Skip to body

Music

Graduate Theory Review

Information for the Graduate Theory Placement Examination

This guide is meant to help graduate students prepare for the Music Theory Diagnostic Evaluation exam. This evaluation is meant to ensure that students have competence in theory and analysis at the graduate level. There are two parts to the exam: aural and written. Students must achieve an 80% on both the aural and the written components of the exam. If a passing score is not received on one or both sections of the exam, the student may be required to take remedial coursework or individually developed projects with specific learning outcomes. Questions should be directed to Dr. Maria Roditeleva-Wibe, roditelm@cwu.edu.

Printable PDF version

Part One: Aural

Ear Training/Dictation:

  • Melodic and harmonic interval identification
  • Scales and Modes
  • Triads and Seventh Chords in root position
  • Simple and Compound rhythms
  • Identification of Short Harmonic Progressions
  • One Part Melodic dictation with chromaticism
  • Two-part melodic dictation, notate one voice in treble and one voice in bass clef
  • Four-part harmonic dictation, notate soprano and bass voices and supply a Roman numeral/figured bass analysis


Part Two: Written

I. Figured Bass Realization:
  • Given a bassline and figures, create a four-part (chorale style) harmonic progression
  • May include advanced chromatic harmonies
     
II. Analysis

Students will be given two musical scores and asked to answer analytic questions pertaining to some or all of the following:

  • Harmonic (Roman numeral) analysis
  • Form
  • Melodic embellishments
  • Texture
  • Cadences
  • Instrumentation
  • Compositional techniques such as melodic inversion, sequencing, retrograde, etc.
III. Terms/concepts:

RHYTHM 
simple meter 
compound meter 
asymetric meter 
harmonic rhythm 
hemiola 
syncopation 
anacrusis 
elision 
polyrhythm 
polymeter 
metric modulation

CADENCES 
perfect authentic cadence 
imperfect authentic cadence 
half cadence 
plagal cadence 
deceptive cadence 
phrygian cadence

FORM 
phrase 
antecedent-consequent 
period 
motive 
binary form 
ternary form 
composite ternary form 
rounded binary 
strophic 
da capo 
rondo sonata form, and internal parts 
fugue

  • fugal subject
  • real answer
  • tonal answer
  • countersubject
  • fugal exposition
  • episode
  • stretto

COUNTERPOINT
Principles of species counterpoint

SCALES
all modes
major and all minor scales 
whole-tone scale 
octatonic scale
pentatonic scale

HARMONY AND VOICE LEADING
tonic 
dominant 
subdominant 
mediant 
submediant 
supertonic 
leading tone 
subtonic 
parallel keys 
relative keys 
part-writing rules 
passing tone 
neighbor tone 
changing tones (double neighbor) 
nota cambiata 
suspension 
retardation 
appoggiatura 
escape tone 
polyphony 
homophony 
circle of fifths 
secondary dominant 
secondary function 
tonicization 
modulation 
mode mixture 
all 6/4 chord types 
neapolitan chord 
All +6th chords 
ninth chords 
pivot chord 
types of modulations 
enharmonically equivalent 
closely related keys 
chromatic mediants 
distantly related key

20th CENTURY CONCEPTS 
synthetic scales 
quartal/quintal 
secundal/tone clusters parallelism/planing 
polytonality 
extended harmonies 
chord succession 
pandiatonicism atonality 
twelve-tone concepts

  • Prime
  • Retrograde
  • nversion
  • Retrograde Inversion

hexachordal combinatoriality 
pitch class set 
prime form 
total serialism 
aleatoric

FOREIGN MUSICAL TERMS
Familiarity with standard orchestral instruments and voice parts in English, Italian, and German. Define familiar performance directions in those languages, such as con sordino/mit Dampfer, sotto voce, pizzicato, etc.


Additional questions should be directed to: 
Dr. Maria Roditeleva-Wibe, Coordinator of Music Theory and Composition, roditelm@cwu.edu