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Garnish Music Production School in London

MUSPR 311 | Practical Harmony Application

Unit Title: Practical Harmony Application (Chords & Progressions) Credit Value: 15

Context

Many forms of music composition are built around the chord progressions that make up the various sections within a song. Having an intrinsic understanding of how and why certain chords work well together can help speed up the composition process and help make compositions more effective. Some composers and songwriters arrive at their conclusions on this based on trial and error or through experience, but an understanding of the theory and how to apply it can be a liberating, rather than a restrictive experience, as well as being vital for a musicological study of different compositions.

The ability to create effective chord progressions and have an understanding of them is essential in a number of musical environments and jobs, these might include: composer/songwriter arranging, orchestration, music for media (film etc), jazz composer and arranger, producer etc.

Aims/Purpose

This unit has 1 aim:

To develop the learners’ abilities in advanced harmonic construction through practical application.

 

The purpose of the unit is to: develop and enhance practical skills in harmony so that they may be used effectively as a compositional tool.

 

 

Skills Development

Learning in this area will support the development of the following specialist and transferable skills:

 

Specialist Knowledge and Skills

Compositional Skills

Knowledge of major and minor scales

Knowledge of modes

Extended chords

Altered chords

 

Personal Learning and Thinking Skills (PLTS)

Independent Enquirers

Learners analysing keys, chords and scales, investigating how they sound together and applying them in their own chord progressions.

Creative Thinkers

Learners generating new ideas and exploring possibilities for creating chord progressions from different scale types.

Reflective Learners

Learners assessing their work and identifying opportunities for improvement and understanding their

achievements.

Self-managers

Learners seeking out challenges and showing flexibility, working towards effective composition through exploration of new chord progressions

 

Functional Skills @ Level 2

English 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4; 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6

ICT 1.1

 

Employability Skills Analytical skills Presentation skills

Written or verbal communication

Creative thinking

Problem-solving Time Management Own Skills Awareness

 

Study Skills Critical thinking Synthesising information Problem solving

Listening skills Creative thinking Listening and Note taking

Contextual Awareness

Reading (textbooks articles) Research skills

Problem-solving

Time Management

 

 

Learning Outcomes

The learner will be able to:

 

  1. 1. Understand aspects of harmony using extended and altered chords built from the major and harmonic minor scales.

 

  1. 2. Understand aspects of modal chord progressions and their usage.

 

 

 

Unit Content

Using the learning outcome as the main point of reference, a scheme of work for this unit will include opportunities for learners to develop the following:

 

Analytical Skills

Analysis of different chords

Analysis of scale notes within chords and extensions to make poly chords

Analysis of how chords may be substituted for other chords

Evaluation of own work

Developing strategies for improvement

 

Chords

Construction of diatonic and non-diatonic chords, awareness of the associated moods and colour that chords and their various voicing produce. e.g. minor, major, sus4, minor/major7, maj7#11 dim, aug, etc

 

Compositional Techniques

Composing using different chord progressions

Using arpeggiated ideas effectively

Applying non-diatonic chords

Using extended and altered chords

Awareness of Modulation, transposition, Transposing chord progressions

Using scales and their modes effectively

 

Notation

Bar lines & Bar line formats (e.g. repeats, double bar line etc.) Clefs- Treble, Bass, Alto, Tenor, (e.g. 1 line, 2 lines etc.)

Signs Da Capo Dal Segno, Coda

Key Signatures, time signatures

Awareness of Chord Symbols and their alternate forms, e.g. roman numerals, American, abbreviated etc.

 

Communication Skills

Communicating musical ideas using scores, chord symbols and Roman numerals

Essay writing

Analysis of different scales and modes

Recording of musical ideas

Analysis of scale notes within chords

Essay writing

Applying Roman numeral analysis to chord progressions

 

 

Unit Content cont.

 

Analytical Skills

Analysis of different chords

Analysis of scale notes within chords and extensions to make poly chords

Analysis of how chords may be substituted for other chords

Evaluation of own work

Developing strategies for improvement

 

Chords

Construction of diatonic and non-diatonic chords, awareness of the associated moods and colour that chords and their various voicing produce. e.g. minor, major, sus4, minor/major7, maj7#11 dim, aug, etc

 

Compositional Techniques

Composing using different chord progressions

Using arpeggiated ideas effectively

Applying non-diatonic chords

Using extended and altered chords Awareness of Modulation, transposition, Transposing chord progressions

Using scales and their modes effectively

 

Notation

Bar lines & Bar line formats (e.g. repeats, double bar line etc.) Clefs- Treble, Bass, Alto, Tenor, (e.g. 1 line, 2 lines etc.)

Signs Da Capo Dal Segno, Coda

Key Signatures, time signatures

Awareness of Chord Symbols and their alternate forms, e.g. roman numerals, American, abbreviated etc.

 

Communication Skills

Communicating musical ideas using scores, chord symbols and Roman numerals

Essay writing

Analysis of different scales and modes

Recording of musical ideas

Analysis of scale notes within chords

Essay writing

Applying Roman numeral analysis to chord progressions

 

 

 

Suggested Delivery Ideas

 

The learning from this unit combines an understanding of theoretical concepts with practical application and this should be reflected in the delivery. Learners will need to be able to construct different scale types (major, harmonic minor and various modes) and need to be able to construct the different chords that belong to these scales.

 

Delivery may be a mixture of classroom-based, rehearsal based or working on a one to one basis. Learners may need to spend time working on their own creating trial chord progressions with targeted support from a tutor or instructor. Learners will need to spend time generating and developing ideas, as each learner may have different concepts about how to achieve the final outcomes. The delivery may involve large group discussions on existing well known pieces of music where chord substitutions have been made e.g. through new arrangements or compositionally.

 

The theory could be delivered in a classroom environment. It should be recognised that learners will have different levels of understanding of music theory and differing musical backgrounds but all learners should be allowed to reach their potential. Scales could be introduced gradually so that those with a greater understanding can move on to more of the advanced scales and chords, for example, they could extend chords up to 13ths, include more altered chords and explore more of the modes, including the modes of the harmonic minor scale.

 

It may be necessary to provide a practical environment to help with the composition of the chord progressions. This may include access to musical instruments and/or music software so that learners can experiment with how the different chord types sound in sequence.

The delivery of this unit should take into account that the realisation of work has to have some practical referent e.g. audio file, video, and this can be presented through performance/recital, recording studio work, arrangement and orchestration of an ensemble, through a DAW etc.

 

 

 

Suggested Activity Ideas

 

Learners could develop their understanding of the relevant theory, through aural perception tests and chord or scales tests and quizzes. There may be online or paper-based quizzes and learners could practise constructing different chords or scales through identifying missing notes or naming chords from the notes in the chord.

 

They should also learn about the relationship between chords in sequence by identifying strong and weak root progressions and different types of cadence. The effect of exploring how chords outside of the key may sound could be introduced by adding secondary dominant chords or changing the minor chords from a key to major and vice versa.

 

Learners should then construct their own chord progressions using different scale types and evaluate their effectiveness. This could be a shared experience using peer assessment.

 

To help them to evaluate their work, it may be useful for learners to review each other’s work as peers and

suggest things that they like about a progression and things they may change. Other activities might include:

Trial run chord progressions e.g. 8 bar verse sections

Quizzes and questionnaires on chords progressions

Identifying what chord progressions have been used in existing songs/music

Assessing the relationship between scales and chords

Applying chord progressions to their own compositional work (if applicable) Experimentation with chord voicings

Experimentation with instrumentation and timbre (where appropriate) Examining well known examples of common chord progressions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summative Assessment Methods

 

The learners should describe each chord in a major key and harmonic minor, including possible extensions for each chord.

 

The learners should create a chord progression in a major key that contains triads, extended chords and chords not built from stacked thirds. The progression should also contain use of a secondary dominant chord and should be at least 16 bars.

 

The learners should create chord progression in a minor key, demonstrating an understanding of the chords of the harmonic minor scale, which contains triads, extended chords and chords not built from stacked thirds. The progression should also contain use of a non-diatonic chord and should be at least 16 bars.

 

They should annotate both chord progressions using Roman numerals (e.g. iii, vi, ii, V, I)

The learners should describe the modes of the major and harmonic minor scales, including their intervals. The learners should then create a chord progression from a mode of the major scale (e.g. Dorian,

Mixolydian, Lydian) and a chord progression from a mode of the harmonic minor scale (e.g. Lydian #2,

Phrygian dominant [or Phrygian #3]).

 

They should annotate both of these chord progressions using Roman numerals.

 

Learners should also evaluate the success of all of their chord progressions, assessing strengths and areas for development.

 

 

 

Recommended Evidence

 

 

1.1 Written test, aural test, verbal description

 

1.2 Chord progression in a major key – recording of chord progression, score or chord chart

 

1.3 Chord progression in harmonic minor – recording of chord progression, score or chord chart

 

1.4 Roman numeral analysis – score or chord chart with Roman numerals for each chord progression

 

1.5 Evaluation – essay (word doc, pdf), questionnaire, blog or vlog

 

2.1 Written test, aural test, verbal description

 

2.2 Modal chord progression – recording of chord progression, score or chord chart

 

2.3 Chord progression in a mode of the harmonic minor scale – recording of chord progression, score or chord chart

 

2.4 Evaluation – essay, recorded discussion, questionnaire, blog or vlog

 

 

 

 

 

Links to other areas of the MUSPRA qualifications

Knowledge and skills developed in this area may be utilised to underpin activities relating to:

 

Instrumental Study

Musicianship

Composing Music (Styles) Other Practical Harmony units

 

 

 

Links to National Occupational Standards

This unit is derived from elements of the following NOS for Music Practitioners:

 

Map to the NOS for Music Composers, Performers and Music Technologist

 

 

Grading Criteria

 

Unclassified

A learner not on course to achieve the unit may:

 

  1. 1. Not be able to describe the chord variants on any degree of the major or harmonic minor scales, including extended chords

 

  1. 2. Fail to create a 16 bar progression in a major key using at least three extended chords, one 7th chord, a chord not built from stacked thirds and a secondary dominant chord.

 

  1. 3. Fail to create a 16 bar progression in a harmonic minor key using at least three extended chords, one 7th chord and one non-diatonic chord.

 

  1. 4. Not clearly or accurately annotate the progressions using Roman numerals.

 

  1. 5. Not evaluate their learning from this process, highlighting strengths and areas for development.

 

  1. 6. Fail to describe the seven modes of the major and harmonic minor scales including mode names and interval orders.

 

  1. 7. Fail to create a sixteen bar chord progression using a mode of the major scale, using at least one extended chord. The progression must be presented in a practical setting.

 

  1. 8. Fail to create a sixteen bar chord progression using a mode of the harmonic minor scale, using at least one altered chord. The progression must be presented in a practical setting.

 

  1. 9. Not evaluate the learning during this process and assess how this will aid compositional skills, highlighting strengths and areas for developme

 

Pass

To achieve a pass, all learners must:

 

  1. 1. Describe the chord variants on any degree of the major or harmonic minor scales, including extended chords, to a basic level.

 

  1. 2. Create a simple 16 bar progression in a major key using at least three extended chords, one 7th chord, a chord not built from stacked thirds and a secondary dominant chord.

 

  1. 3. Create a simple 16 bar progression in a harmonic minor key using at least three extended chords, one 7th chord and one non-diatonic chord.

 

  1. 4. Annotate the progressions using Roman numerals with a fair degree of accuracy.

 

  1. 5. Produce a basic evaluation of their learning from this process, highlighting strengths and areas for development and how this may aid their composition.

 

  1. 6. Describe the seven modes of the major and harmonic minor scales including mode names and interval orders, to a basic level.

 

  1. 7. Create a simple sixteen bar chord progression using a mode of the major scale, using at least one extended chord. The progression must be presented in a practical setting.

 

  1. 8. Create a simple sixteen bar chord progression using a mode of the harmonic minor scale, using at least one altered chord. The progression must be presented in a practical setting.

 

  1. 9. Produce a basic evaluation of the learning during this process and assess how this will aid compositional skills, highlighting strengths and areas for developme

 

 

 

Merit

To achieve a merit, learners should:

 

  1. 1. Describe the chord variants on any degree of the major or harmonic minor scales, including extended chords, demonstrating a good level of understanding.

 

  1. 2. Create a musically successful 16 bar progression in a major key using at least three extended chords, one

7th chord, a chord not built from stacked thirds and a secondary dominant chord.

 

  1. 3. Create a musically successful 16 bar progression in a harmonic minor key using at least three extended chords, one 7th chord and one non-diatonic chord.

 

  1. 4. Annotate the progressions using Roman numerals with a high degree of accuracy.

 

  1. 5. Produce a good, clear evaluation of their learning from this process, highlighting strengths and areas for development and how this may aid their composition.

 

  1. 6. Describe the seven modes of the major and harmonic minor scales, including mode names and interval orders, demonstrating a good level of understanding.

 

  1. 7. Create a musically successful sixteen bar chord progression using a mode of the major scale, using at least one extended chord. The progression must be presented in a practical setting.

 

  1. 8. Create a musically successful sixteen bar chord progression using a mode of the harmonic minor scale, using at least one altered chord. The progression must be presented in a practical setting.

 

  1. 9. Produce a good, clear evaluation of the learning during this process and assess how this will aid compositional skills, highlighting strengths and areas for developme

 

 

Distinction

To achieve a distinction, learners should:

 

  1. 1. Describe the chord variants on any degree of the major or harmonic minor scales, including extended chords, demonstrating a high level of understanding.

 

  1. 2. Create a harmonically coherent and engaging 16 bar progression in a major key using at least three extended chords, one 7th chord, a chord not built from stacked thirds and a secondary dominant chord.

 

  1. 3. Create a harmonically coherent and engaging 16 bar progression in a harmonic minor key using at least three extended chords, one 7th chord and one non-diatonic chord.

 

  1. 4. Accurately and clearly annotate the progressions using Roman numerals.

 

  1. 5. Produce a thorough and insightful evaluation of their learning from this process, highlighting strengths and areas for development and how this may aid their compositio

 

  1. 6. Describe the seven modes of the major and harmonic minor scales, including mode names and interval orders, demonstrating a high level of understanding.

 

  1. 7. Create a harmonically coherent and engaging l sixteen bar chord progression using a mode of the major scale, using at least one extended chord. The progression must be presented in a practical setting.

 

  1. 8. Create a harmonically coherent and engaging sixteen bar chord progression using a mode of the harmonic minor scale, using at least one altered chord. The progression must be presented in a practical setting.

 

  1. 9. Produce a thorough and insightful evaluation of the learning during this process and assess how this will aid compositional skills, highlighting strengths and areas for development.

 

 

MUSPR 311 Practical Harmony Application (Chords & Progressions)

Credit Value 15

QCF Level 3

Assessment Framework

 

Learning Outcomes

 

Through completion of this unit, the learner will be able to:

 

  1. 1. Understand aspects of harmony using extended and altered chords built from the major and harmonic minor scales.

 

  1. 2. Understand aspects of modal chord progressions and their usage.

 

 

Assessment Requirements

 

The learner can:

 

1.1 Describe the seven chord variants on any degree of the major and harmonic minor scales, including relevant extended chords.

 

1.2 Create a sixteen bar major chord progression including:

  1. a. At least one 7th chord
  2. b. At least 3 extended chords
  3. c. At least one chord not built from stacked thirds (e.g. 6th, sus2, 7sus4, add 9 et)
  4. d. At least one secondary dominant chord

The progression must be presented in a practical setting.

 

1.3 Create a sixteen bar harmonic minor chord progression including:

  1. a. At least one 7th chord
  2. b. At least 3 extended chords
  3. c. At least one non-diatonic chord

The progression must be presented in a practical setting.

 

1.4 Annotate both chord progressions using Roman numerals (e.g. iii, vi, ii, V, I).

 

1.5 Evaluate the learning during this process and assess how this will aid compositional skills, highlighting strengths and areas for development.

 

2.1 Describe the seven modes of the major and harmonic minor scales including mode names and interval orders.

 

2.2 Create a sixteen bar chord progression using a mode of the major scale, using at least one extended chord. The progression must be presented in a practical setting.

 

2.3 Create a sixteen bar chord progression using a mode of the harmonic minor scale, using at least one altered chord. The progression must be presented in a practical setting.

 

2.4 Evaluate the learning during this process and assess how this will aid compositional skills, highlighting strengths and areas for development.