Introduction to Jazz Theory I

Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Course Code
MUSC 2101
Semester Length
15 Weeks
Max Class Size
Method Of Instruction
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
This course will introduce the student to the basic theory, concepts and practices of jazz music up to ca. 1945. The major musical trends that will be examined are: Dixieland, Swing, Blues, Tin Pan Alley and Broadway traditions.
Course Content

1) Resources and Vocabulary of Jazz

  • Notation conventions
  • Scales and Modes
  • Basic Chord Types
  • Sevenths, 9ths, 11ths, 13ths, Other
  • Standard Jazz Chord Symbols
  • Roman Numeral Chord Notation
  • Terminology

2)The Structure of Jazz

  • Rhythmic and Textural Structure
  • Jazz Rhythmic Interpretation
  • Phrasing and Melodic Structure
  • Forms
  •     32-Bar Forms
  •     ABAC
  •     Through-Composed
  •     Ternary
  •     Song Forms in Jazz
  • Charts

3)Standard Chord Progressions: Blues, “Rhythm Changes”, etc.

  • Traditional Blues
  • A Jazz Approach to Blues
  • “Rhythm” Changes, etc.
  • Contrafacts
  • Other

4)Functional Harmony in Jazz

  • Theory of Chord Progressions
  • Root Motion
  • Circle of Fifths Root Motion
  • Strong/Weak Alternation of Chords
  • Tensions and Chord Function
  • Non-Tonic Beginnings
  • Tritone Substitution
  • Line Clichés
  • Diminished- and Half-Diminished Seventh Chords
  • Borrowed Chords (Modal Interchange)
  • Secondary Functions
  • Tonicization and Modulation
  • Miscellaneous Harmonic Techniques

5)Listening to a broad range of representative repertoire

Methods Of Instruction

Lecture and practical demonstrations.

Means of Assessment

Listening Tests (minimum of 2)                          10%

Quizzes (minimum of 2)                                    10%

Assignments (minimum of 6)                             30%

Midterm exam                                                  20%

Final exam                                                       20%

Class Work                                                       10%


Learning Outcomes

At the end of the course, the successful student should be able to:

  1. Perform a harmonic and formal analysis of a jazz standard.
  2. Compose a contrafact.
  3. Harmonize and/or re-harmonize a melody using the essential harmonic vocabulary and syntax of jazz.
  4. Compose original works in a variety of forms.
  5. Provide written answers to questions on any aspect of the course content.
  6. Aurally identify a variety of styles and techniques common in the standard repertoire.
Textbook Materials

The instructor may assign the most recent edition of a textbook such as:

Mulholland, J. and Hojnacki, T. The Berklee Book of Jazz Harmony,

Berklee Press, Boston.


 Levine, Mark. The Jazz Theory Book, Sher Music Co.



MUSC 1110 with a grade of B or better OR permission of the instructor.





Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

Institution Transfer Details Effective Dates
Athabasca University (AU) No credit 2015/01/01 to -
College of the Rockies (COTR) COTR MUSI 1XX (3) 2015/05/01 to 2019/08/31
College of the Rockies (COTR) No credit 2019/09/01 to -
Columbia College (COLU) No credit 2015/01/01 to -
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) KPU MUSI 3550 (3) 2015/01/01 to -
Langara College (LANG) LANG GNST 1XXX (2) 2015/01/01 to -
Northern Lights College (NLC) No credit 2015/01/01 to -
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU CA 1XX (2) 2015/01/01 to -
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) No credit 2015/01/01 to -
Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU MUSI 1XX (3) 2015/01/01 to -
University Canada West (UCW) No credit 2015/01/01 to -
University of British Columbia - Okanagan (UBCO) No credit 2015/01/01 to -
University of Northern BC (UNBC) No credit 2015/01/01 to -
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV MUSC 101 (2) 2015/01/01 to -
University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC MUS 1XX (1) 2015/01/01 to -
Vancouver Island University (VIU) Individual Audition Required 2015/01/01 to -

Course Offerings

Fall 2021

There aren't any scheduled upcoming offerings for this course.