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Course Descriptions

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. Read VCU Bulletin course description here.

Theory and Aural Skills I (4 credits) 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. The ear-training component 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. Read VCU Bulletin course description here.

Theory and Aurals Skills II (4 credits) 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. Ear-training activities continue to develop skills begun in the first semester with emphasis shifting more to sight-singing, melodic dictation, and harmonic dictation.