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Music Theory Placement Test: Graduate

  • The Music Theory Placement Test is required of all incoming graduate music majors.
  • Graduate students who do not pass the Theory Placement Test will be required to take Theory Review.
  • Students are required to take the test before their last chance to enroll in Theory Review (MT 499), should they need it. Note that MT 499’s credits are not applicable toward any degree.
  • The test may be taken only once; it may not be retaken.

Test Sections

Theory I

  • Triads, seventh chords, inversions, figured bass, chordal doubling and spacing, part-writing and voice-leading, harmonic analysis, basic first and second species counterpoint, tonic and dominant functions.

Theory II

  • Pre-dominant function, non-chord tones, 6/4 chords, the “phrase model,” submediant and mediant chords, phrase-level form (period, sentence, etc.), secondary dominants.

Theory III

  • Tonicization and modulation, binary (two-reprise) and variation forms, modal mixture (“borrowing”), neapolitan 6 chords, augmented sixth chords, ternary, rondo, and sonata forms.

Theory IV

  • Modes and other pitch collections/scales, “conservative” post-tonal harmony (pandiatonicism, extended tertian chords, etc.), basic free atonal set theory analysis, basic serial atonal analysis, identification of representative works of major composers/stylistic trends.

Recommended Textbooks

Tonality Review

  • Laitz, The Complete Musician
    The textbook for BJU undergraduate theory, and the primary source on which all tonal topics for the test are based.
  • Piper/Clendinning, The Musician’s Guide to Theory and Analysis
    A similar textbook, with outstanding presentation and similar terms/concepts.
  • Gauldin, Harmonic Practice in Tonal Music
  • Kostka/Payne, Tonal Harmony

Post-tonality review

  • Roig-Francoli, Understanding Post-Tonal Music
    Outstanding text on post-tonal music.
  • Kostka, Materials and Techniques of 20th Century Music
    Excellent reference for basic terms and trends of post-tonal music. Not recommended for set theory, however.
  • Joseph Straus, Introduction to Post-Tonal Theory
    The first couple of chapters are an outstanding introduction to set theory.
  • Piper/Clendinning, Musician’s Guide
    The textbook also includes a unit on post-tonality, including quite possibly the very best (and easiest to understand) introduction to set theory currently available.

Recommended Review Sites