Music Theory

Music Fundamentals Online

Prerequisites for T151

MUS-T151 (Music Theory and Literature I) is the first class in the core music theory sequence for undergraduate students in the Jacobs School of Music. T151 is offered only in the fall semester. Before students can enroll in T151, they must demonstrate mastery of music fundamentals such as notation, intervals, scales, key signatures, and triads.

These concepts underlie the topics studied in T151 and all subsequent music theory courses (including both written theory and aural skills), so it is essential that students master them thoroughly. Students who attempt to take T151 without a solid mastery of these fundamentals will almost certainly find themselves inadequately prepared. For these reasons, the prerequisites for T151 are strictly enforced. Students who register for T151 but who are found not to have satisfied the prerequisites as described here will not be allowed to remain in the course.

The two main ways of satisfying the prerequisites for T151 are:

  • by completing Music Fundamentals Online; or

  • by completing MUS-T109 (Rudiments of Music) with a grade of C or better.

Music Fundamentals Online

The preferred way to satisfy the prerequisites for T151 is by completing Music Fundamentals Online (MFO), an online course, during the summer preceding enrollment in T151.

General information about MFO is available here.

Current information for IU students (including incoming music majors) who wish to take MFO during the summer is available here.


Students who do not complete MFO during the summer may take the course MUS-T109 (Rudiments of Music) as an alternate way of satisfying the prerequisites for T151. The content of T109 is similar to the content of MFO.

T109 is offered in every fall semester as a traditional class, and in both the fall and spring semesters as an online class. Because T151 is offered only in the fall semester, students who take T109 during the academic year will be unable to take T151 until the following fall.

T109 carries General Education Arts and Humanities credit.

More information about T109 (including the online sections) is available here.


MUS-Z111 and Z211 (Music Theory I and II) are music theory classes for non-music majors. Credit for the Z courses cannot be applied to degrees in the Jacobs School of Music.

Z211 can, however, substitute for T109 as a prerequisite for T151. A student who has completed Z211 with a grade of C or better is eligible to enroll in T151, even if the student has never taken MFO or T109. Note that Z111 is a prerequisite for Z211, so a student will generally need to complete two semesters of Z courses in order to satisfy the T151 prerequisite in this way.

Frequently asked questions

A list of frequently asked questions on MFO, T151 prerequisites, T109, and related topics is available here.