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The University of Southampton

MUSI1007 Fundamentals of Counterpoint and Harmony

Module Overview

This module will provide you with a firm understanding of the theory and practice of the principles of Western 'common practice' tonal music that will be invaluable to later courses. You will first study the basics of counterpoint and harmony. Then, after honing these skills, you will use them to analyse the harmony of tonal music, learning to identify chords and non-harmonic tones, and to describe functions in context using figured bass, Roman numerals and the Riemannian terminology.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • The basic principles of counterpoint
  • Harmonies and dissonances in context
  • Terminology appropriate to the harmonic-functional analysis of tonal music
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Apply problem-solving and analytical skills
  • Demonstrate critical self-awareness
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the difference between theory and practice
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Compose a contrapuntal line to a given melody
  • Identify chords and non-harmonic tones
  • Analyse harmonic progressions


- Principles of counterpoint - Harmonic analysis using figured bass and Roman numerals - Harmonic function and cadential progressions

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The teaching for this module is delivered in seminars. There are four formal assessments covering the areas studied: two assignments focusing on counterpoint (worth 15% and 35%); and two assignments focusing on harmony (worth 15% and 35%).

Preparation for scheduled sessions30
Follow-up work30
Completion of assessment task36
Wider reading or practice30
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Walter Piston. Harmony. 

The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (for musical terminology). 

Johann-Joseph Fux. The Study of Counterpoint. 

Eric Taylor. The AB Guide to Music Theory, Part 1 & Part 2. 

Anna Butterworth. Harmony in Practice. 

Open Music Theory.



MethodPercentage contribution
Assessment  () 15%
Assessment  () 35%
Assessment  () 35%
Assessment  () 15%


MethodPercentage contribution
Assessment 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Assessment  () 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Books and Stationery equipment


Printing and Photocopying Costs

Assignment Printing

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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