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Music Theory & History

Music Theory at the Academy

Every student in the Academy takes a placement test at the beginning of the year to determine which level of music theory is most suited to their level of learning.

 

The Academy provides several levels of music theory and music history instruction, depending on each student's level of advancement. Students are placed in beginning, intermediate, advanced, accelerated, or private composition level classes. From time to time, if a student needs additional tutoring, special classes will be suggested. Students are encouraged to discuss level movement with their teacher if they feel a move is in order.

 

Curriculum:music theory/history/solfeggio/ear training, rhythmic and melodic dictation

 


Beginning Theory Class 


Students learn the basic elements of music theory, such as the different types of scales, intervals, key signatures, triads, solfeggio, sight reading, and simple musical forms. Aural as well as analytical skills are covered. Basic music history and a sampling of famous composers are also introduced. 


Intermediate Theory Class


Intermediate theory and music history cover the following areas: Identifying, writing, and hearing clefs, key signatures, the circle of fifths, scales, intervals, triads,
Roman numeral chord analysis, cadences, melodic dictation, and transposition. We also discuss a broad overview of music history, common musical terms, different ways to listen to music, and analysis of several common musical forms. We begin to learn how to recognize and define different musical styles. 


Advanced Level

We spent some time continuing our work with more complicated tertian chords and altered chords (identifying these as written down and listening to them). We also covered the ideas of modulation through pivot chords, close and remote keys and how chords can belong to several keys. We also talked about the baroque binary form plan and listened to a Gavotte by Bach with the aim of analyzing it by ear for phrase and key structure. 

 


 

Accelerated Level

 

Building on our work with species counterpoint and knowledge of harmony, we learned some of the basic ideas and terms of Schenkerian analysis including: types of chord prolongations and linear prolongations, basic underlying structures (fundamental structure (Ursatz), different layers of activity and how they interrelate). We did some four-voiced dictation with the aim of listening for prolonging chords. We looked at one graph, of Bach C major Prelude from WTC I, and tried to relate the skeletal structure found there to the notes of the piece.