If teaching and learning harmony could rely less on prescriptive rules and more on the music
that students themselves play, an alternative teaching method for harmony beginners may
become possible. This approach yields a specific kind of knowledge, namely non-propositional
knowledge or knowledge acquired by direct experience. After considering the function of
thinking and doing in experiential learning, the article shows how the teaching of harmony in
the twentieth century steadily moved away from the legacy of Rameau, the founder of harmony
as a discipline in the eighteenth century. By using as point of departure melodic motifs in the
piano music that students play, this article demonstrates the integration of horizontal and
vertical musical features when introducing music students to the study of harmony.
Furthermore, it shows how a linear approach could eventually lead through two-part
counterpoint to the writing of four-part harmony, demonstrated at the end of the article. This
proposed method provides a foundation for acquiring basic music-writing skills that are less
concerned with music theory as a regulatory discipline and more with music as a creative art.