Music Theory

Students will explore the nature of music, integrating the key concepts of rhythm and meter, written music notation, the structure of various scale types, interval qualities, melody and harmony, the building of chords, and transposition. Throughout the series of assignments, ear training exercises are interspersed with the bones of composition technique, building in students the ability not only to hear and appreciate music, but step-by-step, to create it in written form as well. This highly interactive course culminates in the students producing original compositions, which while based on standard notation, demonstrate facets of personal expression. As the students’ ability to perform increases in the future, they will better understand music and therefore better demonstrate its intrinsic communication of emotion and ideas.

  • Rhythm and Meter: Students will build a foundational understanding of the elements of musical rhythm and meter, including the measure of different notes, time signatures, and special rhythms; additionally, students will participate in ear training exercises to build their skill in this area.
  • Notation and Pitch: Students will identify musical symbols, intervals, and instrumentation, and will be able to use this knowledge to compose and original melody.
  • Scales and Key Signatures: Students will examine scaled and both major and minor keys; projects include ongoing ear training exercises, the transposition of a melody to a new key, and the composition of original, non-diatonic melodies.
  • Harmony: Students will construct an understanding of the key aspects of harmony including the various categories of intervals and triads and participate in ongoing ear training exercises; this unit culminates in the independent composition of a simple accompaniment.
  • Making Music: Students will actively participate in the interpretation and composition of music, utilizing their knowledge of musical elements such as rhythm, pitch, key, harmony, and expression.
  • Course Review and Exam: Students will complete a full review of key course concepts and demonstrate their mastery through a final examination.

State: National
Grade Level: 9, 10, 11, 12
Category: Fine Arts
Course Length: Semester