Mr. Cowen

Course Overview:


AP Music Theory seeks to develop the student’s ability to visually and aurally deconstruct, analyze, and synthesize theoretical concepts that underlie musical works from a wide variety of styles and time periods.  While the primary focus of the course is on music of the Common Practice period (1650 – 1800), a variety of musical styles will be used as a means to demonstrate how such theoretical concepts connect such styles through a common language.  The AP Music Theory course intends to enrich the student’s understanding of fundamental concepts and compositional techniques through an integrated instructional approach including analysis (with and without aural stimulus), compositional activities, ear training fundamentals, sight singing, and the taking of melodic and harmonic dictation. 


Course Pre-Requisites:


Students should either complete an introductory course in music theory or complete a baseline entry examination to determine their readiness for the course.  Students are expected to be proficient in reading music notation in at least one clef, possess a basic understanding of common musical symbols, terms, key signatures, time signatures, and scales, and demonstrate pitch matching and other basic aural skills.


Course Objectives:


This course is designed to develop musical skills that will lead to a thorough

understanding of music composition and music theory, along with the ability to apply such knowledge to works being studied in the performing ensemble.  Students are prepared and expected to take the AP Music Theory Exam when they have completed the course.   


General Course Content:


1. Review of music fundamentals, including pitch, clefs, rhythm, terms and common symbols

2. Review/study of meter, scales, key signatures, key relationships, and the circle-of-fifths

3. Regular ear training practice, including rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic dictation

4. Regular sight-singing practice (using numbers for pitches)

5. The study of intervals, triads, and inversions

6. The study of modes and some twentieth-century scales, chordal structures, and compositional techniques

7. The study and realization of figured bass

8. The study of two-part counterpoint

9. The study of four-part harmony

10.  The study of root movements in tonal music

11.  The study of chord inversion techniques and their harmonic and melodic function

12.  The study of seventh chords

13.  The study of secondary dominant chords and functions

14.  The introduction of modulation between closely related keys

15. The study of small and large scale musical form

16. The study of common compositional techniques