Spring 2024 - CA 144 D100

Sound Fundamentals II (3)

Class Number: 6373

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 8 – Apr 12, 2024: Tue, 3:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    CA 143. Corequisite: CA 146.



The continuation of CA 143.


This course is an introduction to music theory, focusing on the underlying structures and systems behind how melodies, harmonies and rhythms are conceived, created and performed. 


Rather than using European art music as the sole focus of theoretical study, students will examine a variety of musical genres, including jazz, blues, folk music, new wave, punk, and pop. In tandem with this study, students will practice West Asian maqam, becoming familiar with musical structures found outside of the equal tempered system.


  • Attendance 10%
  • Weekly Assignments & Participations 50%
  • In-Class Quizes 10%
  • Mid-Term 10%
  • Final 20%



Please be on time and prepared for class. If you are late 3 times or are late more than 5 minutes this will equal one absence.
Every unexcused absence will lower your grade by one full degree. (A becomes and A-)
If I don’t receive an email that you will not be coming to class before the beginning of class, I will consider it an unexcused absence.


You need to have fully completed the reading and listening assignments before each class so that we can have engaging discussions. Questions about the material are also important as they show you have engaged with the work. It is okay to not understand everything, but please have questions ready so that we can all learn new things together. Don’t ever be embarrassed about asking a question. Chances are, someone else in the class has the same question. I may also have a similar question!

Two of the most important aspects of this class are developing a daily practice of singing and listening. We will be singing in each class, and it is very important that you develop a practice of singing on your own (on the bus, walking down the street, making coffee). It is also important that you listen to the listening assignments as much as possible and sing along with them in the way we have practiced in class. Participation involves singing!

Each of the concepts we go over in class, whether it be a chord progression, scale, or maqam, is something you could quite literally spend your entire life studying, despite whether it seems simple or complicated. So even if there’s something that you’re already familiar with, keep exploring it in the context of the class. It will likely reveal some new possibilities to you.



While there are no assigned books in this course, I will be posting music playlists on Spotify.

I highly suggest getting a paid subscription for the duration of the course.

Please bring a pencil, pencil sharpener, eraser, and manuscript paper (available to print here) or for purchase at L&M to each class. A quality dedicated manuscript book is a really nice thing to have. A geometry compass set can also be helpful for neatness.

I will be sending PDFs of chapters from Sami Abu Shumays’ and Johnny Farraj’s book Inside Arabic Music: Arabic Maqam Performance and Theory in the 20th Century. This book is an incredible resource that I consult several times a week. If you are able, I suggest purchasing a hard copy.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the term are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.