Harmony II: Techniques for Composing Contemporary Music

MUSC X 403.53

Deepen your understanding of harmony with an exploration of contemporary music starting with the French Impressionists of the 19th century and ending with current composers. In this course, you will create your own compositions informed by the lessons learned from great composers.


What you can learn.

  • Cover the masters of contemporary scoring such as Stravinsky, Glass, Adams, and more
  • Delve into complex harmonic topics such as modality, tonal ambiguity, serialism, modern scales, and more
  • Work on your own compositions utilizing these concepts
  • Expand on your previous harmonic training to explore the deviations and complexities of modern harmony

About this course:

In this course, you learn the techniques of twentieth/twenty-first century harmony while also applying the theoretical concepts to your own compositions. You are exposed to a wide variety of modern-era harmonic practices, starting with an introduction to the French Impressionists of the late nineteenth century and then moving forward to current trends of today. Instruction consists of three stages: establishing a foundation in contemporary harmonic techniques, studying the music scores of the great masters who demonstrate these techniques, and creating your own compositions by emulating what you have learned. Harmonic concepts include: modality and tonal ambiguity of the impressionists, total chromaticism, free atonality, serialism, bitonality, modern scales, pandiatonicism, tone clusters and sound mass, minimalism, neo-romanticism, and more. Scores studied include works by Debussy, Ravel, Schoenberg, Webern, Stravinsky, Ligeti, Penderecki, Reich, Adams, Glass, Part, and Whitacre. Utilizing many of the concepts learned, you work on your own compositions and study scores that use many of these harmonic techniques.
MUSC X 403.52 Harmony I: Crash Course in Composing for Tonal Music, or consent of the instructor.

Contact Us

Speak to a program representative. Hours: Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm.

This course applies towards the following certificates & specializations…

Ready to start
your future?
By signing up, you agree to UCLA Extension’s Privacy Policy.

vector icon of building

Corporate Education

Learn how we can help your organization meet its professional development goals and corporate training needs.

Learn More

vector icon of building

Donate to UCLA Extension

Support our many efforts to reach communities in need.

Innovation Programs

Student Scholarships

Coding Boot Camp

Lifelong Learning