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College of Arts and Humanities

Transfer Student Theory Placement Exam

Theory Home | Dr. Martin Kennedy | Fundamentals Exam | Fundamentals Course

This guide is meant to help undergraduate/transfer 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 undergraduate level. There are two parts to the exam: aural and written. Each part is set up according to the content of the six quarter theory sequence. Students will be placed in the appropriate quarter according to their skill level as demonstrated on this exam. Questions should be directed to Dr. Martin Kennedy,

Part One: Aural

Ear Training/Dictation:

  • Scales
  • Melodic and harmonic interval identification
  • Triads and Seventh Chords in root position
  • Cadence types
  • Triads in root position and inversions
  • Dominant Seventh Chords in inversions
  • Augmented sixth chords
  • Extended Dominants
  • Modes and Synthetic Scales
  • 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

Theory, 1st Quarter
  • Barlines
  • Time Signatures
  • Key Signatures
  • Scale degree names and numbers
  • Solfege syllables using movable do
  • Intervals
  • Inversions of Intervals
  • Diatonic Roman Numeral Analysis
Theory, 2nd Quarter
  • SATB Partwriting (Voice leading rules)
  • Spelling Seventh Chords
  • • Roman numeral Analysis with seventh chords
  • Cadence Types
  • 6/4 Chords (Passing, Pedal, Cadential) – Correct Resolutions
  • Figured bass
Theory, 3rd Quarter
  • Resolving Dominant sevenths
  • Embellishing Tones (Passing, Neighbor, Anticipation, Escape Tones, Appoggiatura, Pedal)
  • Suspensiong (Preparation – Suspension – Resolution)
  • Analysis including embellishing tones and seventh chords
  • Harmonizing soprano lines
  • Analysis of Piano excerpts
Theory, 4th Quarter
  • Key Relationships (Relative, Parallel, Foreign, Closely Related, Enharmonic)
  • Secondary Dominants and Secondary Leading Tone Chords
  • Figured Bass with Secondary Chords
  • Modulations (Common Chord, Chromatic, Phrase)
  • Forms (Binary, Rounded Binary, Ternary, Composite Ternary, Rondo, Sonata Form)
Theory, 5th Quarter
  • Borrowed Chords (Mode Mixture)
  • Neapolitan Chords and Augmented 6th Chords
  • Enharmonic Modulations
  • Popular Chord Symbols
  • Chromatic Mediants
  • Extended Dominants
  • Altered Dominants
Theory, 6th Quarter
  • Late Romantic Techniques
  • Diatonic Modes, Pentatonic and Synthetic Scales
  • Rhythmic Devices Syncopation, Asymmetrical Meters, mixed meters, additive rhythms, polyrhythm, polymeter, ametric, added values, non-retrogradeable rhythms, metric modulations
  • 20th Century Concepts quartal/quintal, secundal/tone clusters, parallelism/planing, polytonality, extended harmonies, chord succession, pandiatonicism, atonality
  • Post-Tonal Theory 12-tone Method, Matrix, Prime, Retrograde, Inversion, Retrograde Inversion, hexachordal combinatoriality, pitch class set, prime form, best normal order, inversionally/transpositionally symmetrical
  • 20th/21st Century Styles/Concepts Primitivism, Neoclassicism, Serialism, Sprechstimme, Pointillism, Prepared Piano, Aleatoric, Minimalism, Total Serialism


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