Music Theory



The focus in T232 is on skills involving chromatic harmony. The validation/exemption exam has two parts: dictation and a hearing.

The dictation portion includes identification of intervals (up to a M14), sonorities (seventh chords and extended tertian chords), and modes (e.g., Dorian). It also involves writing down the notes and rhythms of short passages played on the piano. These exercises include pitch patterns, melodic dictation, harmonic dictation, modulating dictation, and rhythmic dictation. The pitch patterns may be tonal, or may include juxtapositions of functionally unrelated triads. The melodic, two-part, and harmonic dictations may include explicit or implied secondary dominant and seventh chords, Neapolitans, augmented sixth chords, extended tertian chords, and mode mixture. For modulating dictations, students will need to write the bass line and identify the new key and the type of modulation. Possible modulation types include modulation to a closely related key by common pivot chord, modulation to a key a half step away by enharmonic reinterpretation of V7 and Ger+6, and chromatic mediant modulation. Rhythmic dictation may include ties, syncopation, polyrhythms, and asymmetrical meters.

Students who earn higher than 72.5% on the written portion of the V/E exam will be eligible to complete a hearing to perform singing, rhythmic, and keyboard exercises. Sight-singing may include chromaticism and modulation. Rhythm reading may include polyrhythms, syncopation, asymmetrical meters, and two independent voices. Keyboard skills may include playing chord progressions from Roman numerals or figured bass realization, with a focus on secondary chords, Neapolitan, augmented sixth chords, extended tertian chords, and mode mixture. Correct voice leading is expected. Assessment of skills will be based on fluency, accuracy, and the ability to keep a steady tempo. Students may find it helpful to practice exercises from chapters 11-16 of Rhythm Reading by Daniel Kazez, and chapters 14-20 of Music for Sight Singing (7th ed.) by Robert Ottman and Nancy Rogers.

Familiarity with treble, bass, alto, and tenor clefs is expected for both the written and hearing portions of the exam. The written and hearing grades are averaged, and a minimum grade of 72.5% is required to validate T232.