Satsioppi 1 / Harmony, Voice-Leading, and Model Composition 1 (Satzlehre)

Sibelius-Akatemia (University of the Arts Helsinki)
In our study guide, the English name of this course (satsioppi 1) is Harmony & voice-leading 1, which is misleading, since the basics of harmony and voice-leading are prerequisite for this course (see below) and since the course aims at a more holistic knowledge and compositional ability relevant to the styles studied. Styles covered typically include Palestrina and Bach, but there is flexibility in this (and further styles – including post-tonal – will be studied in satsioppi 2). The methodology is based on the interaction of intensive analysis of relevant repertoire and compositional exercises, proceeding towards entire pieces such as mass movements, inventions, and fugues, but always with a greater emphasis on quality than quantity. The tuition is in private meatings or small groups, concentrating on analysis and students' excercises.
A prerequisite for this course is the one-year course "Basics of harmony & voice-leading," which consists mainly of harmony exercises (Aldwell & Schachter) and species counterpoint.
A student who has completed the unit is expected to have an advanced perception of harmony, counterpoint, style, expression and quality of music and their interaction, acquired through composition and analytical and experiential study focusing on a limited number of example styles.

Further information

  • assessment
    Other (The course lasts two years. At the end, a collection of composition exercises , possibly combined with analytical work, is assessed by the teacher and colleague(s).)
  • level
  • How many semesters does the course last?
  • hours per week
    45 – 60 min / student
  • Link of the course
  • Target group of course
    Music theory students, beginner
    Other (Mandatory for theorists and composers. Others may also participate, if resources suffice.)
  • credits
    7 (or 4 for the last semester for composers who choose that option)
  • Type of Course
  • Degree Level
  • Course
  • students #
    6-15 students
  • Hours per year
    28 / student
    The main bibliography are the musical works, for example, The Well-Tempered Clavier etc. etc.
  • evaluation grid
  • evaluation grid
    and document


Olli Väisälä

current position



Sibelius-Akatemia (University of the Arts Helsinki)

Be a part of our european project !

This European project (KA 203 Strategic Partnership) created by Salvatore Gioveni promotes cross-border collaboration in the field of Music Theory through sharing knowledge and transferring pedagogical innovation. It thus responds to a lack of centralised source and framework to deepen reflection by means of cross-disciplinary study at European and international level.

There is a significant wealth of educational practices from one country to another in this sector, especially in terms of harmonic musical notation and analysis. However, HMEI's are facing the nonexistence of a European network for pedagogical staff in Music Theory so far. To improve the situation, the project will among other things develop several intellectual outputs such as Online Platform (IO 1), an EU Bibliography (IO 2), a Repository Courses (IO 3), a Multilingual Glossary (IO 4) and an Exchange Online Learning Platform.

Besides the Conservatoire royal de Bruxelles as leader and manager of the project, the following partner institutions are involved: Music Academy S. Moniuszki Gdańsk (Gdańsk, Poland), F. Liszt Academy of Music Budapest (Budapest, Hungary), Estonian Academy for Music and Theatre (Tallinn, Estonia), HfMTh "Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy" (Leipzig, Germany).

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