How Music Works: the Tools of Music Theory

This comprehensive study of music theory provides a complete set of tools handy for either a lifelong interest in music or preparing to take college entrance exams. Explore theoretical concepts in the context of real-world projects through the repertoire of famous composers. Learn notation, rhythm, melody, harmony, and analysis. Use what you've learned to compose your own music.

At a glance

What: How Music Works: the Tools of Music Theory

When: Start anytime, complete within 1 year

Where: online

Cost: Regular Adult: $225, | High School Student: $195

Register Online
or register by phone at
608-262-2451
Register anytime

For additional information, contact
Jamie L. Henke:

Continuing Studies music instructor Jaimie Henke talks about basic music-theory concepts from her new online class How Music Works.

How this course works

Working entirely online, learn the basics of music theory in the context of real-world settings and projects. Practice the same composition exercises used by such musical giants as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, and Charles Ives. View extensive video with instructor and interact with other students via online discussions.

What this course covers

  • Notation: pitch, duration, volume, and timbre
  • Rhythm: rhythmic values and rhythmic elements
  • Scales: key signatures, scale degrees, major and minor scales, relative and parallel keys
  • Intervals: including simple and compound, melodic and harmonic, and consonant vs. dissonant
  • Triads and their inversions
  • Basic harmony, including qualities of major/minor chords and of seventh chords in major/minor keys
  • Melody: motives and themes, phrases and periods
  • Ear training
  • Putting it all together: relationships between harmony and melody, nonharmonic tones and types, cadences, musical analysis
  • Building your own music