Time Offered
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule