Commercial Theory and Harmonic Practices I – CMUS 105

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 05/05/2022

Course Description

A practical introduction to harmonic, melodic, and rhythmic principles of music for the worship leader. Musical elements including key signatures, scales, intervals, chords, chord construction and chord progression are introduced as the foundation for harmonic analysis of traditional, contemporary Christian, popular, and jazz music. Special attention is given to the Nashville Number System and jazz harmony practices as an accepted methodology for music analysis. Examination of contemporary Christian music genres provides resource for practical application of harmonic principles.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


As practitioners of worship in the 21st-century church, one of our primary mediums of communication is music. Music serves as a valuable tool for the facilitation of worship within the local church, and though this medium is not itself worship, it is commonplace in the evangelical community. Music, therefore, merits thorough understanding and study. This course seeks to provide a foundational understanding of music through exploration of the elements most critical to the worship leader.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.

Discussions (2)

Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to create a thread in response to the provided prompt for each discussion. Each thread must be at least 200 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 2 other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be at least 150 words.

Workbook Assignments (7)

The student will complete 7 workbook assignments that focus on foundational elements of music. The student will utilize the Interact item in the Learn section of the module to complete the assignment. Once completed, each workbook assignment must be downloaded, scanned, and then uploaded to Canvas as one PDF document.

Charting Assignment

Using course techniques, the student will craft a chord chart for use in worship leading. Elements such as proper format and overall structure are of critical importance. After reviewing the Learn materials for the assigned module, the student will use the provided lyrics, lead sheet, and audio file to create a chord chart in Microsoft Word. The chord chart must include all of the major elements discussed in the presentation titled “Creating a Chord Chart.”

Interval Application Assignment

The student will finish constructing the melody of a given lead sheet using the concept of intervals.

Triad Application Assignment

The student will select a worship song. The student will then obtain a chord chart or lead sheet for the selected song and translate the leadsheet symbols into written notes.

Nashville Numbers Application Assignment

Given a chord chart, the student will translate the leadsheet symbols into Nashville Numbers.

Final Project Assignment

The student will create a rhythm plus chart for use in worship leading. Completion of this project requires an in-depth understanding of not only course concepts, but also their application to worship ministry. The student will use the provided files to create a rhythm plus chart that is useful for musical worship. The chart must include two staves: one for the vocal melody with lyrics below and one of the slash chart with chords above. The chart must also include clefs, a key signature, a time signature, a starting tempo, dynamic markings throughout, section/rehearsal markings, and vocal and instrumental instructions.

Quizzes (6)

Each quiz will cover the Learn material for the module in which it is assigned. The quizzes will be open-book/open-notes and contain multiple-choice, multiple-answer, and matching questions. Quiz: Notes Names and Register Designation, Quiz: Notes, Rests, and Rhythm, Quiz: Aural Identification of Meter, Quiz: Intervals, and Quiz: Written Triad Quality will have a time limit of 30 minutes. Since Quiz: Scales and Key Signature Designation is longer, the student will have 1 hour to complete it. In addition to the graded quizzes, a series of practice quizzes is provided. The student can repeat the practice quizzes as often and as many times as desired. The goal of these practice quizzes is to hone skill and understanding in preparation for the graded quizzes.