MUST 111 Fall 14

Music Theory I Fall 2014

Announcements, links, and information. As I add new posts, the old posts will move down the page.

12/4/14 Information for the Final Exam

I hope our review day in class was helpful today. Thank you for your feedback on the questionnaire. I received good constructive feedback that will help me make my future classes better. I really appreciate your help. A few of you mentioned the preparation for the second test, and how the information on part writing I-V-I in multiple ways was introduced too close to the test. This is my mistake, and I apologize for that. I thought it would come more easily than it did. This is my fault. Some of you also asked for more clear expectations for the exam.

So, I have now had the time to plan what will be on the final exam. So, in the spirit of what you asked for, here is what will be on the test to better guide your preparation.

  • 2 Analyses: both in chorale style (like our part writing). Good practice will be p. 284 in your workbook. Or look up Bach’s Chorales and just start analyzing.
    • Short one (4 measures), things you need to be able to do:
      • Label key, two cadences (fermatas), roman numerals, leadsheet symbols, and nonchord tones.
    • Long one (8 measures), keys given to you (the key changes twice)
      • Label four cadences, roman numerals and leadsheet symbols
      • Also label all nonchord tones. The test will include a list of how many and what type are in the music. Your job is to find them, circle them, and label them.
  • Part Writing
    • Short ones: Given roman numerals for 3 4-chord progressions (i iv V i, I ii V I, and I ii6 V I). Label key, give leadsheet symbols, and part write.
    • Medium one: part write from figured bass. Label key, roman numerals, leadsheet symbols, the cadence. Include a voice exchange. Then add and label 3 NCTS: a PT, a NT, and a SUS.
    • Long one: Melody Harmonization. Using only I, IV, V in root position and two specificed first inversion places. Label key, roman numerals, leadsheet symbols, the cadence, and part write. Two voice exchanges as marked.

There will also be a bunch of bonus questions that go over other things we’ve covered on our tests and in class. (Do you know what quality a supertonic seventh chord is in a minor key?)

Let me know if you have any questions.

See you on Friday 12/12 at 11:30am!

11/20/14 NCT Homework and Review Day on Tuesday

I hope today’s class practicing analyzing and writing NCTs was helpful. I have given you three options of things to work on before our review day in class next Tuesday (11/25):

  1. Workbook pp. 65-66 Exercise 2: adding NCTs to a Bach chorale.
  2. On your own staff paper, part write short progressions and write one example of each NCT.
  3. Analyze “Satin Doll” and “My Favorite Things” for NCTs. I handed this sheet music out in class.

Come to class on Tuesday prepared to review whatever you want to look over and with any questions you want to ask. Our next class will be all review for Test No. 3 on the following class day, Tuesday 12/2.

Let me know if you have any questions.

See you on Tuesday!


11/18/14 Analysis Homework, NCTs Reading, and Test 3 Info


Tonight’s homework is to finish the analysis we began in class today.

  • Here’s the pdf of the analysis (pp. 11 and 12 of the pdf (Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 11 in B flat major, Op. 22)
    • Analyze the first page of the slow movement in E flat major with RN, LS, and NCTs.
    • Notice cadences and functions as well.
    • Focus on analyzing the NCTs on the second page. (It moves through B flat minor to B flat major.)
    • We will talk about it at the beginning of class next time.


  • Page on my website: Nonchord Tones (I gave this to you on paper in class).
  • if you want, Chapter 6 in the book: pp. 118-204.

Information for Test No. 3

Be prepared to do the following on our next test (Tuesday 12/2):

  • Short Part Writing (with key, RN, LS)

    • Voice Exchange (I-I6, etc.)
    • I-I6-IV
    • I-V6-I
    • I-IV-ii-V-I
    • I-ii6-V-I
  • Long Part Writing

    • Melody Harmonization with key, RN, LS
  • Analysis

    • Analyze a melody with given LS. Circle and label the NCTs.
    • Long Analysis (8mm.) with key, RN, LS, NCTs
      • will include questions for cadences and functions (What is this cadence? How is this chord functioning?)

Let me know if you have any questions.

See you on Thursday!


11/11/14 Melody Harmonization HW, Project, Checking PW

Here is a link to the homework assignment if you need a copy. Remember that the project is due on Tuesday and that you need to put it in Finale in the computer lab. Let me know if you have questions about this.

Checking Part Writing

Once you have part written something, you need a way to make sure you did everything correctly. Here are a few steps outlining one way of checking your work.

  • Take each chord at a time.
    • Check that you have the correct pitches (no wrong notes).
    • Check that you have the correct doubling (RP = root, bass; 1st Inv: any except LT)
    • Check that you do not have more than an octave between SA or AT.
    • In minor keys, check that you have the accidental for Ti.
    • Check that your roman numerals and leadsheet chord symbols are correct.
  • Now compare how each chord moves to the next. (Chord 1 to 2, Chord 2 to 3, etc.)

    • Find any where you followed the “3 Basic Movements.” Are all the melodic gestures right?

      • Ex. I-V would have B sing both roots, one common tone, and two steps.
    • Find any where you did not follow 3 basic movements for 2 RP chords, or it includes inversions.

      • Now compare each voice pairing: SA, ST, SB, AT, AB, TB.

        • Static and Oblique motion are good.
        • Contrary motion is good. You have to zoom in if both voices leap.
          • Check the harmonic interval between the two voices.
            • 2 5ths or 2 8ves in a row is a problem.
        • Parallel motion requires you to zoom in.
          • Check the harmonic interval between the two voices.
            • Parallel 3rds and 6ths are good.
            • Parallel 5ths, 8ves, and unisons are not.
        • Similar motion is good, but zoom in on any similar motion between SB.
          • If the soprano leaps into an octave or a fifth with the B on the second chord, this is bad (Direct 5th or Direct 8ve).
  • Keep in mind if you learn the specific processes well enough (3 Basic Movements, Dickert’s Rule 2, voice exchange), you can bypass these steps, because you know they are right. This long process is for when you are not sure or it is something we are missing specific directions for.
I hope this is helpful. Let me know if you have any questions.
See you on Thursday!

11/6/14 Project and Homework

I hope today’s classtime to work on the project was helpful. I can make some time in class next time to look over what you have if you were gone because of the band trip. Also, if I didn’t get the chance to look through your whole project yet, please show it to me next class. The project is due on 11/18.

I explained in class how to write the nonchord tones we need for the project. Remember:

  • To insert a PT: Look for a melodic third.
  • To insert a NT: Look for a common tone.
  • To insert an ANT: Look for a step.
  • If you need info on NCTs, go here.
The homework I assigned last week is due on Tuesday, 11/11. See below. Let me know if you have any questions.
See you on Tuesday!

10/30/14 Part Writing with Inversions and Readings

Please practice your diatonic triads and seventh chords like we did in class:

  1. Choose a major or minor key.
  2. Sing from the tonic triad to the diminished triad in order.
  3. Say note names as you arpeggiate.
  4. Say the chord name and quality (C minor, for example).
  5. Finally say the roman numeral for the key you are in (minor i, for example). Including the quality will help.
  6. This will help you do better with part writing, analysis, and chord recognition.

Readings and Homework

Remember we don’t have class on Tuesday because of Election Day. Make sure you vote! And that on Thursday you will spend all class working your project. I will be able to look over anything you have and answer any questions.

See you on Thursday!


10/28/14 Part Writing Predominants and Readings

Please make sure you practice your diatonic triads and seventh chords in various keys. For example, you should know off the top of your head what quality the subdominant triad in a minor key is. Let me know if you need help practicing this.

As I said in class, to round out the semester are covering Chapters 3-6: IV, First inversions, ii, melody harmonization, and NCTs. I’m going to jumble the order some in class, as these overlap a lot. For example, in class today we added IV and worked on melody harmonization and your homework has ii on it.



  • Here’s a link to the worksheet I made.
  • It is due on Thursday, October 30.
  • Directions:
    • Part Write the given progressions in the keys provided.
    • Add Leadsheet Chord Symbols above each chord.
    • Label the cadences you write in each one.
    • Use the bottom two staves to practice these in other keys.

Let me know if you have any questions or need individual help.

See you on Thursday!


10/21/14 Part Writing Videos and Test Next Class

Good luck on your preparation for Test No. 2 next class (10/23). Let me know if you have any questions. Here are the promised part writing videos. I have also added links to them on the respective pages in Flippin’ Theory!

See you on Thursday!

10/16/14 Please do the Part Writing



  1. Part write the following progressions in at least one major and one minor key (other than CM and Am). For these, make sure you follow the specific 3 movements we learned in class.
    • I-V, V-I, I-IV, IV-I, I-ii, I-vi, vi-IV, IV-V, iii-IV, ii-V, vi-ii, IV-ii
    • I-vi-IV-V-I (i-VI-iv-V-i) and I-iii-IV-V-I (i-III-iv-V-i)
  2. Workbook pp. 43 and 44. Follow the examples on pp. 132 and 136 in your textbook.
I cannot emphasize enough how important it is that you practice these progressions thoroughly before class on Tuesday. Remember that I am checking your progress on the project on Tuesday as well. The class will be a review day in preparation for Test No. 2 on Thursday (10/23).
See you on Tuesday!

10/14/14 Part Writing Beginnings

I hope today’s focus on the analysis was helpful in making sure you know how to find and label chords. I wanted to spend more time on part writing today, but ran out of time. I apologize for this. We will spend as much time as possible on part writing next class.

Readings for Part Writing (read before Thursday)

From my website
(I need to add some musical examples to these pages. Hopefully I’ll find some time today.)

From the textbook (if you like)

  • Chapter 1: pp. 106-124

Homework (due Thursday 10/14)

Part write lots of progressions using root position triads in major (I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi) and minor (i, III, iv, V, VI) using the three movements we discussed in class, and mentioned in the reading on Root Position Triads.

Here are some example 2-chord progressions for you to try (see Basics of Classical Harmonic Syntax for other possibilities):

  • Root Mvt by 3rd: I-vi, I-iii, vi-IV, IV-ii
  • Root Mvt by 5th: I-V, V-I, I-IV, IV-I, ii-V, vi-ii
  • Root Mvt by 2nd: I-ii, IV-V, i-VII, vi-V
Write them multiple times in each key you try. Write them in multiple keys, both major and minor. And remember that the notes in the S, A, and T are interchangeable. So, for example, try writing I-V with Sol in the S. If you have time, try 3-chord progressions. Our goal is fluency with the three basic ways to get from one root position chord to another. Practice these a lot.


Here is a link to the page about our project for this semester. Please start on this soon. I will look over your progress on Tuesday.

Test No. 2

Our second test is a week from Thursday (10/23). It is over chapters E, F, 1, and 2. Here’s a list of things you want to make sure you can do.

  • Modes and Counterpoint
  • Roman Numerals, Figured Bass, and Leadsheet Symbols
    • Given a bass line with figured bass, add leadsheet symbols and Roman numerals.
    • Given Roman numerals, write the correct triads and seventh chords.
    • Given music to analyze, add figured bass, leadsheet symbols, and Roman numerals.
    • Analyze a hymn (chorale texture music) using Roman numerals and leadsheet symbols.
  • Part Writing and Harmonic Syntax
    • Know the Basics of Classical Harmonic Syntax.
    • Part Write 2-, 3-, 4-, and 5-chord progressions using the correct root position guidelines.
    • Part Write I-V-I and i-V-i using various methods (discussed in Chapter 2).
    • Know these cadences: PAC, IAC, HC (discussed in Chapter 2).
We will work on these last two things on Thursday. Let me know if you have any questions.

See you on Thurday!

Lots of Stuff

I hope today’s class gave a you good feeling for how some composers come up with chord progressions. I have a bunch of information to give you, some of which I said in class.


Please read the following from my website by classtime Tuesday:


As I said in class, the homework due Tuesday (10/14) has two parts.

  1. Analyze the following Hymns from your Hymn Packet with Roman numerals and leadsheet symbols (make sure you label the key): 3, 4, 6, and 63 (first tune).
  2. Write 3 or 4 chord progressions using 5 or 6 chords each that you like the way they sound. Make sure one is in a minor key. Label them with Roman numerals and leadsheet symbols. Make sure you play them, so you know what they sound like.

Quiz on Tuesday (10/14)

I will give you a short hymn like the ones in the your packet. You will have 10 minutes to label the key and write in Roman numerals and leadsheet symbols.


Here is a link to the page about our project for this semester. I will go over how to do this project on Tuesday. I will hand this document out in class that day.

Let me know if you have any questions.

See you on Tuesday!


Modes and Counterpoint

Counterpoint is an important part of understanding how classical composers write their music, but will be a very small part of this semester of theory. My goal is to give you an understanding of how first species works, then you can write one good first species counterpoint on the second test (and maybe on the final). For modes, you will need to be able to write some of them out in their white-note versions, and maybe transposed as well.

Next class, we will continue writing, singing, and playing first species counterpoint in class. So before next class, please read the following.

There is no specific homework I will check due Tuesday, but please make sure you can write out the modes all in white notes and tell them apart, and then transpose them so you can write each mode starting on C and a few others (such as F, G, D, and B flat). You might also try writing a couple of first species counterpoint before class next time.
Let me know if you have any questions.
See you on Tuesday!

Roman Numerals Homework and Quiz Next Class

I hope today’s introduction to Roman numerals through “Silent Night” was helpful. Things to do before class next time:

  • Read either of the following:
    • From my website: Roman Numerals
    • From the textbook: pp. 68-69 “Roman Numerals”
  • Finish the homework we began in class today (due Thursday): pp. 23-25
    • Make sure you add Leadsheet Symbols above every chord.
  • Prepare for the open-note quiz: Similar to Exercise 6 on p. 25.
    • You will be given a six-note figured bass. You will have 10 minutes to add the correct leadsheet symbol above and roman numeral below.
Keep that hymn, and use it for chord labeling practice like we did in class. We’ll use it again when we return to analysis after couterpoint.
See you on Thursday!

Introducing Figured Bass and Leadsheet Symbols + Homework

Congratulations! Most everyone did well on our first test. If you did not do well, please come see me and I can help you.

Thank you for your thoughts on the questionnaire about the class so far. I’m glad the format is helping you all so far. Some of you asked for some small lectures in class, which I am happy to do.  I sort of did one of these today in class. What I’ll do is introduce the activity or homework, then those who want to listen to a short lecture can, and those who don’t can start the work. Please remind me if you want one of these and I forget. If you were absent today, and would like to fill out the questionnaire to give me your feedback, follow this link.

Reading for Next Time

Please read either of the following before class next time.

Homework Due Next Time

Please complete the worksheet we worked on in class today for homework due next class (9/30). Remember that you are

  • writing the correct notes implied by the figures above the bass line,
  • and then writing the correct leadsheet symbol above the the chord you’ve written.
Here are the materials from our look at “Comfort Ye” from Handel’s Messiah.
Let me know if you have any questions or need help. Next time in class we will learn Roman numerals and apply them to four-part hymns.
See you on Tuesday!

Preparing for Test No. 1

Our first test is over chapters A-D. To prepare, look over all the homework we’ve done so far. You will see things like this on the test.

Then make sure you can identify and write these things quickly (p. in workbook):

  1. Pitches with octave designations in treble and bass clefs. (also figure out notes in alto and tenor as needed) (p. 3)
  2. Intervals (pp. 3-5)
  3. Meters and correct rhythmic notation in various time signatures (pp. 7-9)
  4. Key Signatures in treble and bass clefs (pp. 11-12 )
  5. Major and Minor Scales (all three versions of minor) in any clef.  (p. 12) [No modes]
  6. Triads and Seventh Chords in root position and all inversions (pp. 17-20) Also be able to figure out chords built on specific scale degrees.
  7. Write a circle of fifths that includes all 30 keys.
Let me know if you have any questions, and remember that the Theory GA, Tobi, has his regular study session tonight at 8:30pm in CMUS 313.
See you on Tuesday!

Test No. 1 on Tuesday and Quiz on Thursday

Thank your for your work in class today. Everyone looks like their doing well with triads and seventh chords. Here’s the info we talked about in class.

  • Homework due Thursday: pp. 17-20 Exercises 1-9. Do not do Exercise 10.
  • We will go over the homework at the beginning of class next time.
  • Quiz on Triads like the interval one last week. Write 5 and Identify 5.
  • Review Day next class, make sure you know how do everything we’ve done on all the homeworks so far, and can write a circle of fifths with all 30 keys on it.
  • Test No. 1 on Tuesday (9/23) over Chapters A-D.
  • We will practice for the test as you need it in class individually and in groups next time.
Someone asked for an article I shared with my Theory II class I wrote on part writing with a colleague of mine this summer. Here is that link, if you would like to read it.
See you on Thursday!

Reading about Chords

I hope you enjoyed listening to songs and figuring out their harmonies today. Many of you already seem to know a lot about chords, which is great. For those of you who don’t yet, don’t worry. The reading and our practice in class next time will help you learn.

So before next class please read the following:

We will spend all next class doing the homework, where you will write and identify chords until you’re ears bleed (figuratively). Our focus on intervals for two classes and now chords for two classes is to really set a great foundation for us to begin analyzing and writing music in a couple of weeks.
Here are links to the songs we worked with today.

Make sure you are practicing writing scales, key signatures, intervals, and now chords to increase your speed. Let me know if you need help with ways to do this.

See you on Tuesday!

Reading and Intervals for HW in class

I hope today’s activity with Bach’s First Invention helped you with thinking about intervals. To prepare to do the homework in class on Tuesday (9/9), please read the following:

  • Intervals (also the packet I gave you in class today)
  • and/or pp. 4-14 in your textbook.
Remember what I said about identifying intervals: compare the interval with the notes you find in the key of the lower note (is G-D sharp in G major?). This will help you learn intervals in tonal contexts rather then the slow, laborious work of counting half steps.

Also, please make sure you are using your weekend to practice reading in treble and bass clefs, major and minor scales, and all key signatures. You need to be able to read and write these things fluently as soon as possible. The more work you put it in now, the better you will handle the rest of your life as a musician (as well as in theory classes).

If you need individual help, please contact me via email and we can set up a time for me to meet with you.

See you on Tuesday!

Scales and Keys HW and Quiz next Time

Thank you bringing instruments, singing scales, and transposing with me in class today. Please make sure you know all of your major and minor scales in all keys. This also applies to key signatures. Today’s work on transposition was an introduction. At some point, I’ll have you work on transposing melodies.

So before class on Thursday (9/4):

Read the Online Materials and/or the Book

On Flippin’ Theory:

In your textbook:
  • Chapter C: pp. 38-46 (ignore other modes and scales).

Complete the Homework and Prepare for the Quiz

  • Workbook pp. 11 and 12
  • Make sure you can write a circle of fifths (with both major and minor keys) from a blank circle.
  • The quiz at the beginning of class next time (9/4): 10 minutes
    • write 5 key signatures in both treble and bass clefs
    • write 5 scales (major and minors) in treble or bass clef.
After going over the homework and the quiz next time, we will spend the rest of class doing an activity with intervals and J.S. Bach’s Invention No. 1.
See you on Thursday!


Bring Instruments to Class on Tuesday

I forgot to mention one thing in my previous post below:
We will play scales and melodies in class on Tuesday. If you play a portable musical instrument, bring it with you. Pianists, you will use the piano in the room. Percussionists, please bring a small mallet instrument (Glockenspiel would be perfect). If you don’t have an instrument, you will sing along on note names.
See you on Tuesday!

A little of Chapter A and a lot of Chapter B, Homework, and Quiz

I hope you enjoyed today’s class on recognizing note names in standard clefs, recognizing meters aurally, and starting the homework on rhythm. You now have three things to do before class next time.

1. Read the Online Materials and/or the Book

Please go to my online music resource and read the following pages:

  • Introduction: this will tell you more about this website.
  • Note Names and Clefs: to review notes on all four clefs, learn about octave designations, and prepare for the quiz.
  • Meters: to get a clear description and listing of the various kinds of meters we talked about today.
  • Basic Notation: to learn some about notating music correctly, which is important for the homework.
You may also read the pertinent places in the textbook:
  • Chapter A: pp. 2-6 (not intervals, we will spend two days on intervals soon).
  • Chapter B

2. Complete the Homework

The homework due Tuesday (9/2) is workbook pages 7, 8, and 9. Remember that in theory class we are going to talk about 6/8 and the like as compound meters with dotted beats (6/8 as compound duple) rather than simple meters with more nondotted beats (6/8 as single sextuple?!). Both of these ways are valid, so please learn this other way that we heard and identified in mutliple pieces of music by ear today in class.

I will go over the homework at the beginning of class next time.

3. Prepare for the Note Name Quiz on Tuesday

I will give you a short quiz next class (9/2) on note names (not including octave designations) near the beginning of class. This timed quiz will verify your ability to name pitches in treble and bass clefs quickly. So make sure you practice whichever clef you are less fluent with. 20 notes (10 each clef) in 5 minutes.

Let me know if you have any questions or difficulties.

See you on Tuesday!