Music Theory

Music Theory AI Audition Procedures

Prospective students should request an AI audition when applying to the Jacobs School of Music. Outstanding applicants who have been accepted to the program will be nominated by their departments for an AI audition.

Current IU graduate students may also audition for a music theory AI position. These auditions are scheduled through the department, using this online form. [PLEASE NOTE: The window for accepting AI applications for the 2020-2021 academic year is closed.]

Please review the audition format described below before requesting an audition. Only those who rate very good to excellent in all categories will be considered. Because of the number of people auditioning, meeting these standards will not ensure an offer of an AI position.

AI auditions for prospective and current non-theory majors are normally held the Friday after Spring break. The next date for AI auditions will be Friday, March 27, 2020.

If you have completed an AI audition previously and wish to be considered for a position again, please contact the chair of the music theory department. Repeat auditions will be at the discretion of the department.

Audition Format

The audition is in three parts: sightsinging, aural skills, and keyboard sightreading/analysis.

1. Sightsinging

You will be asked to sing one or two tonal melodies of moderate difficulty. Two melodies comparable to those used are shown below. You may sing using any system, including solfege or numbers, or you may use a neutral syllable. The melodies should be sung at steady tempo with few errors. Applicants should also be able to explain how to help students with difficult spots. The audio clips included below may be used to check your performance.

Example 1:

AI Audition Sightsinging Ex.1

Example 2:

AI Audition Sightsinging Ex.2

2. Aural Recognition

Intervals and chords. Applicants will be asked to identify a series of intervals and chords played on the piano. Intervals are identified by quality and size (e.g., M3, P4), while chords are identified by quality and inversion (e.g., major, root position; major-minor 6/5).

Harmonic progression. Applicants will be played a chord progression and asked to provide a harmonic analysis of the chords. The progression will include some chromaticism. Multiple hearings are permitted.


3. Keyboard Sightreading and Score Analysis

Keyboard. Applicants should be prepared to sightread at the keyboard an easy to moderately difficult musical example, such as a sonatina by Haydn or Beethoven. The score linked below is representative. Those auditioning should be able to play the piece accurately, with a steady pulse. A performance at the correct tempo is not necessarily required.

Score analysis. The candidate will be asked to discuss the same musical score. The applicant should be able to discuss the musical materials with a fair degree of sophistication. Questions may be asked about such things as key and changes of key, chord progressions, non-chord tones, rhythmic/melodic motives, phrase structure, possible large-scale form, and so on. The applicant will also be asked to make a few comments about possible composer, the type of piece, and a possible year of composition.