As mentioned previously, I took Music Theory and Composition 3 in my fourth term with Berklee Online. It was another really dense and challenging course with a ton of information in it. Each week either had something completely new or was building on information from the earlier MTC courses.

The term started with a review of material covered in MTC2: Major key harmony applied to chords, voice leading, modes and tensions; Minor key harmony applied to chords and voice leading with composite scales; Figured Bass; Borrowed chords (modal interchange); Secondary Dominant chords; Hybrid chords; 12-bar blues form; Bass and drum grooves in various styles and meters; and identifying simple musical forms.

In the following 11 weeks we covered: Extended Dominant Series, Deceptive Resolution of Secondary Dominants and Voice Leading; Substitute Dominants, Related II chords and Extended Substitute Dominants; Augmented 6th Chords, Advanced Figured Bass, and Four-Part Voice Leading; Diminished 7th chords and how they function in different contexts; Non-Chord Tones (classical analysis) and Approach Tones (contemporary analysis); Upper Structure Triads and Polychord Voicings; Modulation and it’s various applications; Different styles of music from South America and the Caribbean (The Chaconne, The Samba, The Chord, Clave and Son, Salsa, Timba, the “Hocket”, Marroons, Mentos, Ska, Rocksteady, Toasting and Reggae); More musical forms introduced (Rondo, Sonata Allegro, ABAC as well as Theme and Variations); Further work with Minor keys (Natural, Harmonic, Melodic and Composite Minor); and additional focus on the Blues.

As with the other MTC classes, time management was key to getting through it all. I was still implementing my “Plan A” (best case scenario) and “Plan B” (worst case scenario) approach to assignments. Usually this was in the form of two questions that I would detail on my whiteboard before starting work: “If I could do this the way I really wanted what would that look like and mean in terms of time? Alternatively, what is the minimum I need to do to meet the requirements of the assignment?”

Most often I would start with Plan B and still be able to get much of what I wanted in Plan A done as well. I think this was attributed to two things. 1. Getting through the coursework as early in the week as possible so that I could focus exclusively on the assignment. 2. Once I got momentum going and knew that I had the minimum covered I could also get the other stuff incorporated before the due date.

Here’s a playlist of some of the pieces that I put together for this term’s assignments.