Music 191
Theory and Musicianship

University of California, Irvine
Winter 2014


Grau, theurer Freund, ist alle Theorie,
Und grün des Lebens goldner Baum.

All theory, dear friend, is gray;
The golden tree of life is green.

--Mephistopheles in Goethe's Faust

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; in practice, there is.


Class Sessions

Class meets once weekly for two hours a week for ten weeks, beginning Monday January 6, 2014 and continuing through Monday March 10, 2014. There will be no class session on Monday January 20, 2014 (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day) or February 17, 2014 (Presidents' Day); class will be rescheduled in those weeks. The final examination session is scheduled for Wednesday March 19, 2014, 10:30am-12:30pm. That, too, may be rescheduled; in the meantime, students should keep the time reserved until further notice.

Class meeting time is Monday 5:00-6:50 in the Keyboard Instruction Lab, Room 190A of the Arts Instruction Technology Resource Center (AITR).

An attendance record of 90% or better is required to pass the class. Please make every effort to arrive on time. Please plan not to use electronic devices such as computer, tablet, phone, or personal MP3 player during class time. Taking notes on paper is strongly advised; staff paper will be necessary for good note taking.

Professor Contact Information

Professor Christopher Dobrian
Music and Media Building, Room 211
(949) 824-7288

Office hours are by appointment. Talk to me before or after class, or contact me by email or phone, to set up an appointment for a meeting.


This class provides a review of tonal harmonic theory as applied to Baroque music, Classical/Romantic music, 20th-century classical music, and jazz, with the intent to prepare for advanced courses and graduate seminars in analysis and post-tonal music. Emphasis will be on the interrelationship of harmonic theory and tonal counterpoint, as it's applicable to sightsinging, composing, and understanding musical structure. Below is a listing of topics and activities likely to be dealt with in this class.


Most of the reading, listening, and score materials needed for the class will be provided online by the professor as needed. Materials which cannot be provided electronically online will be put on reserve in the Arts Media Center.

The suggested the textbook is the one that is used in Music 16ABC, Harmonic Practice in Tonal Music by Robert Gauldin, second edition, and its accompanying workbook.

Another good textbook for learning classical harmony and theory is The Complete Musician by Steven G. Laitz, third edition, and its accompanying workbook.

Students will usually be asked to hand in written assignments on paper, although in some cases the assignment may be handed in in the form of an electronic file provided via EEE DropBox. Assignments involving written music may be done by hand or by computer; either is equally acceptable, provided it's legible and correct.


Students will be graded on their participation in class, their performance of assigned musicianship skills, and their assigned written work. Students are expected to come to class having adequately prepared the assigned exercises, and all written assignments must be turned in on time. The final exam will consist mostly of harmony writing, harmonic analysis, and signing of melodies and exercises.

Permission to make up a missed assignment or exam will be granted only in the case of documented incapacity to attend at the regularly scheduled time. Acceptable forms of documentation include, for example, a written report from a medical doctor or a police officer stating that the student was unable to attend.

Final Exam

The final exam will be held Monday March 17, 2014 10:30am-12:30pm in AITR 190A (not at the Wednesday time listed in the WebSOC).


If you have a disability that inhibits you from performing any of the stated requirements of this course, as approved and documented by the UCI Disability Services Center, please ensure that the professor and the teaching assistants are thoroughly aware of the matter as early in the term as possible.

Academic Honesty

Plagiarism of any kind is a violation of UCI policy on Academic Honesty, and penalties for cheating or plagiarism can be severe. In this class you will be expected to attribute due credit to the originator of any ideas, music, or other work which you incorporate substantially into your own assignments. While supportive co-education between colleagues is encouraged, written assignments must be accomplished individually, without collaboration with others.


This page was last modified March 11, 2014.