Further Music Theory


This is a practical course for those interested in gaining knowledge and understanding of classical harmony.

An understanding of the fundamentals of classical harmony is essential for a full appreciation of the music of that period. It also develops skills and understanding that provide a firm foundation for more creative work in music.

The course will cover the basics of harmony by taking the students through a series of straightforward, structured exercises. These exercises are designed to emphasise the craftsmanship of harmony and to relate to actual classical practice.

The course follows on from: 'Exploring Basic Music Theory' but it is not necessary to have taken that course to participate fully in this one!

The course is designed to welcome beginners, although basic musical literacy is necessary for full participation. Previous experience in playing an instrument or singing is an advantage but is not an essential requirement.

Programme details

Course starts: 18 January 2024

Week 0: Course Orientation.

Week 1: Connecting chords in Root Position.

Week 2: First inversion chords.

Week 3: Second inversion chords.

Week 4: All kinds of seventh chords.

Week 5: The minor mode I

Week 6: The minor mode II

Week 7: The minor mode III

Week 8: Chords with no notes in common, alternative treatment of dissonance.

Week 9: Modulation I

Week 10: Modulation II and suspensions.

Digital Certification

To complete the course and receive a certificate, you will be required to attend and participate in at least 80% of the live sessions on the course and pass your final assignment. Upon successful completion, you will receive a link to download a University of Oxford digital certificate. Information on how to access this digital certificate will be emailed to you after the end of the course. The certificate will show your name, the course title and the dates of the course you attended. You will be able to download your certificate or share it on social media if you choose to do so.


Description Costs
Course Fee £257.00
Take this course for CATS points £10.00


If you are in receipt of a UK state benefit, you are a full-time student in the UK or a student on a low income, you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees. Please see the below link for full details:

Concessionary fees for short courses


Dr Peter Copley

Peter Copley D.Phil, MA, B.mus is a composer, cellist and pianist. He is a visiting lecturer at OUDCE, the University of Sussex and for the Open University, where he has been a Research Associate for the music faculty.

Course aims

To encourage an understanding of harmony in the classical tradition and, in particular, to place harmonic conventions in the context of the evolution of musical style.

Course Objectives:

  • By the end of the course, students will have an understanding of basic classical harmony and its varied applications in Western Art Music.

Teaching methods

This course will consist of a pre-recorded one hour lecture for each week. A step-by-step working of examples will be covered in the online 'live' session where the students will also have a chance to ask any questions arising from the pre-recorded lecture.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will be expected to:

  • create four part progressions in major and minor keys, using chords in root position, first and second inversion and seventh chords;
  • harmonise simple diatonic melodies using any of the above chords, where appropriate;
  • have some understanding of the nature of consonance and dissonance in the classical tradition;
  • have some understanding of the techniques and function of modulation;
  • relate all of the above to music in the classical repertoire.

Assessment methods

At the end of the course, students will submit a portfolio of completed exercises set during the term.

Students must submit a completed Declaration of Authorship form at the end of term when submitting your final piece of work. CATS points cannot be awarded without the aforementioned form - Declaration of Authorship form


We will close for enrolments 7 days prior to the start date to allow us to complete the course set up. We will email you at that time (7 days before the course begins) with further information and joining instructions. As always, students will want to check spam and junk folders during this period to ensure that these emails are received.

To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an enrolment form (Word) or enrolment form (Pdf).

Level and demands

Students who register for CATS points will receive a Record of CATS points on successful completion of their course assessment.

To earn credit (CATS points) you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Coursework is an integral part of all weekly classes and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework in order to benefit fully from the course. Only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard.

Students who do not register for CATS points during the enrolment process can either register for CATS points prior to the start of their course or retrospectively from the January 1st after the current full academic year has been completed. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.

Most of the Department's weekly classes have 10 or 20 CATS points assigned to them. 10 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of ten 2-hour sessions. 20 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of twenty 2-hour sessions. It is expected that, for every 2 hours of tuition you are given, you will engage in eight hours of private study.

Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS)