• Great Valley offers Music Theory and AP Music Theory.  Please see below for their syllabus. 

    Music Theory


    Teacher:      Ms. Fisher                                             

    Term:           2017-2018

    Time Frame: 3 days a cycle


    Course Description

                This is a beginning course for the students interested in the ability to understand and compose music. This course is designed to develop sight-singing, aural, compositional, and analytical skills necessary for a thorough understanding of music theory.  



    Course Objectives

    At the end of this course students will be able to identify:

    Ø All pitches of treble, bass, and tenor clefs

    Ø Keyboard identification, octave identification, accidentals

    Ø Meter, tie, dot

    Ø Time signatures (simple and compound), key signatures

    Ø Melodic and rhythm dictation

    Ø Enharmonics and intervals

    Ø Circle of fifths

    Ø Major and minor scales

    Ø Relative minor / Parallel minor

    Ø Triads (major, minor, diminished, augmented)

    Ø Chord analysis and progressions

    Ø Harmony

    Ø Musical terminology to discuss elements of form, expressivity and aesthetics in music

    Ø Figured bass and cadences


    Class Expectations

    1.     Students are expected to be prepared and arrive on time to class. Students should always bring the materials listed in the syllabus and their textbook to class.

    2.     Mutual respect will be displayed for your peers and teacher at all times.

    3.     Students should keep in contact with me about missed assignments for any reason. Communicate with me. If I don’t know what is going on I can’t help.

    4.     No food, drink, or gum allowed during class at any time.

    5.     Students will be expected to sing no matter what their major instrument is, this will include drills, exercises, short dictation, sight singing, and arpeggiation.

    6.     Theory is more than just textbook learning. Students will be expected to work outside of the classroom, especially on sight singing and sight rhythms. 

    7.     You are to complete every activity to the best of your ability and always ask for help before it is too late in the course. I am here to help in any way I can!




    Tonal Harmony – Kostka-Payne                         Replacement cost: $80.00




    Ø Binder (suggested)

    Ø Loose leaf paper




    Grading Policy

    Tests                                                  100 points

    Quizzes                                              50 points

    Class Assignments                             25 points

    Homework                                         25 points

    Composition Projects                         25 points


    All grading is subject to change to accommodate the test or assignment. For example a classroom assignment might be worth 22 points or 26 points depending on the amount of questions.



    Homework Policy

                All assignments must be handed in at the beginning of class. If you are absent, be sure to turn in your homework before homeroom the first day you are back in school. Late assignments will be accepted, but will deducted one letter grade each day it is late.



















    Student Agreement:


    I have read the syllabus for GVHS Music Theory class and fully understand the policies and agree to abide by the procedures stated.













    AP Music Theory


    Course Overview


    Primary Texts


    I carefully chose texts for this course so that the class will be able to cover all of the requirements of the AP Music Theory curriculum. The Tonal Harmony with an Introduction to Twentieth Century Music give me excellent materials to work with including a teachers guide, student workbook, and recorded musical examples of a great variety of choral and instrumental music. Each chapter of the book contains “checkpoints” for understanding, self-tests and a chapter summary. Sight-singing is part of every class, utilizing Melodia.


    Kostka, Stefan, and Dorothy Payne. 2004. Tonal Harmony with an Introduction to Twentieth-Century Music, 5th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.


    Cole, Samuel W. and Leo R. Lewis. 1909. Melodia A comprehensive Course in Sight Singing( Solfeggio) King of Prussia, PA: Theodore Presser.



    Course Outline


    The syllabus follows the sequence of the texts. Weekly written assignments are drawn for the text or are of my own design. Tests and quizzes are designed by me and closely follow the quizzes provided in the Instructor’s Manual for the text. The text includes many excellent written and recorded examples to accompany each chapter.


    Sight-Singing begins every class. Weekly dictation practice and written exercises that parallel the text are employed. Homework contains work in four-part writing, analysis and creative assignments. Melodic, rhythmic and harmonic dictation is employed throughout the course.


    Our school utilizes a “modified block schedule”. On “block” days the periods are 85 minutes in length, which enables the class to participate in two to three in depth activities per class. “Block” days also have a built in remediation period which the students can take advantage of for extra help.


    AP Music Theory is the culminating course in a three-tiered group of courses. Students must have a final grade of “B” in both Music Theory I and Music Theory II classes to enroll in the AP Music Theory Class. September is devoted to a review of materials and concepts from these classes. Music Theory I and II are semester classes. AP Music Theory meets daily for the entire academic year.




    The year begins with a review. I use the AP Music Theory Course Description as a guide throughout the year so I can be sure to cover all of the concepts covered on the AP Music Theory Exam


    Sight Singing:

    Book I, First Series – One-part diatonic exercises in step-wise melody; G and F clefs; all major keys to B and D flat. All representations of notes and rests of whole-beat length and multiples thereof; Elementary presentation of the divided beat.



    Chapter 1: Review of fundamentals


                Keyboard and Octave registers

                Notation on the staff

                Ledger Lines

                Grand Staff

                Whole Steps and Half Steps

                Treble and Bass Clefs

                Major Scales and Key Signatures

                Minor Scales (Natural, Harmonic and Melodic)

                Minor Key Signatures

                Relative and Parallel Minor

                Scales Degree Names

                Intervals (Perfect, Major, Minor, Augmented and Diminished)

                Inversion of Intervals

                Consonant and Dissonant Intervals

                Introduction to Solfegio


    Chapter 2: Elements of Rhythm


                Durational Symbols


                Division of the Beat

                Simple Meter Signatures

                Compound Meter Signatures


    Chapter 3: Introduction to Triads and Seventh Chords



                Seventh Chords

                Inversions of Chords

                Inversion Symbols and Figured Bass

                Lead Sheet Symbols

                Recognizing Chords in Various Textures




    This month continues with review and the introduction of new material. Special attention is given to the correct voicing of triads and seventh chords as well as smooth voice leading to different triads and seventh chords.


    Sight Singing:

    Book I, Second Series - Two-part exercises in step-wise melody; Keys to B and D flat inclusive; all representation of notes in First Series with greater variety and length of rests; the divided beat in fuller presentation.


    Chapter 4: Diatonic Chords in Major and Minor Keys


                Diatonic Triads in Major

                Diatonic Triads in Minor

                Diatonic Seventh Chords in Major

                Diatonic Seventh Chords in Minor


    Chapter 5: Principles of Voice Leading


                Melodic Line

                Notating Chords

                Voicing a Single Triad

                Parallel Motion


    Chapter 6: Root Position Writing


                Root Position Writing with Repeated Roots

                Root Position Writing with Roots a 4th (5th) Apart

                Root Position Writing with Roots a 3rd Apart

                Root Position Writing with Roots a 2nd Apart

                Three and Four Part Textures

                Instrumental Ranges and Transpositions




    This month is devoted to the conventional use of diatonic triads as employed during the common practice period. Students begin to have assignments to write original material. They also have assignments in the realization of figured bass and analysis using the traditional Roman Numerals.



    Sight Singing:

    Book I, Third Series – One-part exercises in step-wise melody in all keys; Graded presentation of all chromatic tones except flat 2 and flat 5; Development of the minor; The dotted note involving division of the beat; Triple and quadruple division of the beat.


    Chapter 7: Harmonic Progression


                Sequences and the Circle of Fifths

                Chord Classification System

                The I and V Chords

              The II Chord

                The VI Chord

                The III Chord

                The VII Chord

                The IV Chord

                Common Exceptions to the Chord Classification System

                Chord Progressions with Seventh Chords

                Harmonizing a Simple Melody


    Chapter 8: Triads in Inversion


                Bass Arpeggiation

                Substituted First Inversion Triads

                Parallel Sixth Chords

                Part Writing First Inversion Triads

                            Three and Four Part Textures

                Composing Soprano-Bass Counterpoint


    Chapter 9: Triads in Second Inversion


                Bass Arpeggiation and the Melodic Bass

                The Cadential Six-four

                The Passing Six-Four

                The Pedal Six-Four

                Part Writing for Second Inversion Triads




    Students are exposed to a variety of micro and macro forms. Assignments include composing original phrases and periods. Recorded examples, as well as examples played in class by me, are utilized to illustrate the different forms. The students are exposed to non-chord tones (non-harmonic tones). They learn to define, identify all of the standard non-chord tones. They also learn to embellish a simple melodic line.


    Sight Singing:

    Book II, Fourth Series – Two-part exercises in step-wise melody in all keys; Chromatic tones, modulatory and ornamental; Development of incidental and extended modulation; Syncopation; Double and triple division of the beat.



    Chapter 10: Cadences, Phrases and Periods


                Introduction to Musical Form


                Cadences and Harmonic Rhythm

                Motives and Phrases

                Period Forms


    Chapter 11: Non-Chord Tones 1


                Classification of Non-Chord Tones

                Passing Tones

                Neighboring Tones

                Suspensions and Retardations

                Figured Bass and Lead Sheet Symbols

                Embellishing a Simple Texture


    Chapter 12: Non-Chord Tones 2



                Escape Tones

                The Neighboring Group


                Pedal Point

                Special Problems in the Analysis of Non-Chord Tones




    The students are exposed to the concept of modulation and the traditional uses of the 7th chords.


    Sight Singing:

    Book II, Fifth Series – One-part exercises; Systematic treatment of intervals, beginning with the larger; Skips to and from chromatic tones having obvious key relationship; Augmented and diminished intervals.


    Chapter 13: The V7 Chord


                General Voice-Leading Considerations

                The V7 in Root Position

                The V7 in Three Parts

                Other Resolutions of the V7 (deceptive cadences)

                The Inverted V7 Chord

                            The 6/5 Chord

                            The 4/3 Chord

                            The 4/2 Chord

                The Approach to the 7th


    Chapter 14: The II7 and VII7 Chords


                The II7

                The VII7 Chord in Major

                The VII7 Chord in Minor


    Chapter 15: Other Diatonic Seventh Chords


                The IV7 Chord

                The VI7 Chord

                The I7 Chord

                The III7 Chord

                Seventh Chords and the Circle of Fifths Progression




    Students are exposed to sophisticated uses of chromatic harmony in modulation.


    Sight Singing:

    Book III, Sixth Series – Two-part exercises embodying all intervals treated in Fifth Series; more elaborate development of rhythmic difficulty, especially in syncopation; Lengthy exercises from German, French and English sources; Canon and fugue.


    Chromaticism 1                 

    Chapter 16: Secondary Functions 1


                Chromaticism and Altered Chords

                Secondary Functions

                Secondary Dominant Chords

                Spelling Secondary Dominants

                Recognizing Secondary Dominants

                Secondary Dominants in Context


    Chapter 17: Secondary Functions 2


                Secondary Leading-Tone Chords

                Spelling Secondary Leading-Tone Chords

                Recognizing Secondary Leading-Tone Chords

                Secondary Leading-Tone Chords in Context

                Sequences Involving Secondary Functions

                Deceptive Resolutions of Secondary Functions


    Chapter 18: Modulations Using Diatonic Common Chords


                Modulations and Change of Key

                Modulations and Tonicization

                Key Relationships

                Common-Chord Modulations

                Analyzing Common-Chord Modulations




    Students utilize advanced modulation techniques; further study of musical form.


    Sight Singing:

    Book III, Seventh Series – On-part exercises; Systematic treatment of skips to, from and between chromatic tones; Introductory study of passages whose chromatics “deny” the key signature; Advanced exercises from a variety of foreign sources.


    Chapter 19: Other Modulatory Techniques   


                Altered Chords as Common Chords

                Sequential Modulation

                Modulation by Common Tone

                Monophonic Modulation       

                Direct Modulation


    Chapter 20: Binary and Ternary Forms


                Formal Terminology

                Binary Forms

                Ternary Forms

                Rounded Binary Forms

                12-Bar Blues

                Other Formal Designs


    Chromaticism 2

    Chapter 21: Mode Mixture


                Borrowed Chords in Minor

                The Use of the Flat 6th in Major

                Other Borrowed Chords in Major

                Modulations Involving Mode Mixture




    Students are introduced to the Neapolitan Sixth chord and the Augmented Sixth Chords.


    Sight Singing:

    Book III, Eighth Series – Two-part exercises involving all the difficulties treated in the Seventh Series and fully reviewing the rhythmical problems treated earlier; Maximum difficulties of modulation; Special studies in the development of independence of parts.


    Chapter 22: The Neapolitan Chord


                Conventional Use of the Neapolitan

                Other Uses of the Neapolitan


    Chapter 23: Augmented Sixth Chords


                The Interval of the Augmented Sixth

                The Italian Augmented Sixth Chord

                The French Augmented Sixth Chord

                The German Augmented Sixth Chord

                Other Uses of Conventional Augmented Sixth Chords




    Students are exposed to a variety of twentieth-century compositional techniques. Creative assignments allow them to experiment with techniques such as Serial, Pandiatonic and expanded tertian harmonies.


    Sight Singing:

    Book IV, Ninth Series – One-part exercises; Typical passages from early and more recent composers of difficulty ranging from medium to difficult; Full exposition of chromatics which “deny” the key signature.


                Introduction to Twentieth- Century Techniques including non-traditional scales,    chords, and compositional techniques by analysis of examples form literature.

                Careers in Music

                Review and Preparation for the AP Exam

                AP Exam













    Students use their accumulated knowledge and experience to create final project compositions which are performed by students in class


    Sight Singing:

    Book IV, Tenth Series – Two-part exercises represent excerpts from early and recent composers embodying maximum difficulties in pitch and rhythm as well as the utmost independence of parts.


                Composing and arranging individual student compositions with performances in    class