Vocal Music Score

Sam Doyle

Music Theory

Advanced Placement Music Theory

Attended the first NC Governor's School in Choral Music in 1963.

A 1969 graduate of UNCG in Music Education - in Voice.

In addition to teaching at Weaver, was the head of the Choral Program at Page High School 1972-1998.

Twice named 'Teacher of the Year' for the Greensboro City Schools.

Twice Chair of the Choral Section of North Carolina Music Educators' Association.

Active adjudicator for NCMEA and Choral Clinician.

Advanced Placement Reader in Music Theory since 2006

In 1995, received the Lara Hoggard Award - presented by the North Carolina American Choral Directors' Association for "Distinguished Service in Choral Music in North Carolina."

Choirmaster at St. Francis Episcopal Church.




Subject Taught: Music Theory   Text Used: Tonal Harmony, 5th Edition – Kostka and Payne   NOTE: After the student and his parent(s) have read and signed this document, return one copy to the teacher, who will keep it on file.

Students will need: staff paper (10 staff, 8 1/2 by 11 page) and #2 pencils with erasers. Ink is not acceptable!

Teacher expectations of students:  Attend class regularly and participate. Do all assignments and turn them in on time. Above all, THINK! There will be group projects as well as individual presentations.

Student expectations: (What may students hope to gain from this course?) Students will explore the basics of music theory including analysis and composition of music; partwriting using figured bass and chord numerals; and ear training (dictation/singing). This course is the equivalent of College Freshman Theory.

Test Days:  at the discretion of the teacher - to be announced in advance.

Types of Tests/ Proper Written Instructions: Most tests will be written. Sample recognition and dictation require aural skills. Sight-singing is also required as 10% of the AP EXAM.

Frequency of Tests:  Vary each nine weeks - generally four or five the first nine weeks, with fewer as the year progresses. There will be visual and aural drill daily prior to all testing.

Return Time Required for Grading Tests or Other Materials:  Next day, unless there are extenuating circumstances.

Homework and Grading Procedure: Homework and class work are the same. Both are essential! There will be numerous writing assignments. Students are expected to attend one concert (college or professional) each 9 weeks and write a musical evaluation of the performance - due not more than 3 days after the concert. You will also make a formal presentation to the class of a selection which you perform, along with 5 written, analytical questions for the class to answer.

Honor's   Advanced Placement

30% Tests  45% Work   30%  Tests 40% Work 5% Evaluation 20% Exam 5% Evaluation 25% Exam

Class Participation:  Daily attendance and participation are crucial. If you are absent, be sure to bring a note to school. If you have a student activity, be sure to tell me the day before (bring a note from the teacher involved) so that your attendance is correct. Making up any missed work is still your responsibility. Read the attendance policy!!!

Study Time Needed by Students to Accomplish Assigned Tasks/Goals:   Approximately 15 minutes per night minimum. Some students may need more time to grasp the subject matter - especially early in the year.

Time available for Conferences/ Tutoring: during lunch – schedule this! ; Thursday after school; other times as needed - as for a time.

Procedure for Make-up Work/Tests: Generally 5 days, as allowed by the school system. Additionally, note that make-up time may be required for excessive absences and/or tardiness.  

_______________________   ____   Signature of the Parent Date


Weaver Academy

Advanced Placement Music Theory Course Outline

Sam Doyle, Instructor

Sight-singing and dictation - melodic and rhythmic - throughout semester

I Rhythm

  A. Meter Signature

  1. simple and compound 

  2. duple and triple

  3. arsis/anacrusis, thesis

II Scales

  A. Circle of Fifths

  B.  Major

  C. Minor

  1. relative

  2. parallel

  3. pure/natural

  4. harmonic

  5. melodic

  D. Chromatic

  E. Whole-tone

  F. Pentatonic

  G. Modes

  1. Ionian

  2. Dorian

  3. Phrygian

  4. Lydian

  5. Mixolydian

  6. Aeolian

  7. Locrian

III Intervals - visual & aural recognition

  A. Harmonic, Melodic

  B. Number & Color

  C. Compound

  D. Consonant, Dissonant

  E. Inversions

  F. Enharmonic

IV Overtone/harmonic series

V Triads - visual & aural recognition

  A. Color

  B. Inversions- root position

    1st and 2nd inversion

VI Melody - analysis and composition

  A. Harmonic Structure

  B. Motivic Treatment

  1. sequence

  2. inversion

  3. retrograde

  4. retrograde-inversion

  5. diminution

  6. augmentation

  7. imitation, real and free

  C. Phrase and Period

VII Rules for Partwriting -  including cadence types and modulation to closely related keys

VIII Realization of Parts- from figured- bass and/or Roman numerals

IX Chords of 6th (first inversion)

X Non-Harmonic Tones

  A. Passing Tone

  B. Suspensions (Retardation)

  C. Appoggiatura

  Rearticulated suspension

D. Upper/lower neighbors (Aux)

  E. Escape Tones-

  Echappeé, Cambiata

  F. Anticipation

  G. Pedal Point

XI 6/4 Chords (second inversion)

XII 7th Chords and inversions

XIII Harmonization of Melody

with appropriate bass line

XIV Sight-singing and dictation (melodic and harmonic) throughout semester. Extensive analysis of Chorales and fragments from larger works - harmonically as well as rhythmic & melodic interaction/treatment

End First Semester

XV Sight-singing throughout semester

  Major & minor - treble & bass

  Dictation - melodic and harmonic

XVI Secondary Dominant

Irregular Resolution

XVII Dominant 9th Chord

  A. Complete

  B. Incomplete

XVIII Fully Diminished 7th Chord vii7

XIX Augmented 6th Chords

  A. Italian

  B. German

  C. French

  D. Doubly Augmented

XX Neapolitan 6th Chord

XXI Fugue

  A. Subject/ counter-subject

  B. Exposition--Episode

  C. Procedure vs. form

D Analysis of examples from Well Tempered Clavier, Mozart, and Beethoven

E. Original Composition of fugue from your original melody

XXII Form--works

  A. Symphony

  B. Sonata

  C. Concerto

  D. Cantata

  E. Sonata Cycle

  1. sonata form

  2. binary-ternary

  3. theme & variations

  4. minuet/scherzo & trio

  5. rondo

  6. rondo-sonata

XXIII 20th Century - Brief overview of Structures and Procedures - analysis.

XXIV Vocabulary



Binary - rounded binary


Cadence - Cadential Extension


Conjunct - disjunct


Counter Melody

Diminished - half diminished

Extended version

Fragmentation (motive)


Internal expansion


Inversion, melodic inversion

Melodic fragment


Octave displacement





Retrograde - retrograde-inversion

Rhythmic transformation


Rounded binary

Sequence - Sequential repetition

Shortened version


Song Form AABA




Theme - thematic transformation







(from AP Central)

The Course Description includes specific areas of course content to be addressed by the AP Music Theory Exam. In order to experience success, students must develop skills in both the aural and written portions of the exam. They should master the following tasks (organized according to topics in the Course Description), individually and interactively:

I. Fundamental Terminology and II. Fundamental Notational Skills:

  1. Notate and identify pitch in four clefs: treble, bass, alto, and tenor.
  2. Notate, hear, and identify simple and compound meters.
  3. Notate and identify all major and minor key signatures.
  4. Notate, hear, and identify the following scales: chromatic, major, and the three forms of the minor.
  5. Name and recognize scale degree terms, e.g., tonic, supertonic, etc.
  6. Notate, hear, and transpose the following modes: Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, and Mixolydian (authentic forms only).
  7. Notate, hear, and identify whole tone and pentatonic scales.
  8. Notate, hear, and identify all major, minor, diminished, and augmented intervals inclusive of an octave.
  9. Notate, hear, and identify triads including inversions.
  10. Define and identify common tempo and expression markings.

III. Compositional Skills:

  1. 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.
  2. 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, nonharmonic tones, and secondary-dominant and dominant seventh chords.
  3. Realize a four-part chorale-style progression from Roman and Arabic numerals.

IV. Score Analysis:

  1. Notate, hear, and identify authentic, plagal, half, Phrygian half, and deceptive cadences in major and minor keys.
  2. Identify in score the following nonharmonic tones: passing tone (accented and unaccented), neighboring tone, anticipation, suspension, retardation, appoggiatura, escape tone, changing tone (cambiata), and pedal tone.
  3. Small-scale and large-scale harmonic procedures, including:
    1. identification of cadence types
    2. Roman-numeral and figured-bass analysis, including nonharmonic tones, seventh chords, and secondary-dominant chords
    3. identification of key centers and key relationships; recognition of modulation to closely related keys
  4. Melodic organization and developmental procedures:
    1. scale types; modes
    2. melodic patterning
    3. motivic development and relationships (e.g., inversion, retrograde, sequence, imitation)
  5. Rhythmic/metric organization:
    1. meter type (e.g., duple, triple, quadruple) and beat type (e.g., simple, compound)
    2. rhythmic devices and procedures (e.g., augmentation, diminution, hemiola)
  6. Texture:
    1. types (e.g., monophony, homophony, polyphony)
    2. devices (e.g., textural inversion, imitation)

NOTE: Scores for analysis may include two-stave piano scores, single-voice melodies, solo voice with piano accompaniment, and trio or quartet scores written at concert pitch, which may include an alto or tenor clef line.

V. Aural Skills:

  1. Detect pitch and rhythm errors in written music from given aural excerpts.
  2. Notate a melody from dictation, 6 to 8 bars, MAJOR key, mostly diatonic pitches, simple or compound time, treble or bass clef, 3 to 4 playings.
  3. 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 to 4 playings.
  4. 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).
  5. Hear the following nonharmonic tones: passing tone (accented and unaccented), neighboring tone, anticipation, suspension, retardation, appoggiatura, escape tone, changing tone (cambiata), and pedal tone.
  6. 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 to 4 playings.
  7. Identify processes and materials in the context of music literature representing a broad spectrum of genres, media, and styles:
    1. melodic organization (e.g., scale-degree function of specified tones, scale types, mode, melodic patterning, sequences, motivic development)
    2. harmonic organization (e.g., chord function, inversion, quality)
    3. tonal organization (e.g., cadence types, key relationships)
    4. meter and rhythmic patterns
    5. instrumentation (i.e., identification of timbre)
    6. texture (e.g., number and position of voices, amount of independence, presence of imitation, density)
    7. formal procedures (e.g., phrase structure; distinctions among literal repetition, varied repetition, and contrast; small forms)

NOTE: Most examples are drawn from the standard repertoire of Western art music. Each exam will also include some representation of jazz, popular, vernacular, or world music outside of the Western tradition.

Format for the Exam

The AP Music Theory Exam is almost two and a half hours long and consists of two sections. In Section I, students are given 80 minutes to answer approximately 75 multiple-choice questions, some of which are based on aural stimulus. In Section II, students answer seven written free-response questions in approximately one hour, then perform two sight-singing exercises in approximately eight minutes.

The multiple-choice questions that are based on aural stimulus test students' listening skills and knowledge about theory, largely in the context of examples from standard repertoire. Some aural stimulus questions might test students' skills in score analysis. The remaining multiple-choice questions generally emphasize score analysis, although musical terminology, notational skills, and basic compositional skills may be tested as well. The written free-response questions cover melodic dictation, harmonic dictation, part-writing from a figured bass, part-writing from Roman numerals, and composition of a bass line. Finally, in the sight-singing portion of the exam, students sing two brief, primarily diatonic melodies of about four to eight bars. For each melody, they have 75 seconds to warm up and practice, then 30 seconds to perform it.

% of Grade Number of Questions Minutes Allotted
Section I 45 approximately 75 80
Section II

Part A 45 7 60
Part B 10 2 8