Music Theory Entrance Diagnostic
Undergraduate and graduate (master's) incoming students will find important information about theory diagnostics on this page.
I. Regular Placement
All students entering the School of Music as a music major or minor are required to take a Theory/Musicianship Placement Exam. The exam is designed to determine readiness for Mus 1301 (Theory I) and Mus 1101 (Musicianship I).
Part I of the exam covers written theory fundamentals- treble and bass clefs, note names (identification on staff and on keyboard), accidentals, enharmonic pitches, major key signatures, rhythmic values and meter signatures. Based on this part of the exam students are advised to take either Mus 1200 (Introductory Theory) or Mus 1301 (Theory I).
Part II of the exam tests basic aural skills-intervals, triad quality, meter identification, rhythmic dictation, melodic dictation, and melodic error detection. Based on this part of the exam, students are advised to take either Mus 1100 (Introductory Musicianship) or Mus 1101 (Musicianship I).
II. Advanced Placement
When a student scores exceptionally well on the regular placement exam and has prior instruction in music theory, advanced placement may be indicated. However, the regular placement exam does not test specifically for readiness for Theory II or Musicianship II; additional evaluation is necessary.
A student seeking advanced placement has several options:
- Credit by Baylor Exam-- receive credit for Mus 1301 and/or Mus 1101 by scoring 80 or higher on Baylor advanced placement exams (see description below). A $200/per course fee is paid to Baylor University.
- Credit by AP Exam-- receive credit for Mus 1301 by scoring 4 or higher on the theory portion of the College Board Advanced Placement Music Theory Exam and/or receive credit for Mus 1101 by scoring 4 or higher on the ear-training portion of same. A student with a score of 3 on either part of the AP exam may place out of the corresponding course (1301 or 1101) by making a score of 80 or higher on the corresponding portion of the Baylor advanced placement exam, without paying a fee to the university.
- Advanced Placement Without Credit-- place ahead in theory or musicianship by scoring 80 or higher on the Baylor advanced placement exam(s). No fee is required. The student must make up the missed hours by taking a more advanced theory course later in his/her course of study.
The Baylor advanced placement exams are equivalent to the final exams for Mus 1301 and Mus 1101. The following skills are tested:
- triad and seventh chord spelling and identification
- diatonic triad and seventh chord spelling and identification by Roman numeral label
- partwriting in three and four voices including all diatonic triads in root position and first inversion given any one of the following-Roman numerals only, figured bass line, melody only, outer voices only
- two-voice 1:1 counterpoint, writing a countermelody to a given soprano or bass line
- aural identification of melodic intervals, m2 through P8
- rhythmic dictation in simple and compound meters
- melodic dictation of non-modulating, diatonic melodies in major and minor keys
- harmonic dictation including all diatonic triads (root position & first inversion only)in major and minor keys
- rhythmic reading of examples in simple and compound meters
- sight-singing of non-modulating diatonic melodies in major and minor keys
To inquire further about undergraduate placement testing, contact Dr. Jana Millar.
I. Exam format
The exam consists of two parts: aural and written. The aural portion tests your musicianship skills through dictation and aural analysis of music from the common practice period. The written portion, on the other hand, tests your analytical proficiency through score study. The information below provides more specifics about the exam.
Part 1: Aural (45 minutes)
- Intervals: identification and notation of intervals from minor second to major tenth
- Melody: up to 10 measures long
- Rhythm: up to 8 measures long
- Two-part dictation: notate both parts of a contrapuntal example up to 6 measures in length
- Chord identification: identify chord quality (triads and seventh chords) and inversions
- Harmonic dictation: notate outer voices and analyze harmony with roman numeral symbols
- An example chosen from the tonal literature will be played. Questions concerning tonal/harmonic structure, compositional technique (sequence, pedal, motivic development, developmental procedures, imitation, etc.), and form will be addressed.
Part 2: Written (45 minutes)
Roman numeral analysis of a musical excerpt from the literature. Questions on form and compositional technique (see preceding paragraph) may also be included.
II. Sources for study
- Laitz and Bartlette, Graduate Review of Tonal Theory.
- Kostka and Payne. Tonal Harmony.
- Horvit, Koozin, and Nelson. Music for Ear Training.
- Spencer and Temko. A Practical Approach to the Study of Form in Music. Santa. Hearing Form.
- Online sources