Many of you have a brother or a sister, a
son or a daughter or even you, yourself, who at some point wanted to learn the guitar.
What was the first thing that they played? Perhaps it was something like this: That’s
pretty simple to play on the guitar and you probably recognize it even if you don’t know
the name of it. It’s called a I-IV-V chord progression. Why is it so familiar? Because
you’ve heard it in many rock and pop songs. Here, for instance, is a pop version of the
same chord progression: And, of course, the blues uses a version of the chord progression
as well: It’s also found frequently in classical music. Here are a few bars of Mozart that
use a modified version of
the I-IV-V chord progression: So as you can hear, musical styles aren’t founded on harmonic
progressions; instrumentation, tempo, figuration amongst other issues all contribute to making
a style. Hi, my name is Peter Edwards and I’m offering a course on Coursera called Write
Like Mozart: An Introduction to Classical Music Composition. I’d like to invite you
to join the class if you have an interest in getting inside this musical style. The
course aim is to introduce the tools needed to emulate the general style of music composition
from the late 18th and early 19th centuries. By course completion, you should be able to
take a harmonic progression or a simple melody and create a musical passage that’s stylistically
similar to that of an 18th century European composer. We will look at many of the things
that make classical era music sound the way it does, from voicing of chords to use of patterns,
non-chord tones and even things that are philosophical in nature, that is, to a certain degree we
will get into how an 18th century European composer thought about music and how that
manifests itself in composition. I should mention that this is not a music theory course.
A university music theory course would deal comprehensively with everything, from musical
rudiments to chromatic harmony. This course assumes that you have knowledge of musical
rudiments, that is, key signatures, intervals, chords and roman numeral analysis. Ample learning
materials will be given. There will be videos to introduce new topics, to illustrate those
topics through analysis, and to model the completion of student exercises. I do feel
strongly that with music one learns by doing, so there will be resources for step-by-step
practice and utilizing new concepts and skills as well as exercises that can be self-evaluated.
In the end, I hope this class gives one more than just an ability to style write classical
music. I hope it gives one an inside view of what a musical style is, and with this
information, one can go on to investigate other styles of music and have a richer comprehension
and appreciation of music creation found in all corners of our world.