Karim Al-Zand: TEACHING

In-class harmoniola [canon] on the motto for XFL football’s New York Guardians (solution)

I teach in the combined composition and theory departments at the Shepherd School of Music. The courses I offer include undergraduate and graduate private composition studio lessons, a range of curricular classes in music theory, ear training and solfège, and a variety of upper level special topics courses and seminars. In all of my classes, whether composition-based or not, I emphasize an experiential “learn by doing” philosophy and cultivate a creative, music-writing-based approach. Below, some examples of materials from various classes, roughly organized by topic. Feel free to incorporate anything you find useful, with attribution.


Rules: what are they good for?
A few common parallel “danger zones”
CSI (Chorale Setting Investigation): Leipzig
My first chorale using triads in all inversions
Dancing with the Stars: Minuet Edition


The six-four song
Two tables of scale degrees with their common Roman numeral harmonies
Idiomatic harmonic vocabulary using stepwise soprano fragments
Schubert and Shooburt: compare and contrast
The amazing chromatic adventures of Mr. Diminished Seventh Chord
A basic idea, put through its paces


Some basic notation guidelines
Poetic formal analysis for composers: a case study
A typology for melodic doubling in orchestration
Mozart early Symphonies: score study and analysis worksheet
One-Minute study pieces

Ear Training/Aural Skills/Solfège/Dictation

8ve scale harmonizations for modal mutation
Solfège/Scale Degree playing cards
Endless progressions in major and minor
Solfege Sudoku
A chromatic drill for triad singing—playing—identification


A network of progressions in the Blues, “Rhythms Changes,” etc.
The very basics of jazz form
Jazz harmonic elaboration: a few starting principles
Three progressive re-harms of O Tannenbaum
Three melodic renditions of I Can’t Give You Anything But Love

18th century music topics

Various figural preludes on a single figured bass
Some possible embellishments for the Mozart, Rondo, K. 281
A possible ornamentation of the Bach, Sarabande, BWV 809
Some guiding principles for Eingänge
How to linearly approach/quit the six-four chord
Sample choose-your-own-adventure cadenza for Mozart, Violin Concerto, K. 207, I
Sample vocal cadenzas for Handel, Giulio Cesare, Se pietà di me non senti

Tonal/Bach-Style Counterpoint

Beware these common contrapuntal maladies
Baroque treble cadential formulas
True facts about the subjects of Bach’s Two-Part Inventions
Two-Part Invention subject exposition decision tree
Two common fugue subject types
Well Tempered Clavier exposition data set
A 3-voice fugue structural blueprint
In-class harmoniola [canon] on the motto for XFL football’s New York Guardians
(the original is shown in the picture above; here is the official team introduction.)