AP Music Theory » AP Music Theory

AP Music Theory

COURSE DESCRIPTION:   10 Credit elective course.   Fulfills fine arts graduation requirement. 

AP Music Theory is an advanced level course designed to engage students in learning activities that will help them to achieve the outcomes assessed by the College Board’s Advanced Placement Music Theory Examination. The AP Music Theory course is designed to develop a student’s ability to recognize, understand, and describe the basic materials and processes of music that are heard or presented in a score. These abilities will be developed through various listening, performance, written, creative, and analytical exercises. Although this course focuses on music from the Common Practice Period (1600 – 1900), materials and processes found in other styles and genres are also studied. 

Students are highly encouraged to sit for the College Board’s Advanced Placement Music Theory Examination.  Students who successfully complete the AP Music Theory Examination and plan to major in music in college may be able to enroll in an advanced music theory course, depending upon the individual college’s policy. 

COURSE OBJECTIVES:   The objectives below have been adapted from the Expanded Course Specifications posted on the AP Music Theory Home Page on the AP Central website. 

The following items will be covered in the course:

1) Fundamental Terminology and Fundamental Notational Skills 

a) Notate and identify pitch in four clefs:  treble, bass, alto, and tenor.
b) Notate, hear, and identify simple and compound meters. 
c) Notate and identify all major and minor key signatures. 
d) Notate, hear, and identify the following scales: chromatic, major, and the three forms of minor.
e) Name and recognize scale degree terms, e.g., tonic, supertonic, etc. 
f) Notate, hear, and transpose the following modes: Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, an Mixolydian (authentic forms only).
g) Notate, hear, and identify whole tone and pentatonic scales.
h) Notate, hear, and identify all perfect, major, minor, diminished, and augmented intervals inclusive of an octave.
i) Notate, hear, and identify triads including inversions.
j) Define and identify common tempo and expression markings. 
2) Compositional Skills 
a) Compose a bass line for a given melody to create simple two-part counterpoint in seventeenth- and/or eighteenth-century style; analyze the implied harmonies.
b) Realize a figured bass according to the rules of eighteenth-century chorale style,  major or minor key, using any or all of the following devices: diatonic triads and  seventh chords, inversions, non-harmonic tones, and secondary-dominant and dominant seventh chords.
c) Realize a four-part chorale-style progression from Roman and Arabic numerals. 
3) Score Analysis 
a) Notate, hear, and identify authentic, plagal, half, Phrygian half, and deceptive cadences in major and minor keys.
b) Identify in score the following non-harmonic tones: passing tone (accented and  unaccented), neighboring tone, anticipation, suspension, retardation, appoggiatura, escape tone, changing tone (cambiata), and pedal tone.
c) Small-scale and large-scale harmonic procedures, including:
i) Identification of cadence types
ii) Roman-numeral and figured-bass analysis, including non-harmonic tones, seventh chords, and secondary-dominant chords
iii) Identification of key centers and key relationships; recognition of modulation to closely related keys
d) Melodic organization and developmental procedures: 
i) Identify in score scale types and modes
ii) Identify melodic patterning
iii) Identify motivic development and relationships (e.g., inversion, retrograde, sequence, imitation)
e) Rhythmic/metric organization:
i) Identification of meter type (e.g., duple, triple, quadruple) and beat type (e.g., simple, compound)
ii) Hear and identify rhythmic devices and procedures (e.g., augmentation, diminution, hemiola)
f) Texture: 
i) Hear and identify types (e.g., monophony, homophony, polyphony)
ii) Hear and identify types devices (e.g., textural inversion, imitation)
4) Aural Skills:
a)  Detect pitch and rhythm errors in written music from given aural excerpts. 
b)  Notate a melody from dictation, 6 to 8 bars, MAJOR key, mostly diatonic pitches, simple or compound time, treble or bass clef, 3- 4 playings.
c)  Notate a melody from dictation, 6 to 8 bars, MINOR key, chromatic alteration from harmonic/melodic scales, simple or compound time, treble or bass clef, 3-4 playings.
d)  Sight-sing a melody, 4 to 8 bars long, major or minor key, duple or triple meter, simple or compound time, treble or bass clef, using solfege, pitch names, numbers, or any comfortable vocal syllable(s).
e)  Hear the following non-harmonic tones: passing tone (accented and unaccented), neighboring tone, anticipation, suspension, retardation, appoggiatura, escape tone, changing tone (cambiata), and pedal tone.
f)  Notate the soprano and bass pitches and roman and Arabic numeral analysis of a harmonic dictation, in eighteenth-century chorale style. Features may include seventh chords, secondary dominants, major or minor key, 3- 4 playings.
g) Identify processes and materials in the context of music literature representing a  broad spectrum of genres, media, and styles:
i) Melodic organization (e.g., scale-degree function of specified tones, scale types, mode, melodic patterning, sequences, motivic
ii) Harmonic organization (e.g., chord function, inversion, quality) iii) Tonal organization (e.g., cadence types, key relationships) 
iv) Meter and rhythmic patterns
v)  Instrumentation (i.e., identification of timbre)
vi) Texture (e.g., number and position of voices, amount of independence, presence of imitation, density)
vii) Formal procedures (e.g., phrase structure; distinctions among literal repetition, varied repetition, and contrast; small forms)