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Tonal Harmony Mastery

Create drive and drama in your composition

Compose your music with a large vocabulary of chords. Create awesome drives in your music, leading your audience to the climax of your musical work like it was the most satisfying moment of their lives.

Become a master of harmony by understanding all its basics, but also the general principles that led to the establishment of the different theoretical rules.

Acquire the harmonic knowledge and reflexes :

       -         to allow you to find the exact harmonic progression you are looking for;

       -         to lead you to fast, efficient and varied ways to harmonize your music.

What is awesome about mastering harmony is that not only will you be able to create drive to your music and have an extended harmonic vocabulary, but you will also be able to enhance the drama of your music.

How does it work?

What will you learn in Tonal Harmony Mastery?

This course includes about 17 sessions discussing different topics of harmony. For each sessions, you will have assignments to practice.

- Scales, intervals, chords, inversions

- Voice leading

- Figured bass

Session 1: Basics of music theory

- Major and minor modes

- Mixed mode

- Tonal structure

Session 2: Basics of tonal structure

- Nonharmonic tones

- Six-Four Chord

- Dominant seventh chords

Session 3: Harmonic vocabulary 1

-Diminished fifth

- Points of closure

- Harmonic drive

- Harmonic rhythm

Session 4: Harmonic direction

- Harmonization of a bass

- Different harmonic sequences

- Harmonic sequence in the language

- Voice leading in harmonic sequences

Session 5: Sequences

- Secondary dominant

- Neapolitan sixth

- Augmented fifth

Session 6: Harmonic vocabulary 2

- Augmented sixth

- Composing a good bass

- Relation between the bass and the soprano

- How to harmonize a melody

Session 7: Harmonization of a melody

- How to create expectations

- How to create tension

- How to create surprise

Session 8: Expectations

- Non dominant seventh

- Dominant ninth

- Diminished seventh

Session 9: Harmonic vocabulary 3

- Non dominant ninth

- Eleventh and tirteenth

- How to manage harmony in different textures

Session 10: Textures


- How to modulate to close tonalities

- Pivot chords

- Modulation by steps

Session 11: Modulations 1

- How harmony influences the perception of emotions in music

Session 12: Harmony and emotions

- Juxtaposition

- Pivot tone

- How to modulate to distant tonalities

Session 13: Modulations 2 

- Enharmony

- Modulating sequences

- Different usual modes

- Modes colour

- Cadences and direction

Session 14 - 15: Basics of modal harmony

-Voice leading

- Choices of chords

- Theoretical basics

- Voice leading

- Chords colour and affects

Session 16-17: Basics of chromatic mediant chords

- How to use chromatic mediant chords in a musical context

Live sessions

Every week, a live session will be scheduled.

Once every two weeks, will be an actual course, the other week will be a free session where we gather to answer questions or to discuss harmony or other musical disciplines.

It will allow us to get to know each other and makes the experience more alive even though it is an online course.

All courses will be recorded and you will be able to watch them later, should you be unable to attend the session.

Constant support


To ensure a high quality support between sessions, you will be invited to join a Private Facebook group made of motivated composers engaged in deepening their understanding of music.

You can use it to

- Discuss with other composers like you, facing the same situation, struggles etc.

- Ask advices to other composers on any topics;

- Ask questions on any topics related to music, production or career management;

- Ask feedback on your music;

- Create long lasting relationship with other awesome composers like you.

What distinguishes us from competiton?

Compared to competition, I offer an in depth course in harmony covering much more than mere rules of harmony, but a complete and in depth understanding of harmony, backed by acoustic and psychological principles, allowing for an understanding of the roots of harmonic rules that you can later apply to other musical disciplines and musical styles. Additionally, I will also teach expectations in music and the influence of harmony on the perception of emotions in music, which is never taught, as it is relatively new to the theoretical approaches.

I acquired these knowledge and skills through 15 years of experience in composition and teaching as well as with my doctoral research. Thus, I will be able to provide a deep understanding of music with a very pedagogical approach. Furthermore, I will be available on a Facebook group to answer any question or only to discuss music with you and your classmates.

Your teacher

Olivier Gagnon_163-Modifier-2.jpg

My name is Olivier Gagnon I am a Canadian composer who accomplished a Doctorate in Musical Arts at the Université de Montréal. I explored and mastered many harmonic systems from tonal harmony, modal harmony and chromatic mediant chords to more modern harmonic systems. My music was awarded many times in different competitions, including the Concorso internazionale di composizione "Romualdo Marenco", the Prix collégien de musique contemporaine,  the International Antonín Dvořák Composition Competition and the International Composition Competition Harelbeke.

I also taught music analysis, as well as harmony at the Université du Québec à Montréal. My students shared that my courses were challenging but allowed them to learn a lot about harmony and music


Here are some samples of my music that is often depicted as colorful, detailed and varied.

My teaching is based on theory, but also by my professional experience as a composer and by my researches on Music Perception, which gives me a lot of tools to explain why the theories are designed this way. I also talk a lot about how to generate expectation and drama in your music.


“I hired Olivier Gagnon as an orchestration mentor a few times. Each time it was very fruitful. He

is an excellent teacher knowing orchestration and composition toroughly and in depth. Always listening, he successefully helped me get the best of my scores, while giving many advices that were very useful for my following projects. "

Guillaume St-Laurent - Pianist, arranger and composer

What people think of my music and my teaching?

Join now and you will...

1 - Become a master of tonal harmony

2 - Raise your compositional level with more chords vocabulary as well as creating awesome drives to your compositions

3 - Understand much more than just harmony, but also learn psychological and acoustics principles useful to more aspects of music composition than just harmony

Ready to enroll?

Let's go!