- Academic English Studies (ESL)
- Biochemistry/Molecular Biology
- Classical Studies
- East Asian Studies
- Environmental Studies
- Ethnic Studies
- Exploration and Discovery
- Foreign Languages
- French Studies
- Gender Studies
- German Studies
- Health Professions
- Hispanic Studies
- International Affairs
- Latin American Studies
- Mathematics/Computer Science
- Political Economy
- Political Science
- Religious Studies
- Rhetoric and Media Studies (formerly Communication)
- Sociology and Anthropology
Music Theory at Lewis & Clark College and Information on the Music Theory Placement Exam
The Spring 2013 Music Theory Placement Exam will be given on Tuesday, January 22 at 9:40 am in Howard 135. The exam lasts slightly over an hour.
If you plan to enroll in any Music Theory course while at L&C, please read the information below. Should you have remaining questions, please contact Music Theory Coordinator Michael Johanson (email@example.com).
Music Theory and Aural Skills Placement Exam
Students who might major or minor in music should take the exam during the fall of their first year. The exam will be given twice annually. Students wishing to take the exam must plan to take it during one of these times. Students with no musical experience wishing to enroll in a Music Theory course should register for Pre-theory (MUS 101).
Results of the examination will be posted and/or emailed to testees shortly after the conclusion of the exam. The registrar will be notified of all students who exempt one or more Music Theory courses, and these students will be granted permission to enroll in the appropriate level. Note that students will not be able to enroll in MUS 111/121 without having passed this test. Students who have taken the AP (Advanced Placement Exam) and have received a score of 4 or 5 may be eligible to exempt one or more levels of Music Theory and should contact Music Theory Coordinator Michael Johanson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Students who have taken the IB (International Baccalaureate Exam)
NOTE: It is advisable that students planning on enrolling in any theory course besides pre-theory have a minimum of 1-2 years of instrumental/vocal training and are capable of reading music notated in both treble and bass clefs.
What the Exam Tests
The exam tests your knowledge of Western classical music theory and your ability to relate that knowledge to what you hear. The exam is in four parts. If you pass the first level, you may then take the second level, and so on.
Most students are placed in Pre-Theory; some in Theory I; and a few in Theory II. It is very unusual for entering first-year students to have had enough theory training to place into Theory III.
Level 1: Music Fundamentals. Equivalent to MUS 101 (Pre-Theory)
Written: Intervals, Clefs, Chord Qualities, Scales, Key Signatures, Tonic and Dominant Harmony
Aural Skills: Melodic Dictation in Major and Minor keys, Scale Degrees 1-8. Chord Identification, Interval Identification.
Level 2: Diatonic Harmony and Voice Leading. Equivalent to MUS 121 (Theory I) and MUS 111 (Aural Skills I)
Written: 4-voice diatonic chorale writing in all major and minor keys. Realization of figured bass, harmonization of diatonic melodies. Writing and identification of cadence types. Corresponds with parts I-III of the Kostka-Payne text.
Aural Skills: Diatonic chord progressions, Rhythmic Dictation in Simple and Compound Meters. Complex and longer melodic dictation exercises.
Level 3: Chromatic Harmony and Voice Leading. Equivalent to MUS 222 (Theory II) and MUS 212 (Aural Skills II)
Written: 4-voice chromatic, modulating chorale writing in all major and minor keys. Harmonization of chromatic melodies. Analysis of binary and ternary forms, basic phrase structures.
Aural Skills: Simple chromatic chord progressions. Rhythmic Dictation with syncopation at faster tempi in simple and Compound Meters. Chromatic melodic dictation exercises.
Level 4: Advanced Chromatic Harmony, Form and Analysis. Equivalent to MUS 223 (Theory III) and MUS 213 (Aural Skills III)
Written: Romantic-era chromatic harmonic analysis with Linear (non-functional) Progressions, foreign-key modulations. Formal analysis of sonata, rondo, sonata-rondo and other forms, including unusual periodic, sentence and phrase-group structures.
Aural Skills: Sophisticated chromatic chord progressions. Rhythmic Dictation with hemiola, metric shifting, and polyrhythm. Chromatic and modulating melodic dictations of greater length and complexity.
How to Study for the Exam
While almost any good theory textbook will do, L&C uses Tonal Harmony, 6th ed. by Stefan Kostka and Dorothy Payne, and it may be worth your while to pick up a used copy. If you enroll in music theory classes beyond pre-theory, purchasing the text will eventually be a necessity, as it is required for all written theory courses except Pre-theory.
Aural Skills cannot be learned from a textbook—it takes patient and consistent practice with a teacher or computer. Some of the software programs we recommend are MacGamut and Auralia.
There are numerous online resources that may be very useful to students preparing to take these exams. Both Musictheory and Teoria are free sites that are quite comprehensive in terms of their coverage of basic music-theoretical concepts. Both of these programs also offer online practice with skills materials. A list of sites found to be useful for the development of aural skills is given below:
Aural Skills Resources Online
(a few of many available; all of the below are free)
As discussed, this is a great site for ear training drills involving intervals, chords, key signatures, scales and more (there’s even an application for use with the iphone).
Note that teoria.com has sections on scales ear training, rhythmic dictation, note dictation, interval ear training, melodic dictation, triad ear training, triad and seventh chord ear training, seventh chord ear training, all of which are very useful to us in MUS 111.
This is a very user-friendly site that allows for practice in chord type recognition, harmonic dictation, absolute pitch training, interval recognition, and melodic dictation.
This site allows you to practice a plethora of melodic and rhythmic dictations. Answers are provided, so you can check your work. You should know that the rhythmic dictations are played by a snare drum sound, and rests are not included (i.e., only attack points are given). For practice of rhythmic dictations which incorporate rests, you can certainly use the melodic dictations as rhythmic dictations. There are “first step,” Beginner, and Beginner+, Beginner++ and Intermediate levels. MUS 111 students should start with the “first step” examples and move on from there only when ready.
Very intuitive, user friendly site with modules on solfège ear training (one-note, three-note), one-note piano ear trainer, melodic and harmonic interval ear training, and more. Great for beginning levels, but also includes an atonal trichord trainer which is great for practice of material covered in MUS 314.
This a site created by David Loberg Code at Western Michigan University. There are a limited number of melodies and rhythms, but the level is appropriate to MUS 111 and answers are given.
http://www.wmich.edu/mus-theo/intactus/intactus.html - InTactus is [a downloadable] “rhythmic training program for measuring performance of one- and two-part rhythms.”
“Diktus is a [downloadable] program for practicing one- or two-part rhythmic dictation and sight reading.”
Drills in intervals, chords, scales, and more. Easy to use.
MUSIC THEORY CURRICULUM - content coverage
An outline of the content of Tonal Harmony, 6th ed. by Stefan Kostka and Dorothy Payne is given below. Please note the following information showing the material each course in our curriculum covers:
Pre-Theory (MUS 101) covers the material found in Part I (“Fundamentals”).
Aural Skills I (MUS 101) and Music Theory I (MUS 121) cover the material found in Parts II and III (“Diatonic Triads and Diatonic Seventh Chords”)
Aural Skills II (MUS 212) and Music Theory II (MUS 222) cover the material in Part IV (“Chromaticism I”).
Aural Skills III (MUS 213) and Music Theory III (MUS 223) cover the material in Part V (“Chromaticism II”).
MUS 314 (Twentieth-Century Music Theory and Aural Skills) covers the material in Part VI (“Late Romanticism and the Twentieth-Century”).
TONAL HARMONY by Stefan Kostka and Dorothy Payne
Part IV: Chromaticism 1