ContactHome | Site map | VCU | VCU Music | VCU Winds    
       Elements     Theory/Aural Skills I     Theory/Aural Skills II  

Freshman Music Theory Courses

Course descriptions

Sample Placement Tests

Music software

Need staff paper?

Elements of Music The purpose of this course is to prepare students for success in the theory/aural skills sequence. The primary objective is to equip students with fluency in the fundamentals of music notation, rhythm reading, and pitch discrimination.

Theory I focuses on a review of the fundamentals of musical notation, an introduction to two-voice counterpoint (1st species), and four-part chorale style writing using primary chords.

Theory II continues with four-part chorale style writing while expanding the harmonic vocabulary to include all diatonic chords in major and minor keys. Analysis, harmonization of melodies, realization of figured bass, and melodic writing are emphasized. The small forms, binary, rounded binary, and ternary, are introduced in this semester.

Aural Skills I  is an ear-training course that concentrates on two main areas: sight-singing/rhythm-reading and dictation. Students are required to read rhythms confidently while conducting in 2/4, 3/4, and 4/4 using divisions of the beat up to the 16th note/rest. Melodies for sight-singing are performed using moveable do solfege and are confined to stepwise motion only during the first semester. Dictation skills such as interval, scale, and chord recognition, are introduced in class and practiced in the computer lab.

Aural Skills II continues to develop skills begun in Aural Skills I with the emphasis shifting more to sight-singing, melodic dictation, and harmonic dictation.