Music 1: Stylistic Techniques

Course Level: 1 (HE4) | HE Credits: 40 | Approx. Duration: 12 months at 8hrs/week


This unit explores the development of harmony and stylistic compositional techniques through the history of western Art Music. An understanding of analysis, harmony and form will be developed through the study of repertoire by established composers from the Renaissance to the Twentieth Century and practical exercises. The course traces the development of musical style and harmonic language, and score-based and written work is accompanied by listening to a range of works from each era, developing your own opinions, preferences and responses to the music.

The exercises and assignments are designed to develop your skills in score reading, notation, harmony and an understanding of compositional style and structure.  You will gain practical experience of creating music in the style of different composers.

This is a core unit which all Music students are required to undertake.


This course aims to:

  • A1 introduce you to the fundamentals of tonal harmony
  • A2 develop your knowledge of some of the main compositional styles through history
  • A3 enhance your skills in musical analysis and score reading
  • A4 explore the music of established composers, enhance your ability to read and hear written music and develop your reflective skills


On successful completion of the course you will be able to:

  • LO1 demonstrate an understanding of the fundamentals of harmony and conventions of notation
  • LO2 recognise and describe musical organisation and style in music from different historical eras
  • LO3 analyse written scores and understand their methods of construction
  • LO4 demonstrate an ability to read the work of established composers in written form, enhanced listening skills and an ability to reflect upon your own learning experience

Course content

  • Understanding Harmony; four part harmony within the tonal system
  • Polyphony and vocal music
  • The classical era; form, phrase structure and accompaniment textures
  • Harmony in the Romantic Era; development of chromaticism and increased freedom of form
  • Twentieth Century approaches to harmony; eg. serialism, quartal harmony, use of new scale forms