Graduate Entrance Exams
All new graduate students in the Jacobs School of Music take entrance examations in written theory, aural theory, and sightsinging, as well as in music history. This page describes the contents of the three tests administered by the music theory department.
I. Written - Questions will be selected from the following areas
- Roman numeral analysis of given passages
- Key analysis and modulation procedures
- Transposition and score reading, including recognition in treble, bass, alto and
tenor clefs, and familiarity with Bb, A, and F transpositions
- Recognition of nonchord tones
- Recognition of melodic, contrapuntal, and rhythmic devices
- Recognition of standard formal types
- Writing of chords, from given Roman numerals or figured bass symbols
- Harmonization of melodies
In preparing to take this test, students may wish to review the textbook used currently in T508 Written Music Theory Review for Graduate Students. The book is The Complete Musician: An Integrated Approach to Tonal Theory, Analysis, and Listening, 2nd Edtion, by Steven G. Laitz (Oxford University Press).
II. Aural - Questions will be selected from the following areas
- Melodic and rhythmic dictation
- Interval and chord type recognition
- Harmonic dictation (soprano and bass lines, plus Roman numerals)
- 2-part contrapuntal dictation
- Aural recognition of modulations (in context)
- Aural recognition of musical materials and procedures in context (e.g., scale basis, general types of chords, form)
You will be expected to use the symbols below.
A. Chord Quality: (Roman Numeral Example)
- Major = M triad (upper case letters): I, V
- Minor = m triad (lower case letters): i, vi
- Diminished = o (symbol): viio (lower-case plus symbol)
- Augmented = + (symbol): III+ (upper-case plus symbol)
- Half-diminished 7th chord = diminished minor 7th chord or b-d-f-a
- Fully-diminished 7th chord = diminished diminished 7th chord or b-d-f-ab (o7)
- Extended tertian chords: Ninths can be identified by quality of triad, 7th, and 9th
(e.g. Mmm9 means major triad, minor 7th, and minor 9th or C-E-G-Bb-Db). The presence of an 11th or 13th is generally indicated with a Roman numeral or root name plus a number, e.g. V11, V13 or C11, C13.
B. Chord Inversion: (Roman Numeral Example)
- Triads: root position I, 1st inversion I6, 2nd inversion I64
- 7th chords: root V7, 1st inversion V65, 2nd inversion V43, 3rd inversion V42
- Augmented 6th chords: It+6, Gr+6, Fr+6
- Neapolitan 6th chord (bII6) = N6
Students are generally asked to sing two melodies for the examiners. Examples may be sung on a neutral syllable or on any system of solfège syllables. Examples emphasize treble and bass clef reading of tonal melodies with some chromaticism and modulation, and rhythmic reading.
The following melodies are characteristic of the difficulty of those used in the sightsinging exam: