Music Theory Placement Exam


The music theory courses at Agnes Scott are designed to help you understand music's structure and notation, improve your aural skills and technical vocabulary, and develop the critical thinking skills necessary to analyze and interpret various styles of music.

The purpose of the placement exam is to assess your knowledge of music theory. The exam is not required, but we encourage you to take it if you have studied music theory in any capacity (perhaps independently, with a private teacher, or in a high school course). A good or bad score on this test has no correlation with musical talent and potential for a successful career as a musician. According to the results of your music theory placement exam, we will advise you to enroll either in Music Theory I (MUS 109; offered every spring) or Music Theory II (MUS 110; offered every fall).

Topics Covered on the Placement Exam

The placement exam will ask you to identify and notate pitches in various clefs, label and write intervals, answer questions pertaining to musical time (meter, tempo, and rhythm), identify and write key signatures for major and minor keys, write major and minor scales, identify and spell all qualities of triad and seventh chord, and provide a Roman-numeral label (with any necessary inversion symbol) for diatonic triads and seventh chords.

Ear Training

Ear training is an essential component of your development as a musician. We will test you on this subject after a satisfactory completion of the music theory placement exam. We strongly recommend you spend at least 20 minutes a day on ear training. Please refer to the online resources for websites that provide exercises and drills that will gradually develop your analytical hearing.

Bibliography (Music Theory Textbooks)

Music Theory Essentials: A Streamlined Approach to Fundamentals, Tonal Harmony, and Post-Tonal Materials by Jason W. Solomon. (This textbook is used in all four courses of the music theory sequence: MUS 109, MUS 110, MUS 209, and MUS 210.)

Harmony in Context by Miguel Roig-Francoli.

The Musician's Guide to Theory and Analysis by Jane Clendinning and Elizabeth Marvin.

Tonal Harmony by Stefan Kostka and Dorothy Payne.

The Complete Musician by Steven G. Laitz.

Online Resources

All online resources are FREE. Consult as many as possible!
Up-to-date information.
Outstanding tutorials on music theory and ear training drills.
Another great website with multiple tutorials and interactive theory and ear training exercises.
Ear training only. Works within your browser (no software download).

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