Graduate/Transfer Music Theory Entrance Exam Primer:
Theory 1



Theory I Coverage

Theory I begins with a quick review of music fundamentals, a topic covered in the first four chapters of the textbook. After this thorough introduction to harmony, or the vertical aspect of music, attention is turned to the horizontal through the study of two-voice species counterpoint. This topic is discussed in chapter 5, and introduces the idea of writing multiple well-formed melodic lines that work in combination with one another. Species counterpoint also introduces the correct treatment of dissonance, a topic that is elaborated on in chapters 21 & 22.
Once the student has been grounded in the rules of harmony and voice-leading, the rules for writing for four-voices (soprano, alto, tenor, and bass) is introduced in chapter 6. Composition in this new texture begins with a small harmonic vocabulary (I, V, V7 in chapter 7) that is gradually expanded (I6, V6 and viiº6 in chapter 8 and inversions of V7 in chapter 9).

Theory I Part-Writing

Below you will find a figured bass exercise to realize in a four-voice texture. When you are done with your realization, please provide a Roman Numeral analysis of your composition and identify cadences by location and type. Finally, embellish your chorale with a variety of non-harmonic tones, strictly following the definition of each (i.e. a passing note is a non-harmonic tone approached by step, either ascending or descending, and resolved by step in the same direction, while a neighbor note is a non-harmonic tone approached by step, either ascending or descending, and resolved by step in the opposite direction). Once you have completed your chorale, you can see one possible realization and check your harmonic analysis against the linked answer sheet. Please note that there are innumerable ways to realize the same figured bass, so your chord voicing and voice-leading will inevitably differ from the answer sheet. Just make sure you have followed all the rules of four-voice writing covered in chapter 6!

Figured Bass Exam

Theory I Analysis

Below you will find a four-voice chorale which you will analyze using Roman Numerals to indicate the chord function and figured bass to indicate the chord inversion. You will also circle all non-harmonic tones found within this excerpt and label them according to type (passing tone, neighbor tone, suspension, etc.). Please also identify cadences according to location and type (PAC=Perfect Authentic Cadence, IAC=Imperfect Authentic Cadence, HC=Half Cadence). Once you have completed your analysis, you can check your results against the linked answer sheet. Please note that on this analysis, as well as all others on this website, the small circles used to indicate the diminished triad or the fully-diminished seventh chord and the slashed circle used to indicate the half-diminished seventh chord are missing due to the limitations of the computer program.

Analysis Exam

Click Here for Part-Writing Realization and Analysis Answer Sheet

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