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Please read this syllabus carefully! If you have any questions, let me know.

MHIS 110


Intro to Music Theory Online

Dolmetsch - Music Theory Online

Music Dictionary
Virginia Tech Online Music Dictionary
Aural Skills software

Lentine's Music
Software vendor


Staff paper
Flash Player
Finale Notepad
Adobe Acrobat

MHIS 110 - Elements of Music
Summer, 2003

Download printable version of this syllabus in .pdf format.

INSTRUCTOR: Bruce Hammel, Rm. 105 Music Center. Email:

COURSE OBJECTIVES: To master fundamentals of music theory and aural skills! (Nothing to it!) The class is divided into two basic areas: written and aural. Although the written aspects of theory will take precedence at this point of your study, the aural skills component is extremely important. The following specific competencies will be mastered (or I'll be very disappointed....):

1. Identify at least 46 of 50 notes (25 in treble clef, 25 in bass clef - up to 2 leger lines above and below) within 2 minutes. Key signatures up to 3 sharps and 3 flats will be included.

2. Accurately play at least 18 of 20 notes on the piano. Notes will be presented in the grand staff and must be played in the correct octave.

3. Identify or define terms, symbols, and concepts with 90% accuracy. A list of required terms will be distributed in class.

4. Correctly notate at least 18 of 20 of the following: grand staff, time signatures, key signatures, flats, sharps, all rhythmic values (including notes, rests, and beams), ties.

5. Correctly indicate equivalent rhythmic durations, add bar lines to unmeasured examples, and provide correct note values to make incomplete measures complete.

6. Correctly notate 9 of 10 major and minor scales (all 3 forms) within 5 minutes.

7. Correctly identify 9 of 10 key signatures providing both major and relative minor within 3 minutes.

8. Identify the quantity and quality of 18 of 20 intervals up to an octave within 3 minutes.

9. Identify the quality of 18 of 20 major and minor triads within 3 minutes.

10. Identify simple and compound time signatures. Correctly beam duple and triple divisions in simple and compound time. Correctly provide most appropriate time signature for a given rhythmic example.

1. Rhythm: Perform and conduct rhythms in 2/4, 3/4, 4/4, and 6/8 time. Duple divisions in simple time and triple divisions in compound time. Download rhythm tests in .pdf format.

2. Sight-singing: Accurately sing major scale, melodic minor scale, and simple melodies using moveable do solfege. Download sight-singing examples in .pdf format.

3. Dictation: Identify major and minor scales, whole and half steps (M2/m2), and major/minor/diminished triads. Notate short rhythmic and melodic patterns.

4. Keyboard: Play scales at the piano. Hands apart, keys of C, G, D, A, and F major. Correct fingering required! Download fingerings in .pdf format.

TEXTS: There are no required texts for this course. All concepts will be covered thoroughly in class, so an ample quantity of staff paper is recommended. Most of the material (eventually all!) will be available online at This website is under construction and will be updated frequently during the class. If you find that you need additional textbook support, I will be glad to let students check out books as needed. I also recommend that all students purchase the computer software program MacGAMUT. You will be required to have this program for Aural Skills in the fall and there are a number of excellent sections of this program that would give you good practice for many of the skills to be mastered in this class. However, you will find excellent online resources that will accomplish similar things. Bottom line - have lots of staff paper!

EVALUATION: Grades will be determined as follows.



Total pts.

Each of ten theory competencies



Each of three sight-singing tests



Each of three rhythm reading tests



Each of three dictation tests



Each of three piano tests



TOTAL 1,300 pts.

The theory competencies are pass/fail. You will have three opportunities to pass each one. There will be 5 bonus points awarded for passing a competency on the first try! Other exams will be given once each and will receive a grade. Sound fun?

Grades will be determined as follows.

A = 1,200 or more pts.
B = 1,000 or more pts.
C = 900 or more pts.
D = 800 or more pts.
F = less than 800 pts.

DISCLOSURE OF DISABILITY: If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, if you have emergency medical information to share with me, or if you need special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please notify me at the beginning of the course by making an appointment with me.