MUS 121W: A Practical Introduction to Music Theory and Harmony (Winter 2018)
I thought the instructor’s approach was novel and very effective. He structured the material well and used the Strauss piece as an excellent foundation for each new concept. He is clearly enthusiastic about the subject matter and took the class seriously.
I really enjoyed the way the instructor taught. He introduced the music theory i.e all the building blocks of music and rules step by step and explained all the important concepts and terminology by example. I feel I learned a lot during these a few weeks which would take me longer if I wasn’t in this course. I appreciate that he also encouraged us to keep on listening and pay more attention to the sound and aural training in a visual-oriented culture we currently live. The course was just what he described “the most organic introduction to music theory currently available in academia”.
Ilias is deeply engaged in many aspects of music, with knowle[d]ge that is broad and deep, about music, music theory and structure, and with clear ideas and plans to promote student learning in the somewhat challenging environment of an on-line course with participants bringing very different backgrounds, expectations and patterns of participation. He was helpful in providing additional materials and examples to clarify concepts covered in the modules and zoom sessions. […] His commitment to strengthening skills of listening in a visual culture was particularly effective.
The instructor was very responsive to student requests for additional information or different needs either by providing what was requested or explaining why it was not available and the pedagogical reasons behind this.
Thank you for your endless patience answering questions. Appreciated it very much!
I appreciated the opportunity to take this course. Ilias is a wonderful instructor. I wish there were a Part 2.
What a privilege to have exposure to such a distinguished instructor.
I had very little background in music theory and have never played an instrument, so it was very difficult for me to discover the patterns that make up a composition by just listening. Nevertheless, I kept at it and played the examples over and over, so at least now I am able to recognize what’s going on.
I took the course to see how I could improve my ability to listen and identify intervals and chords, and understand what I was hearing in terms of the composition of a piece. In that sense, the program gave me the tools to do that, and to continue polishing my ability to detect these.
The class was challenging and enjoyable. I feel that my ability to listen to and understand music has developed substantially, and I have materials which will enable me to further develop my listening ability. Thank you
Very enjoyable, rewarding experience. Thank you!
MUS 121: A Practical Introduction to Music Theory and Harmony (Summer 2017)
Ilias was an excellent instructor. He was pleasant, and open, and took all questions without getting behind or straying from the topic. His knowledge has great depth and he shared it with us in ways broken down so we could understand. His approach to the subject matter--via LISTENING TO MUSIC AS A WAY OF ILLUSTRATING THE CONCEPTS rather than approaching first through technicalities of musical “rules” and notation, was BRILLIANT. This course must have been something of a teaching challenge because though it was an introduction, many in the class had prior musical backgrounds. He accommodated us all. I learned A LOT! Bravo to Ilias!
Ilias was an excellent professor. I felt he brought music theory to life for me. Theory can be a fairly “dry” subject as taught by others. By using examples, and particularly using the Strauss piece as a subject to connect major themes of the class and music theory from week to week, I felt he really excelled as a teacher. He was very open to questions, met with students outside of class if needed, and was always approachable. With students of varying backgrounds, he was able to keep it interesting for all which is very complicated. Thank you for a superb experience.
Not only did I enjoy the course, I learned things that I can use in sight-reading and practicing the piano. The way Ilias presented the introduction to harmony was carefully structured that built a good basis for understanding how composers built their music. This, in turn, helped me to appreciate their music much better. Also, it helps me to harmonize simple melodies on the piano.
Ilias built the presentation of theory on the experience of listening to music. It was learning based on doing (listening to actual music) rather than just theory lectures.
The instructor is enthusiastic, very accessible, very knowledgeable, and clearly committed to, and interested in, the students’ learning, comprehension and development.
The instructor was very conscientious about answering all questions, and following up with links to reference materials when he didn’t have the answers.
Ilias is a very engaging person and he set a friendly, relaxed tone for the course. His explanations were usually clear. His music musical knowledge is incredible.
Ilias was very friendly and welcoming to questions and tried hard to get the class to understand his teaching.
Very difficult to teach to an audience with such diverse background. Inevitably, some will think it was paced too slowly, and some too fast. The outstanding organization of the material - building each concept to develop a sense of how things relate - helped a lot.
Ilia is great. Excellent instructor.
It was one of my favorite courses, right up there with Martin Lewis’s geography courses. Very well done.
Learning all the elements of music theory by starting with one short, familiar piece of music was very effective.
I look forward to the next level course in this subject.
Excellent course. Highly recommended.
Thank you so much. Really enjoying your style and the way in which you are presenting the material - very organic and works on intuition.
I just wanted to let you know I'm enjoying the class very much! […] I think your approach of using Zarathustra as road map to bring out the concepts for us is brilliant. I’m learning a lot and enjoying hearing all these wonderful things in the music as you teach us.
This has been a delightful class. Refreshing and very approachable way to learn about music theory in a way that enhances one’s own personal experience with music. […] Sincere thanks and appreciation to Ilias for creating this course and an excellent classroom experience.
I am enjoying the course very much. Especially the discussion on intervals and how melodies are based on them. I always had problems trying to come up with simple melodies on the piano because I was thinking note by note. But thinking about how a melody is based on scales, triads, fourths, fifths, etc., makes it much easier to form simple melodies. Similarly, the concept of structure based on intervals has made sight-reading piano music easier. I see and recognize patterns which makes anticipating where my fingers have to go easier. I am beginning to read patterns rather than individual notes. That helps a lot!!
You have quite a crowd there - very interesting questions from very different sides than I used to at Berklee College of Music where I went.
MUS 121: A Practical Introduction to Music Theory and Harmony (Summer 2016)
The instructor was by far the best teacher of any that I’ve enjoyed in the Continuing Studies program! He was really remarkable and seemed to care a great deal about staying close to us as we were trying to take in his very clear points.
Ilias was wonderful! My classmates had a wide variety of musical experience and exposure -- from some of us who knew nothing about reading music or just a little bit, to those who were skilled musicians and asked complex questions. Ilias patiently answered each and every question. I knew nothing about music theory but in a very short time learned how to disect a classical work. He was right: we learned a new way to understand -- and enjoy -- music. Ilias could sit down and quickly recall any melody -- classical or jazz or show biz. He was an extremely fluent pianist and I, for one, sat in awe as he played examples of songs using, say, the same chromatic pattern. I hope he teaches many more classes through continuing studies -- and elsewhere. His class ended with a loud round of applause from th[ose] of us attending.
Elias is most competent, knowledgeable, engaging, and tasked with the almost impossible, taking a group of adults with widely varying competencies, like me with no background, and others who have been performing, reading music and more, and trying to teach us essentially a foreign language, the description of music parts and the theory behind them.
I’ve taken other music theory classes, and this was the first time it really made sense. I liked the emphasis on “hearing” the harmonies. Many in the class did not read music, yet were able to follow his simplified notation. Ilias’ enthusiasm and knowledge were inspiring.
Ilia[s] was a delight! His knowledge and engaging manner made for a thoroughly enjoyable class.
The instructor's knowledge of music and his ability to communicate it to his students is beyond excellent. It was a great pleasure to attend his class.
There should be a continuing course from where this course left off – I’d register!
We are learning a new language. You are doing a great job answering all our questions, and I love to hear you so quickly give examples of what you are talking about.
I am thoroughly enjoying your class! I so appreciate your remarkable ability to clearly translate these concepts to such a diverse audience.
Last night’s class was fascinating. […] Looking forward to class tonight. It has been a wonderful course.
I really appreciate everything that you have shared with us during this course.
MUS 121: A Practical Introduction to Music Theory and Harmony (Summer 2015)
This was an inspirational class that opened my horizons to the science of music in terms of both listening as well as appreciating its construction in composing. I feel so much more enhanced by the experience. I only wished it was a course of longer duration.
The idea behind the course, that musical theory and harmony can be examined through well-selected specific examples from the classical repertory, is both appealing and useful. The course succeeded in demonstrating and expanding on the underlying concept. The instructor was extremely well-versed in this topic.
The instructor provided a framework, supported by numerous musical examples, that has expanded my knowledge of music theory and harmony. As a result, I listen to music differently and my listening enjoyment has been greatly increased. I am very glad that I took the course and would welcome the opportunity to take another course from this instructor.
I really enjoyed my Wednesday evenings this summer as I learned about music in an organized way. After this class, I hear more in each piece of music than I did before. I also loved Ilias ability to play simple and complex pieces on the piano, seemingly effortlessly chaning the pieces to illustrate his points when we could not hear the details clearly in the orchestral versions.
I deeply appreciated the many examples that illustrated any idea the instructor put forth. One can only sing an interval so many times without noticing that one still isn’t simsply recognising them in context! Dr Chrissochoidis is funny, quick-witted and creative and he led us forward into all kinds of unexpected learning. Further and extremely important, he was always willing to repeat and re-explore until everyone understood the point. Excellent course. Thanks a ton!!
Dr. Chrissochoidis’ ability to relate music theory principals with well-known music was fantastic. He inspired me to go further in my understanding and application of music. I would take any continuing education class in the future taught by him.
Was a great class and inspired me to start learning how to play the piano. … the way Ilias framed how the sessions would go, really helped put the pieces together ahead of time and get a good sense of the map of how the topics progressed. Thanks!
Ilias is a wonderful musician and is a fo[u]nt of knowledge on all aspects of musical history and theory.
Ilias is an extremely talented musician
Wonderful and inspiring!
I’m enjoying your lectures and the examples you share with us. After 3 classes, you’ve already expanded the way in which I listen to music. I now find myself paying attention to the structure, as well as the melody, and that has increased my enjoyment of a composition.
I want to thank you for sharing your knowledge and talent in the Music Theory class. I am so unhappy that I can’t make the final class, but since it is my birthday today, my friends had previously made plans for me. I can’t adequately express how much I enjoyed your class; so much so that I can’t wait to study more. I am hoping that you might do more classes in the future. If so, you will definitely see me there.
Learned a lot from your class!
MUS 121: A Practical Introduction to Music Theory and Harmony (Summer 2014)
This class far exceeded my expectations. The demonstrative lectures really helped reinforce the concepts. I did expect the instructor to be good, after all it's Stanford; but his ability to make the often complex concepts accessible was wonderful. He gave a small test at the end and I got a 100%. That summarizes it nicely.
Dr. C's mastery of the piano was an integral part of the excellence of this class. He was able to play for us examples of every concept taught, building up from the basic elements to the full context in an enormous variety of classical and popular pieces, often playing along with recorded versions of the works and emphasizing on the piano what he wanted us to hear. That was enormously helpful.
Wonderful course. Great instructor. Modeled for us what a thorough understanding of music theory looked like. Played wonderful music and made insightful comments about it. A great experience.
Excellent course, exceeded my expectations. I'd love to take another to build on the great foundation the instructor laid.
Very enjoyable course. I hoped to be able to be more aware of what I was hearing when I listen to music as a result of this course and that has definitely happened to some extent, and I learned enough in the course to continue enhancing my ability to do that.
I learned a lot about music in a very comfortable and non-threatening atmosphere. The instructor is tremendously knowledgeable and a superb pianist to boot.
challenging material but the instructor willing and very able to help even a rank beginner. Countless examples and generous source materials as well as excellent presentation skills. He not only knows the material thoroughly but communicates a deep affection and enthusiasm for it as well.
Interesting class. Answered a lot of questions I've had for many years. [...]
Ilias was very receptive and ready to take questions. I wish there were follow up courses.
I enjoyed this class thoroughly! Great instructor. He was willing to spend additional time outside of class to discuss any additional topics and to clarify anything that was confusing.
Great course(!!!), if maybe a bit fast paced. Only thing I'd ask for is to have the listening assignments out before the weekend (instead of the night before the class, which sometimes made them impossible to do).
Please continue to offer this course. And try any others Professor Chrissisoides may propose.
Thank you for an interesting, enjoyable course.
I would appreciate another course from this instructor.
Really enjoyed the class and the professor as well.
I hope to see similar courses in the future.
Thank you very much for your course on music theory. You gave me many insights into the order hidden within my favorite classical music. I was amazed that you played so many of my favorites – Mozart piano concerto, Beethoven symphonies, Don Giovanni arias, Mahler, Strauss,… Thank you so much for such a rewarding course.
I had a great time in your class. It helped me understand what I have learned by ear over the past 20 years.
I will be continuing my studies in theory and will continue to compose. I can see how the knowledge of theory can enhance my composition skills immensely.
Thank you again for a wonderful class. I feel that I have really increased my aural sensitivity. All the best.
Thanks for a terrific class, Dr. C!
Thank you, it was excellent instruction. Cheers.
MUS 24: An Introduction to Opera (Spring 2014)
This was a very enjoyable class, taught by a superb instructor. It gave me a solid foundation for understanding opera, its origins and major “themes”.
Charming and enjoyable and very open to students
The instructor was well prepared and interested in his subject.
This was an excellent course. I enjoyed it very much!
This class was very enjoyable and I am so happy that I selected this course for spring quarter.
Great course! It would be nice to have a second course to go even deeper and learn more.
MUS 121: Practical Music Theory (Summer 2013)
My initial reaction to the course was a bit skeptical...i wondered just what and how we’d be learning. However, by the end of the course it was clear: despite a lifetime of listening to and attending “Classical Music” concerts and operas, my notions of music theory were very vague. This course helped me to learn to listen and appreciate in another very satisfying dimension. I now want to learn music theory in more depth.
This was a very enjoyable and enlightening course. I would definitely sign up for a follow-on course, continuing the material from this course, like a practical music theory part 2.
An intricate subject covered in a very short time. Well done.
I enjoyed the class a lot. Prof. C is obviously very knowledg[e]able and passionate about the subject, and has a very nice style as an instructor. He was very receptive to questions.
Excellent, enjoyable, engaging class.
Ilias was great at the piano and demonstrating intervals and chords. It really helped. I am appreciative of the creativity of composers after this course. I find myself listening more carefully to classical music.
Very interesting and enjoyable class. I didn’t have enough background to follow everything but I am definitely interested in learning more about music. I hope Continuing Studies will offer other music classes -perhaps a real beginner’s class.
I really enjoyed the class. I am using the concepts in the way I listen to music. I found the class valuable and Ilia[s] very personable.
MUS 24: An Introduction to Opera (Spring 2013)
i loved the class
Great instructor!! Great class!!
Wonderful instructor. I will always take classes from him. He is knowledgeable, always well prepared, and a very warm person.
The course was great. Very interesting, well represented different operas. I really enjoyed the prof. too. He is engaging, enthusiastic, seems very kind and has a good sense of humor. If he offers another opera course on Weds I would definitely consider it.
MUS 24: An Introduction to Opera (Winter 2012)
Great introduction to opera and was very enjoyable.
I wanted to learn more about opera so that I might better enjoy it. I learned a great deal and I will now listen with “enlightened ears”[.]
he is clearly knowledgeable and very enthusiastic about opera. I think there was novices and opera buffs in class and he seemed to appeal to all
I’ve taken a number of continuing studies courses and Ilias did a great job organizing the course and designing a curriculum that was appropriate for all knowledge levels. Plus, he always took the extra step to stay after class to answer questions, answer emails, and to respond to feedback. I’d definitely look for his courses again.
Just great! Well-prepared, clear, extremely interesting, fun. Gave us extra time at the end. Delightful.
The professor was very approachable and provided lots of information that was very valuable. I know nothing about opera and he helped you to learn by watching. I really enjoyed the class.
Ilias kept the class’ attention the entire time and shared his knowledge in a very interesting way. Great speaker.
The instructor clearly loved the subject and was delighted to share his knowledge. It was a joy to be in the classroom. As a side, he clearly is not a native American and his word choice, expression and explanations of the material was superior to that of many native speakers teaching at universities and colleges in the U.S.
MUS 121: Practical Music Theory (Fall 2011)
Teaching style was excellent for the heterogeneity of the group. He strove hard to be sure everyone could understand the concepts.
It was an interesting approach to music theory, with much of it requiring listening to music, both of recordings and live piano.
He is very open to questions, and does his best to make everything clear. He was well prepared each week, and arrived early to enable students to ask additional questions. Very pleasant.
He is an excellent teacher. I have limited knowledge of music theory and learned a lot. He was able to teach effectively, both to students with minimal knowledge of music theory and to those who are quite sophisticated.
There was a broad range of backgrounds in music and music theory in the class; the instructor did an excellent job of bridging the differences.
Illias [sic] is hands down one of the best instructors in any field. Not only did he carefully and in detail answered everyone’s questions, but he came up to twenty minutes earlier each class session and stayed as much time after in order to answer questions and explain the material. He emailed us frequently encouraging us to come to class and to practice theory at home. Simply a wonderful teacher and person.
A great experience overall. Great instructor. Inspiring.
Very interesting subject matter. Audio samples provided on course website were useful for developing one’s understanding.
Ilias Chrissochoidis was an excellent instructor - earnest, dedicated, and patient, with a willingness to explain, share, and inspire. His e-mail communications and website updates were very appropriate for this class.
The instructor was conscient[i]ous and obviously cared about the students’ understanding of the material he chose to present.
The instructor was very knowledgeable and experienced and this depth of knowledge was particularly helpful in this class.
The teacher was good, inspiring and well prepared.
Thank you for a magnificent course. You opened my eyes to many things that were previously mystery.
Thanks so much for teaching this excellent course. I’ve enjoyed classical music for many years but have never understood it very well. You’ve motivated me to want to learn more.
I have to admit that at first I was a little skeptical thinking that this would be ‘light weight’, but as we progressed I found that your approach was based on establishing a foundation and has provided me with a structure through which I can now develop my understanding of music theory, particularly harmony, shaping and cadence. I now feel well prepared to venture further into my music interests.
I want you to know that I thoroughly enjoyed your class, and found the concepts easier to understand as you presented them than I have in another music theory class. Listening is the key.
After attending your classes I enjoy listening to music more and in [a] different way.
MUS 152: Music’s Anatomy: Classical Music from the Inside (Summer 2009)
Extremely knowledgeable, very willing and able to communicate with students at all levels, Passionate about music!
I was extremely impressed with Ilias’s ability to play selections from complex classical works with such apparent ease on the piano. That really added to the learning experience.
He’s a superb pianist, with a broad knowledge of classical music at his fingertips. His knowledge of the history of music is broad and deep.
Interesting (nontraditional) approach to enhancing listening to classical music!
Even though this class was different than I thought, I enjoy his teaching. I learned a lot from this class.
Exactly what I was looking for.
I think that the vast majority of students got a lot of information from this course, and I think that for most students, this class was extremely helpful.
If there were a course that is a natural extension of the material covered in this course, I would take it.
This has been one of the most informative and enjoyable courses I’ve ever had the fortune to attend.
MUS 121: Practical Music Theory (Summer 2008)
Very knowledgeable and talented.
Excellent choice of material. Very responsive to our needs.
As an introduction, well done!
Excellent instructor. Very careful preparation <?> made very interesting.
Another class please.
I would like to attend a second part of this course.
Instructor’s piano playing ability is excellent and really made the course.
I’d love to take a follow up to this music class by Dr. Chrissochoidis.
Thank you Dr. C for a fantastic class. You make piano / music a wonderful <?>
Very well prepared and organised.
Excellent course & delightful instructor.
MUS 144: Mozart and the Enlightenment (Spring 2008)
Very knowle[d]g[e]able – great breadth of information.
I found his enthusiasm & passion giving me energy & his way of describing the life of Mozart was easy to understand.
Very good instructor.
What questions were asked were always answered with insight.
The class was a real pleasure!
MUS 121: Practical Music Theory (Summer 2007)
What a wonderful first class on Monday night! I’ve long been an avid consumer of classical music -- the theory you presented feels like a new beginning toward really understanding what I’m hearing.
MUS 131: Beethoven’s Symphonies (Fall 2006)
I just wanted to thank you again for a truly great class. Your organization of the class was terrific and your comments greatly improved my understanding of the works.
MUS 121: Practical Music Theory (Summer 2006)
I have enjoyed your MUS121 course thus far; it’s been great theoretical reinforcement for the more practically-oriented guitar lessons I have been taking for the past two years.
Thank you Ilias for an enjoyable and informative class.
Ilias, Thank you again for a great course.
I would like you to know that I enjoyed your course very much. I have been listening to 18th and 19th Century music with more awareness of the structure and methods used by the composers. Thank you for all the information you provided in six short weeks.
Belated thanks for an excellent music theory course this summer. I was amazed each week by your ability to keep us captivated for two straight hours, and by your encyclopedic knowledge and memory of the music. I’d be most interested in a followup course that gets deeper into chord progressions, modulations, etc., if one is ever offered.
Thank you again for an outstanding course
MUS 127: Practical Introduction to Harmony (Spring 2006)
Fantastic! Opens doors in listening and appreciating music.
I am very much enjoying your course in harmony. The examples you give of the “harmonic progression” from the 18th to the 19th century are particularly interesting!
The class on harmony sounded too interesting not to enroll in; I’m finding it extremely interesting. I opted to take it for credit.
It was challenging at times, but eye-opening.
The class was fantastic … one of the best I’ve ever taken through Continuing Studies, and something that will stay with me for the rest of my life, so I’m very grateful. I hope you will consider teaching other classes in the future, whether on theory, history or something else.
Thank you very much for the enlightening class. My husband and I appreciate the introduction of the theory followed by well-chosen examples.
I have always found harmony and music theory very complex and frustrating, but you have the gift of making the whole thing logical, intelligent and even(gasp) fun!! Many, many thanks.
I really enjoyed your class and learned very much. Please remind us if you will have another class in the future.
Thank you very much for the words of support, but more than that, thank you for a wonderful course, brief as it was. Your instruction was very insightful and extremely interesting. […] Again, the course was a true joy for me. And it’s gotten me back to the keyboard to noodle through the learnings.
HIS 122: Handel’s London (Fall 2005)
Instructor was very good at connecting political, historical, cultural events with development in Handel’s music.
The review of previous topics at the start of each class was helpful.
The course was very focus[ed] on connect[ing] the historical context of London with Handel’s development.
He is very knowledgeable and thorough. He made the subject easy enough to comprehend yet hard enough to keep us stimulated.
I learned a lot about Handel’s life and how much the society he had lived in affected his work (and vice versa).
Thanks for taking the time after class last week to answer my questions about The Messiah. It was quite extraordinary to see it and hear it on Saturday night. Is it too late for me to opt to take your class for credit?
You certainly have linked Handel to the outside world politically and socially, and I’ve got to congratulate you on that.
MUS 121: Practical Music Theory (Summer 2005)
Despite a slow start, this turned out to be the BEST music theory course I have ever taken!!
Extremely well chosen examples on CD’s and also instructor playing others on the piano.
Extraordinarily well organized!! Building logically in small, easily digested steps.
Wonderful! Clas[s]ified for me many murky concepts from previous courses.
This course went way beyond my expectations and I would implore you to provide more music theory class of this caliber – preferably with this instructor! He was wonderful!!
the best teacher I have had for music instruction. Very clear, practical, and enlightening.
the examples presented in class were outstanding and have given me much greater understanding of everything I listen to.
This was exactly the type of course I was looking for as it is very immediate and practical in approach to music theory. Would love to see more courses like this and would really like to see more music theory and appreciation courses to continue taking.
Responsive to class individuals & our questions. encouraging.
combination of musical examples on CD, piano playing, humming, black board, was very helpful, teaching us to hear.
Review, review, review helped concepts & examples sink in.
I’d taken some piano lessons as a child, have heard classical music all my life, but never gotten the structure under it. Now I have something to listen for & participate in the music more actively.
Ilias, thank you for the update on last night’s class and for offering to stay a bit after the lecture tomorrow. I have enjoyed your class and am hopeful music theory will be offered on a regular basis. If you know of future classes, I would be interested in signing up.
I want to tell you how much I enjoyed your class. […]. It was very helpful to receive a well-organized presentation of basic musical concepts. Some of the information was not new to me, but much of it was. Now, when I look at a musical work, I see more to it.
Ilias, first I want to thank you for an excellent theory class--it was nice that you stayed so late for us on the last night.