AP Music Theory Overview

AP Music Theory Resources and Requirements

Advanced Placement Music Theory carries a credit of one Carnegie unit.  The course is offered to students with a concentration in vocal or instrumental music.  Prerequisites for the course are completion of Theory 3 or Jazz Theory, or demonstration of mastery of the rudiments of music theory.  

The following resources are used for this course:

Benward, Bruce, and Gary White.  1997.  Music in Theory and Practice, Vol. 1,  6th ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill
Ottman, Robert.  2004. Music for Sight-Singing, 6th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall

Finale 2007 music writing software (http://www.makemusic.com)
Auralia 3.0 ear training software (www.risingsoftware.com)
Practica Musica 5.123 music theory drill software (http://www.ars-nova.com)


MIDI keyboards; computers

Teacher-created reference manual and exercise materials
Scores and recordings of a wide range of music literature, with emphasis on works performed by students in the class
Student-composed sight-singing melodies
Standard music reference works

Required materials (must be brought to each class):
	A loose leaf binder where all handouts are kept
		A pencil

Homework will be assigned at each class and will be due at the beginning of the next class. Students turning in an assignment late will lose a point from the homework portion of their advisory grade.

Grade percentages will vary from advisory to advisory depending on the material covered but will typically be as follows:

           Written class and homework assignments	45%
           Class participation, including sight singing	25%
           Test (mid-advisory)	                    10%	
           Final advisory examination	                     20%

All students are required to take the AP Exam for Music Theory, which will be held on Monday, May 11, 2009, at 8:00 am.  Participation in this exam will count as the 4th advisory examination grade.  In addition, there will be a final exam for the class, which will be averaged into the final report card grade along with the four advisory grades.

AP Music Theory Course Objectives

The student will study works from the music literature of the 16th to 21st centuries through listening and score analysis.  He or she will identify (by ear and by reading written examples), write, and describe the following musical structures using pertinent vocabulary: 

Part 1:  Fundamentals of Music Theory
A.  Pitch Notation
	Treble, bass, alto, and tenor clefs;  accidentals and enharmonic notation; relation of notated pitches to piano keyboard; whole and half steps; orchestral and other common score formats.
B.  Scales and Keys
1.  All major and minor key signatures and major, three forms of minor,  and chromatic scales; introduction to whole tone and pentatonic scales, and dorian, phrygian, lydian, and mixolydian modes; names of scale degrees.
2.  Key relationships:  relative and parallel; circle of fifths
3.  Transposition; common instrumental transpositions.
C.  Intervals
	All major, minor, perfect, augmented and diminished intervals and their inversions and enharmonic spellings.  Categorization of consonant and dissonant intervals based on the overtone series.
D.  Chords
	Major, minor, augmented, and diminished triads, and major seventh, minor seventh, dominant seventh, diminished seventh, and half diminished seventh chords built on any pitch, in root position and all inversions, with figured bass symbols.
E.  Metric and rhythmic notation and organization
	Rhythm patterns using all note values in simple, compound, and irregular meters, with emphasis on rhythmic performance and dictation skills.

Part 2:  Structural Elements of Music
A.  Melodic structure
1.  Scale degrees, solfege syllables, and intervallic and harmonic structure within a melody, with emphasis on melodic dictation and sight singing skills.
2.  Motivic treatment:  repetition, transposition, inversion, augmentation, diminution, sequence, embellishment.

B.  Harmonic structure
	Roman numeral and figured bass analysis of functional tonal passages.
1.  Common diatonic progressions and cadences with triads and seventh chords, with emphasis on keyboard performance and harmonic dictation skills. 
2.  Secondary Dominants and modulations to closely related keys.
3.  Chord connection within a four-part texture.
4.  Some basic 20th-century chordal structures and compositional procedures.

C.  Part-writing
1.  Two-part counterpoint following 18th century voice leading procedures, with focus on the following criteria:
	a. Types of motion between two voices:  Parallel, similar, oblique, contrary.
	b.  Handling of dissonances according to common practice conventions
	c.  Non-harmonic tones:  passing, neighboring, suspension, appogiatura, anticipation, escape tone, pedal point.
	d.  Contrapuntal devices:  Imitation, invertible counterpoint, motivic treatments described above.
2.  Four-part chorale style writing according to the above criteria and incorporating principles of harmonic progression and chord connection 

D.  Musical Texture and Form
1. Monophonic, polyphonic, and homophonic texture; aural identification of instrumental color.
2.  Motives, phrase structure and small forms (binary, rounded binary, ternary, theme & variation, strophic, etc.)
3.  Key relationships among sections of a piece

Click here to see the AP Music Theory week-by-week curriculum.