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Norges musikkhøgskole Norwegian Academy of Music Search

Jazz The­ory and Arran­ging

  • Year of study: Year 1, over two semesters.
  • Final assessment: Assessment from the course instructor.
  • Prerequisites: Admission to the Master of Music in Music Theory Programme.
  • Language of instruction: Norwegian or English.

Course description

During the course, the students will acquire insights into music theory in jazz and practical skills in jazz theory / aural skills and arranging. The focus is on various improvisation methods, ensemble formats, compositions and arrangements in the genre.

Learning objectives

On completion of this course, the student is expected to

  • Be able to create a mental picture of sound and use their ear actively when working with jazz music
  • Possess knowledge of the application of various musical principles in improvised material
  • Possess knowledge of musical structures and composition techniques and be able to analyse and transcribe different types of jazz and improvised music
  • Possess knowledge of and be able to apply arranging and instrumentation techniques for various types of jazz ensembles


The course contents will largely be drawn from the historical jazz repertoire. The course addresses both aural and written music.

The aural/theory element of the course will cover the transcription and analysis of material for various types of ensembles, vocal improvisation over chord charts and how to imitate solos from the standard jazz repertoire.

With regard to composition techniques, analysis and arranging, the focus will be on selected examples from the historical jazz repertoire (for example, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Charles Mingus, and Carla Bley).


The course is taught partly on a weekly basis and partly in the form of project weeks. The students will be assigned supervisors to assist them with their arrangements. The students are expected to undertake a significant amount of self-study between the lessons.

Course requirements

  1. The student should complete two practical/oral exercises in theory / aural skills.
  2. At the end of the second semester, the student should submit a folder containing at least two analyses, transcriptions etc. of material they have studied during the course along with one arrangement for piano and one for a small jazz ensemble.
  3. The student should submit one arrangement of a tune from the historical jazz
    repertoire with written parts for at least 6 - 10 instruments. Instrumentation and duration are decided by the course instructor.

Deadline: The course requirements must have been met and approved by the course coordinator by 15 April.

Final assessments

All course requirements must be met in order for the student to be given a final assessment.

The student will be judged on the basis of the learning objectives for the course. The final assessment is expressed in the form of a pass/fail and is determined by the course coordinator on the basis of an overall evaluation of the learning outcomes achieved by the student during the course.


The same rules apply to reassessments as to ordinary assessments.

Study component

Published: Apr 3, 2020 — Last updated: Sep 7, 2022