Should I take music theory? Why do orchestra parts keep changing clef? Why are the instruments in different keys?
The Voice of Experience:

Why I Should Have Paid More Attention in Music Theory Class


Advanced Placement Music Theory
Course Syllabus 
Instructors:

Dr. Shawn Hart, Assistant Director of Bands, SHS

817-299-7470 Email shawnhart@misdmail.org
Classroom: SHS Choir Room
Conference period: Block 2-7, 10:50-12:20 (band hall office) 
                   
John H. Julian, AP MT at LRHS, LHS, MHS & THS
Email  johnjulian@misdmail.org   or  musictheory@ocdmusician.com
Classrooms:
Timberview HS Period 1 7:25-8:10 Room 1319
Lake Ridge HS Period 3 9:05-9:50 Room A-150
Mansfield HS Period 5 10:50-11:35 Room F1  
Legacy HS  Period 7   12:30-1:15 Room AI-104

 

This is a 36-week course (one full credit).

Prerequisites (student must satisfy one):  3 years of band, orchestra, classical piano, classical guitar lessons, or interview with instructor.

Instructional Materials

  • Benward, Bruce and Marilyn Saker. Music in Theory and Practice, v.1 (8th ed.) McGraw-Hill, 2003.
  • Wallace, Barbara. Aural Proficiency. Kees Academic Press, 2008.
  • Scoggins, Nancy. "Barron's Guide to the AP Music Theory Exam" (Optional for SHS) BUY THIS BOOK NOW! IT WILL SAVE YOU HOURS AND HOURS OF GRIEF!!

Other Materials

Students are expected to purchase and have with them at each class

  • A notebook for general note taking
  • A notebook of music staff paper (start with at least 25 sheets)
  • 3-4 #2 Pencils
  • A large eraser
  • Red Pencil
  • Straight edge ruler optional, but might help with your calligraphy
  • iPad*

*iPad procedures, rules and guidelines

  1. Students shall follow all campus and district rules regarding Ipads.
  2. Bring your iPad to class each day.
  3. Download at least one free piano keyboard app.There are many and you will need it often.
  4. Your iPad is to be used in music theory class for music theory only. Do not use for games, checking email, watching Netflix or other classwork.
  5. iPad will be used only on designated and assignments and tests. However, if you have purchased a music notation app or have Noteflight, you may use your iPad for Sibelius assignments.

The instructor does not provide music paper. Manuscript paper can be downloaded from:

Grading

  • 25% Class participation (Not Optional!)
  • 35% Homework
  • 40% Written exams/projects

Course Overview

Perhaps a more appropriate title for this course would be “Comprehensive Musicianship.” In addition to studying written music theory, students will also be involved in ear training exercises/drills. The typical daily schedule would involve forty-five minutes of written theory, followed by forty-five minutes of ear training.

Written theory is the study of musical designs, proportions, and inventive patterns that are transformed by the mind into aesthetic experience. In general, students will gain fluency through both analysis and composition of their own.

Ear training is itself a multi-faceted endeavor. Its subdivisions include sight singing, melodic dictation, harmonic dictation, and rhythmic dictation. The drills involved with the study of ear training are to be practiced as dutifully as that on the student’s performance instrument.

Taken together, written theory and ear training serve to empower the student with a “hearing eye” and a “seeing ear.” This means that a student well-versed in these skills will be able to look at a musical score and be able to hear it without any sound needing to be produced; likewise, by hearing a recording or by simply listening to music, the student will be more able to see what it would look like when written. These are very powerful skills, whose worth cannot be overestimated.

The first 1-2 weeks will be devoted to establishing a common foundation of literacy in the fundamentals of musical structures. Pitch names, scales, time signatures, triads, and rudimentary harmonic analysis are some of the many topics of this first segment of the semester. Once this foundation is achieved, the course will move into deeper structures. Time will be spent on the analysis of a variety of musical scores, from orchestral, to band, to choral, to chamber music. Students will gain knowledge of the compositional process through harmonic, rhythmic, and melodic analysis. Students will, after acquiring some skill in analytical technique, be composing short phrases or pieces of their own. 

Overview of Student Activities

The first forty-five minutes of each class are devoted to written music theory. Generally the first 10 minutes involves a review of the previous class’ material. This is especially important since the class meets every other day. The next 30-35 minutes is used to introduce new material, and to do board work or individual exercises at the students’ seats. Homework is given daily from the classroom text, and is generally due at the beginning of the next class. Some homework, and some compositional assignments, are due at various dates from the time of assignment.

The last 45 minutes are the aural skills component. We begin by doing vocal warm-ups (singing major or minor scales, scales in 3rds/4ths, and arpeggios), then progressing to singing melodies from Wallace’s Aural Proficiency. Next we go to the melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic dictation exercises from Aural Proficiency. This text affords the class a multitude of varied exercises, from standard dictation, to error detection, to transcriptions that involving jotting down a harmonic progress from a folk or popular song form.

Course Objectives

  1. Identify pitches on all commonly used clefs, including treble, bass, and c clefs
  2. Construct ascending and descending intervals, both simple and compound
  3. Understand the processes involved in transposing the pitches of non-C instruments
  4. Construct scales, including major, three forms of minor, pentatonic, whole tone, octatonic,  blues, and the church modes.
  5. Construct and analyze chords, including major, minor, major-minor seventh, diminished, and augmented chords, as well as their inversions.
  6. Identify common cadences and formal structures including motive, phrase, and periods.
  7. Identify non-harmonic tones.
  8. Identify different types of musical textures, and understand the processes involved in textural reductions.
  9. Identify and follow the voice-leading procedures of the common practice period.
  10. Recognize and sing intervals, scales, triads, and melodies.
  11. Construct compositions in the common practice chorale style, as well as more original  student works governed by specific parameters. 







Weekly Topics

1.Weeks 1-2

         a. Written Theory

                         Notation concepts: treble, bass, c clefs, ledger lines,
                         basic rhythmic values, time signatures, stem rules
        b. Ear Training
                                i. Introduction to solfege
                               ii. Teach Arpeggio Song:
  • Do-mi-so-mi-do
  • Do-fa-la-fa-do
  • Do-mi-so-mi-do
  • Ti-re-sol-re-ti
  • Do-mi-so-mi-do
                              iii. Basic rhythmic dictation: quarter notes (rests), half notes (rests),    
                                   dotted half notes (rests), whole notes (rests)
                              iv. Sight singing in Major Modes
                               v. Melodic Dictation: Stepwise, major beginning on tonic

2. Weeks 3-4

          a. Written Theory

                           Scale construction: major, 3 forms of minor, scale degree names,
                           parallel/relative relationships, church modes

          b.     Ear Training

                               i. Basic rhythmic dictation: quarter notes (rests), half notes (rests), dotted    
                                  half notes (rests), whole notes (rests)
                              ii. Sight singing in Major Modes

3.Weeks 5-6

          a. Written Theory

                               i. Intervals: simple and compound, interval inversions
                              ii. Instrument transposition: Bb, Eb, F instruments
          b. Ear Training
                                i. Rhythmic dictation: add dotted quarter notes (rests), half notes (rests),   
                                   dotted half notes (rests), whole notes (rests)
                               ii. Sightsinging in Major Modes; add skips in tonic chord, melodies
                                   beginning on do, mi, sol
                              iii. Basic rhythmic dictation: quarter notes (rests), half notes (rests),
                                   dotted half notes (rests),whole notes (rests)
                              iv. Sightsinging in Major Modes
                               v. Melodic Dictation: Stepwise, major beginning on tonic

4. Weeks 7-8

           a. Written Theory

                                i. Chords: major/minor/diminished/augmented
                               ii. Triad inversions
                              iii. Scale degree names
                              iv. Intro to Roman numerals/figured bass

          b. Ear Training – Chapter 3

                               i. Arpeggio Song: add minor version and V7
                              ii.  Sight singing: major and minor
                             iii. Rhythmic Dictation: add 6/8,
                             iv. Intervals: Tritone through P8
                              v. Melodic Dictation: major and minor: skips within I/i chord
                             vi. Harmonic Dictation: I, IV, V

5. Weeks 9-10

           a. Written Theory

                               i. Cadences: authentic, plagal, deceptive, half
                               ii. Non-harmonic tones

           b. Ear Training

                                    i. Sightsinging: major and minor
                                    i. Rhythmic Dictation: add 6/8,
                                  iii. Intervals: Tritone through P8
                                  iv. Melodic Dictation: major and minor: skips within I/i chord
                                   v. Harmonic Dictation: I, IV, V

6. Weeks 11-12

         a. Written Theory

                                    i. Basics of melodic organization: motive, phrase, period
                                   ii. Techniques: sequence
                                  iii.    ****Composition Assignment I due****

          b. Ear Training

                                  i.  Arpeggio Song now becomes:

                                             I-II-V-VI-II-V7-I (maj. And min.)

                                 ii. Sight singing: Add anacrusis and skips in V and V7
                                iii. Melodic Dication: skips in 1/i, and V and V7
                                iv. Harmonic Dictation: add first inversion and add II/ii and VI/vi

7.Weeks 13-14

          a. Written Theory

                           Textures/Textural Reductions:monophonic, polyphonic,
                           homophonic, homorhythmic

          b. Ear Training

                                 i. Arpeggio Song now becomes:

                                           I-IV-VI-II-V7-I (maj. and min.)

                                 ii. Sightsinging: Add anacrusis and skips in V and V7
                                iii. Melodic Dication: skips in 1/i, and V and V7
                                iv. Harmonic Dictation: add first inversion and add II/ii and VI/vi
 

8. Weeks 15-16

          a. Written Theory

                            Intro to species counterpoint: cantus firmus,  
                            parallel/contrary/oblique/similar motion

          b. Ear Training

                                    i. Arpeggio Song now becomes:

                                                               I- IV-VI-II-V7-I (maj. And min.)

                                   ii. Sightsinging: Add anacrusis and skips in V and V7
                                  iii. Melodic Dication: skips in 1/i, and V and V7
                                  iv. Harmonic Dictation: add first inversion and add II/ii and VI/vi

9. Weeks 17-18

         a. Written Theory

                           Intro to 4-voice leading principles: voice movement, chord tone doubling,
                           voice ranges, exceptions to rules and when to use them effectively

          b. Ear Training

                                 i. Arpeggio Song now becomes:

                                            I- IV-VI-II-V7-I (maj. And min.)                                          

                                 ii. Sightsinging: Add anacrusis and skips in V and V7
                                iii. Melodic Dication: skips in 1/i, and V and V7
                                iv. Harmonic Dictation: add first inversion and add II/ii and VI/vi 

10.  Weeks 19-20

         a. Written Theory

                                  i. Harmonic progression/harmonic rhythm: root relationships, circle progressions
                                 ii. Harmonizing chorale melodies vs. harmonizing folk melodies

          b. Ear Training

                                  i. Rhythmic reading/dictation: 16th note variations
                                 ii. Sightsinging/melodic diction: 16th note variations
                                iii. Harmonic Dictation: Cadences and 2nd Inversion

11.  Week 21-22

          a. Written Theory

                           The dominant seventh chord: structure, inversions,
                            normal resolutions,  regular resolutions

          b. Ear Training

                                  i. Rhythmic reading/dictation: 16th note variations
                                 ii. Sightsinging/melodic diction: 16th note variations
                                iii. Harmonic Dictation: Cadences and 2nd Inversion

12.  Week 23-24

           a. Written Theory

                             Nondominant Seventh Chords: structure, and resolution ofsevenths

           b. Ear Training

                                   i. Rhythmic reading/dictation: 16th note variations
                                  ii. Sightsinging/melodic diction: 16th note variations
                                 iii. Harmonic Dictation: Cadences and 2nd Inversion

13.  Weeks 25-26

         a. Written Theory

                                   i. Modulation: closely related keys, pivot chord/phrase/chromatic   
                                     modulation types
                                   ii.    ****Composition Assignment 2 due****
         b. Ear Training
                                   i. Sightsinging and Melodic Dictation in Compound Meter
                                  ii. Harmonic Dictation: adding V7 inversions and chords with subtonic
                                 iii.  Overview of Binary Form
                                 iv.   ** MOCK AP EXAM**

14.  Weeks 27-28-29

           a. Written Theory

                                  i. Secondary dominants/leading-tone triads/tonicized chords
                                 ii. Part writing the topics above
                                iii. Overview of Ternary Form

          b. Ear Training

                                  i. Sightsinging and Melodic Dictation in Compound Meter
                                 ii. Harmonic Dictation: adding V7 inversions and chords with subtonic

15.  Weeks 30-31                                                    

          a. Written Theory

                                  i. Binary form: closed vs. open form
                                 ii. Labeling formal divisions

          b. Ear Training

                                  i. Sightsinging and Melodic Dictation in Compound Meter
                                 ii. Harmonic Dictation: adding V7 inversions and chords with subtonic

16.  Weeks 32-33

          a. Written Theory

                                  i. Ternary form/rounded binary
                                 ii. Labeling formal divisions

          b. Ear Training

                                  i. Sightsinging: Adding Bach Chorales, rotating parts and
                                     syncopation and hemiola
                                 ii. Harmonic Diction: add ii7 and inversions and non-harmonic tones

17.  Weeks 34-36

          a. Written Theory

                                   i. Advanced harmonic structures: borrowed chords, Neopolitan, and      
                                      augmented 6th chords
                                  ii.    ****Composition Assignment 3 due****

          b. Ear Training

                                   i. Sightsinging: Adding Bach Chorales, rotating parts and
                                      syncopation and hemiola
                                  ii. Harmonic Diction: add ii7 and inversions and non-harmonic tonic
 

 

 

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