James Greeson's Home Page

About Me       Course Info       My Music         Links

James Greeson is a Professor of Music at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, AR.  He teaches music composition and theory, as well as guitar, bass and is the director of the UA Jazz Ensemble.  He came to the University of Arkansas in 1980.

Click here to send me an email

Links to Course Materials

Music Theory 3 Course Materials Music Theory 4 Course Materials
Guitar Lesson Information UA Jazz Ensemble Web Site
Composition Lesson Information Basic Musicianship Practice Test
Aural Perception Class Help Page UA Music Theory & Composition Site


Links to Useful Websites
(Please email me if any of these links don't work...)

Janet Greeson's Pottery Web Site - my wife Janet's web page that displays many of the lovely  pottery pieces she makes.
Conlon Nancarrow Page - a site I've started with photos and interview audio of this famous Arkansas born composer of music for player pianos.
Music Theory.net - an excellent site for help on music theory basics
Finale Music Software  - the home of Finale music writing software and the free download of Finale NotePad
Digidesign  - a high end audio software company for the Free LE version of ProTools
Harmony Central  - a good site with info about music technology and synths and such
Classical Midi Archives - a great source of downloadable MIDI files of classical pieces
Guitar Solo  - a very good classical guitar music store in San Francisco
WholeNote  - a site with a number of guitar oriented pages
Listening Arts  - has a lot of good info about music theory topics
Theory on the Web - a good site for learning freshman year music theory information
Set Theory  - this site has alot of useful stuff about atonal music and a Prime Form finder
Music Flash Cards  - has some practical theory and guitar oriented online quizzes
ZZounds  - a good online music store which has good deals on synths and software and such
Sweetwater  - a music store in Indiana focusing on electronic music stuff
AudioMidi  - an online store with a lot of midi and audio soft and hardware
PG Music.com - the home of the hugely useful "Band in a Box" software
The Real Book - a link to the entire jazz Real Book in "Band in a Box" format
Cubase Net Forums - a user forum for help with Cubase Midi/Audio Software
Jamey Aebersold Jazz - a website providing fine jazz improvisation learning materials
The following links are to publishers who sell some of my compositions
Oriana Press  - in Cardiff, Wales:  they sell my "Seven Songs for Sundays" and "The Story Hour"
Willis Music  - in Kentucky:  they sell my "Two Poems of Stephen Crane" and some guitar duos
UNC Jazz Press  - at the U of Northern Colorado: they sell some of my jazz ensemble compositions
Check out  the Novaria CD at CD Baby!  Novaria is a flute and classical guitar duo I play in with Dr. Ronda Mains
Go Back to Top

Audio clips of my music
Opening from the "When Lightning Struck" documentary soundtrack  (Real Audio 160k)
start of "Down by the Riverside" from "Seven Songs for Sundays" from the Novaria CD  (mp3 - 364k)
A passage from my orchestra piece "Declaration"  (mp3 - 447k)
Two excerpts from my "String Quartet" - Mvmt 1  or  Mvmt 2  played by the Quapaw String Quartet
An excerpt of the jazz classic "Night in Tunisia" played by my jazz guitar trio.  (mp3 - 700k)
The theme from the documentary "The Forgotten Expedition" for AETN (2002)  (mp3 - 300k)
Link to the AETN website and the movie of the documentary "The Forgotten Expedition"
A recording of me playing the jazz ballad "Misty" for solo guitar  (mp3 - 584k)
A live 1999 performance of Ellington's Sophisticated Lady (mp3 - 1.4 MB)
These materials are not endorsed, approved, sponsored, or provided by or on behalf of the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.

James Greeson - Biographical Sketch
James Greeson is a Professor of Composition and Music Theory in the Department of Music at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.  He received his doctorate in composition from the University of Wisconsin and MM and BM from the University of Utah (Magna cum Laude).  His compositions have been published by Oriana Press, Cor Publishing, Willis Music and SeeSaw Publishers.  In recent years he has focused on composing sound tracks to documentaries for public My picture should be here - I'm very handsome... television and has completed nine of them which have been broadcast in both the US and Canada.  In 2009 was awarded an Emmy for his score for the PBS documentary "The Buffalo Flows."  Two other soundtracks have been nominated for Emmy awards.   His Fantasy for Five Players,  (1984) commissioned by the Da Capo Chamber Players, has been heard by that group in performances at Carnegie Hall, Symphony Space in New York City, and around the country.  His Trees of Arkansas, (1987) for soprano and orchestra, has been performed in Arkansas, Kansas and Bolivia.  In 1983 he was selected as one of three finalists in the Music Teachers National Association's "Composer of the Year" competition for his Piano Fantasy, which was commissioned by the Arkansas State Music Teachers Association.  In 1979 he was the first place winner in the St. Louis "Forum for Composers" competition, and in 1978 he was first place Missouri winner in the Missouri Contemporary Music Composition competition.  Contra, a composition for solo doublebass has been recorded on Crystal Records by bassist Daniel Gwyn.

Also active as a jazz composer Dr. Greeson's music for jazz ensemble is published by University of Northern Colorado Music Press and has been performed at the Clark Terry Jazz Camp and the Telluride Jazz Festival, as well as by various school jazz groups in the midwest.  He also serves as the jazz guitar consultant for Kendor Music Publishers in Delevan, New York and produces guitar chord charts for many of their jazz ensemble publications.  As a jazz guitarist and bassist he has performed with Clark Terry, Bruce Barth, Nneena Freelon,  Steve Wilson, Terrel Stafford and many others.

Dr. Greeson is also active as a guitarist in both the classical and jazz idioms.  He is a member of the flute and guitar duo "Novaria" with Ronda Mains, and in 1996 they released a CD on the Nuance label featuring many original compositions and arrangements composed by Greeson.  He has performed widely throughout the region as a soloist and part of a duet team and is the jazz guitar consultant for Kendor Music, Inc.  At the University of Arkansas Dr. Greeson directs the UA Jazz Ensemble, teaches a variety of music theory courses, teaches guitar and bass and private composition.  In 2007 he was received a Fulbright College "Master Teacher" award.


Go Back to Top

About the Classes I Teach

Music Theory 2 (MUTH 2603)  deals with chromatic harmony from the 19th century and is a core requirement for all music majors.  In it you will learn how to create and analyze harmonic progressions involving secondary dominant chords, modulation, borrowed chords, and Neapolitan and Augmented Sixth chords.  Prerequisite:  MUTH 1603

Music Theory 3 (MUTH 3603)  deals with 18th Century Counterpoint and is a core requirement for all music majors.  In it you will learn how to compose melodies in the style of the great J.S. Bach (1685 - 1750) and combine them in two or more voice parts to create fugues, inventions, passacaglias, and canons.  Prerequisite:  MUTH 2603

Click here to go to the Music Theory 3 page
Music Theory 4 (MUTH 3613)  deals with music of the 20th century.  In it you will learn about the various scales, modes, and harmonies found in music of composers like Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky, Bartok, Hindemith, Ellington, Coltrane, Schoenberg, Webern, Messiaen, Penderecki, Ligeti, and Reich.  Prerequisite:  MUTH 2603
Click here to go to the Music Theory 4 page
Private Composition Lessons (MUTH 164v, 364v, 568v) provides guidance in composing your own music.  Students will usually compose music in the modern classical style, or the jazz idiom, electronic music, or music for video.  Normally it is a private lesson and you should be self-motivated.  To receive permission to register for these courses you should have completed at least MUTH 3603 or else have composed a good amount of music on your own which you can present to composition faculty.  Contact me or Dr. Robert Mueller if you are interested in studying music composition and meet the criteria mentioned above.

Private Guitar Lessons (MUAP various numbers)  provides individual instruction in either the classical or jazz styles of guitar.  You must audition to be eligible to take these lessons and should be able to read music on the guitar, and play scales and a variety chords with facility.  At the U of Arkansas you can major in guitar and receive either a Bachelor of Arts degree, a Bachelor of Music in Guitar Performance, or a Master of Music in Guitar Performance.  In general during the fall and spring semesters my teaching load won't permit me to teach students who aren't majoring in guitar.  But during the summer sessions I usually can take on a few non majors, contact me here: jgreeson@uark.edu

Audition Materials:  If you wish to audition for guitar lessons you should be prepared to sight read a single line of music in treble clef of an elementary level.  You will also be asked to play a piece of music of your own choosing - not the hardest piece you know, but rather something with which you are comfortable.  Guitar students will choose to focus on either classical guitar or jazz guitar style of playing in their studies.  Those who focus on classical guitar will also be expected to perform a piece of music by Carcassi, Sor, Bach or Tarrega in their audition.  Those focusing on jazz guitar will be asked to play various modes and scales in a variety of positions on the fingerboard.  They will also be expected to know how to play Major 7th, minor 7th, and dominant 7th seventh chords in 3 or 4 forms around the fingerboard.  They will also be expected to know the location of various notes across the fingerboard.  They will also be asked to improvise over a blues or other basic jazz progression.

Jazz Guitar Lesson Materials:

Go to the Jazz Guitar Practice Files page (this has a lot of playalong mp3 clips of different styles)

Comping Chord Voicings in pdf format
Rhythm Chord Voicings in pdf format
Major Scale Patterns in pdf format
"Longer Licks" in pdf format 

"Longer Licks" audio files in mp3 format:

Major 7th Licks Examples       Minor 7th Licks Examples           Dominant 7th Licks Examples

Go Back to Top