Academic Bulletin Music - 2009-10 - 201 MUS 201

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Course Descriptions—Music Theory Sequence

The Music Theory sequence is designed to develop your understanding of the rich grammar and syntax of common-practice functional tonality. This objective is approached through listening, analysis, and writing. Aural skills (the ability to perceive and reconstruct/represent musical events) and basic musicianship skills (sight-singing and basic keyboard performance) will be stressed throughout the course alongside analysis and conception, as any real understanding of music is inconceivable without such abilities. Each theory course requires weekly musicianship meetings and related work in the Computer-Assisted Music Exploration Lab in addition to the three weekly class sessions.

The three-semester sequence is required of, but not limited to, music majors. All students wishing to enroll in Theory I must either successfully complete Music 106 (Fundamentals of Music II) or pass an exam/audition to place them out of Music 106. Since the theory sequence is offered in a rotating schedule, starting over every fourth semester, interested students are encouraged to take the exam/audition (and, if deemed necessary, Music 105-106) early in their academic careers in order to be prepared when Theory I comes around in the rotation.

MUS 201 Music Theory I

This course begins with a review of intervals and triads, followed by an examination of higher-order pitch-related and rhythmic structural aspects of tonal music (consonance and dissonance; functional tonality; meter and tonal rhythm). From this study of functional tonal harmony in both its vertical and broader horizontal aspects, we move on to examine the notion of form in music, including: general melodic characteristics; tonality and harmonic implication in melody; tendency tones; melodic cadences; motives; phrases and periods; structure and embellishment in melody.


Prerequisite: Music 106 or exam.


Credits: 1