Harmony, History & Style - Unit 1 (Baroque)

Why does Bach sound like Bach? Why does Bartok sound like Bartok?

Harmony, History & Style looks at the answers to such questions through the lens of harmony. In this course, you will:

  • learn how chords are put together to create a particular sense of style;
  • cultivate skills of harmonic analysis to understand form and content in music;
  • understand style in historical context.

One of the best things music theory does is to help you understand the specifics of musical style. When you understand style, you can play better, teach better and hear more when you listen to the music.

But to truly understand style, you have to locate it within a historical narrative. This unique course blends analysis and music history to produce deeper understanding and engagement with classical music.

And what better way to do that than to look at some of the most beloved piano pieces of the classical repertoire? The first unit focuses on the Baroque style and features two preludes by Bach, the preludes in C Major and C Minor from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1. The topics covered will include understanding functional diatonic harmony (Roman numeral analysis), principles of voice-leading, secondary function chords, mode mixture and common chord modulations.

How it works?

The course combines online content comprising video lessons and activities which are followed-up with live online workshops. The video lessons introduce concepts which are then put into practice in two analysis activities before each workshop. The workshops are live sessions and your opportunity to discuss the piece in depth, ask any questions that came up and compare your analysis with Lona's and others in the group.

The first unit features two workshops on Thursday 27 June and Thursday 11 July. Be sure to watch the two introduction videos and two theory videos before these sessions, and give yourself some time to work on the activity. The workshops will be recorded if you are unable to join us live, and you will still be able to watch the recordings and view Lona's analysis afterwards.

Who it's for?

This course is suitable for pianists of all levels and is ideal for anyone who has a basic working knowledge of chords but wants to gain a deeper understanding of how harmony works.

About Your Presenter – Lona Kozik

I have been teaching music theory and composition since I began my graduate education in 1999. While studying for my MA in Music Composition at the University of Pennsylvania, I started teaching music theory to Penn undergraduates. I have since taught music theory and composition at Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan, Plymouth University (UK), Dartington College of Arts (UK), and in my own studio at home. I own and operate the Totnes School of Piano.

I entered my undergraduate studies completely focussed on studying piano performance, but I quickly found that studying music theory improved my sight-reading and my ability to memorise music; it heightened my musical expression and understanding at the piano; and it eventually led me to composing music.

I hold dual undergraduate degrees in piano performance and music theory, an MA and PhD in composition from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and two MFAs in performance (improvisation emphasis) and electronic music and recording media from Mills College in California, where I won the Flora Boyd Piano Performance Prize in 2011.

But most importantly, I have a passion for teaching music theory. I believe it is the key that unlocks all musical treasures. It can be engaging in its own right, but music theory, for me, is best viewed as a means toward greater musical expression and creativity!

Read what a past participant in this course has to say...

"Lona Kozik's course took us on a fascinating journey into diatonic chromatic harmony and its development through the centuries. The deep dive into the harmonic and structural analysis of each well known piece we studied not only opened up a fresh understanding of the piece itself, but also provided a window into the mind of the composer and the way he chose to use chords and harmonic progressions (both the ordinary and extraordinary). The theoretical understanding we gained provided us with tools to analyse our own repertoire more thoroughly and to be able to interpret it in ways that we may have otherwise missed.

This course would be hugely beneficial to so many different types of musicians - piano/instrumental teachers, theory teachers and performers.

Lona is a wonderful teacher, whose own enthusiasm for the material is evident in her clear and articulate presentations. I highly recommend this course to all musicians!"

Workshop sessions & dates

Part 1 (27 Jun 2024 @ 18:30 BST (GMT +01:00))

Part 2 (11 Jul 2024 @ 18:30 BST (GMT +01:00))

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