MUSSUPST 1110 - Foundations of Music Theory

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2015

This course aims to develop a fluent understanding of the theoretical and historical conventions of standard musical discourse as required for western music in the 18th and 19th centuries. A range of theoretical concepts will be investigated through the study of selected musical scores. Students will be expected to listen to works and analyse written scores. Topics to be explored include: Revision of the basics of tonality. Introduction to melodic writing and contrapuntal techniques. Development of skills and understanding in diatonic harmony, including part writing, voice leading, chord functions, modulations, secondary functions and harmonic analysis.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code MUSSUPST 1110
    Course Foundations of Music Theory
    Coordinating Unit Elder Conservatorium of Music
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Assumed Knowledge SACE Stage 2 Musicianship or equivalent
    Assessment 2 x Assignments 35%, 2 x Tests 35%, Exam 30%
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Jennifer Rosevear

    Lectures are taken by:
    Dr Jennifer Rosevear -
    John Polglase -

    Tutorials are taken by:
    Dr Anne Cawrse -
    John Polglase -
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    At the successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
    1 Demonstrate fluency in the use of theoretical terminology and musical notation in western music.
    2 Develop skills and fluency in working with the theoretical conventions of tonal music through the study of tonality, diatonic harmony, melodic elements, voice-leading and aspects of form.
    3 Demonstrate skills in harmonic analysis through the study of scores of the set works.
    4  Demonstrate a functional understanding of musical techniques.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1, 2, 3
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 3
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 2, 3, 4
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    There is no set textbook for this course.
    Online Learning
    The myuni site for this course will contain Lecture notes, along with additional resources and handouts. 

    The Elder Music Library’s Music Resources Guide contains quick links to key music databases for scholarly research and online listening. It also contains links to websites of publicly available online scores, collected editions, and professional associations. Here too you can find a regularly updated list of new books, scores, CDs and DVDs available in the Elder Music Library.

    Many musical scores can be accessed through the Petrucci Music Library - (can also be accessed via the ‘Web Resources’ tab of the Elder Music Resources Guide).

    You can listen to an extensive range of works either on or off-campus through the library's Naxos subscription. You can link to the Naxos catalogue from the Elder Music Library Resources Guide:  You will be prompted to enter your uni ID number and password to access the Naxos catalogue and there is a wealth of material available for listening (but not downloading) via the internet. You can search for recordings in many ways, such as by composer, performer or name of the work.

    Oxford Music Online is a portal that enables searching in Grove Music Online and other Oxford reference content in the one location. Students can access Oxford Music Online which houses Grove music online through the link on the Elder Music Library website at:  
    Grove music online [electronic resource] can also be located as a title search through the library catalogue.

    e-learning resources - Students are encouraged to make use of the excellent online resources available through the Conservatorium’s subscription to “e-learning resources”. In addition to comprehensive information that is clearly presented, there are numerous practice questions for aural and theoretical questions, as well as a wide range of other support information.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Lectures will explore a range of theoretical aspects related to Western art music. The theory lectures will incorporate an analytical approach to thematic, harmonic, stylistic and formal aspects of various works. Theoretical topics will be explored through discussion of key concepts and through analysis of a range of set works by various composers including Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Haydn, Mozart, Satie, Schumann, and Vivaldi,.

    Tutorials will be oriented towards application of the theoretical aspects of the course, and will enable students to gain first-hand experience of these aspects through problem-solving harmonization exercises and analysis of relevant repertoire.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.
    In addition to the 3 contact hours per week, it is anticipated that students would spend 6-9 hours per week in reviewing lecture notes, preparing for tutorials, listening to repertoire, preparing assignments, undertaking suggested readings, and practising theoretical skills.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Week 1 Keys and tonality; modes; minor scale types; intervals; triad types; non-harmonic notes
    Week 2 Major and minor key chord functions; Roman numerals; lead sheets & chord symbols; harmonic progressions (including circle progressions) and cadences; triad inversions & figures; 7th chord inversions
    Week 3 Dominant function; 7th chords and inversions; figures for 7th chord inversions; test review;
    Week 4 Test; Analytical guidelines & checklist; harmonic analysis;
    Week 5 Figured bass; Modulation
    Week 6 Using triads for SATB writing; chord voicing and voice leading principles; cadential and passing 6/4 chords; part writing and harmonisation (bass given); part writing and harmonisation (soprano given)
    Week 7 Introduction to secondary dominant function chords
    Week 8 Test review; test
    Week 9 Secondary dominant function chords (continued)

    Week 10 Melodic techniques and phrase structures; accompaniment patterns
    Week 11 Formal structures
    Week 12 Formal structures
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    All of the following assessment tasks are summative in nature. Formative tasks, in the form of tutorial or homework exercises will assist in the completion of the summative assessment tasks.
    Assessment Task Task type Weighting Course Learning Outcomes
    Theory Test 1 Summative  15% 1, 2
    Assignment 1 Summative  15% 2, 3
    Theory Test 2 Summative 20% 1, 2, 3
    Assignment 2 Summative  20% 4
    Theory Examination Summative  30% 1, 2, 3
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Attendance and participation expectations are as follows:

    Lectures: Although attendance at all lectures is expected, leave applications will not be required to be submitted to the lecturers due to logistical reasons. Students are advised that poor attendance at lectures may have a significant negative impact on their ability to complete assessment tasks.

    Tutorials: Any student who fails to satisfactorily attend their Tutorial may be ineligible for assessment in the other course components. Students will need to seek approval from their tutorial teacher for any absences as per the Conservatorium Participation & Attendance Guidelines (see )

    Penalties: Any unapproved absences from the Tutorial will incur a deduction of 5 marks per absence which will be applied to the final total mark for the course – ie. after all other assessments have been completed and calculated.
    Assessment Detail
    Theory Test 1 – covering the topics from Weeks 1 – 3
    Theory Test 2 – covering the topics up to and including Week 7
    Assignment 1 – exercises in harmonisation and analysis
    Assignment 2 – application of theoretical concepts
    Theory Examination –analysis of unseen work/s, analysis of set works, application and explanation of theory and harmonisation concepts.
    The two assignments for this course will require online submission through MyUni.

    Late assignment policy:
    Extensions are only granted when supporting documentation can be provided and then, and only then, by arrangement with the course lecturer prior to the due date and time. Extensions will not be granted under any other circumstance. Assessed work that is submitted late (after the due date and time) will not be examined for assessment or feedback. In the case of illness this will require a medical certificate, and in the case of personal (non-medical) circumstances you will need a letter of support from a University Student Counsellor. For further information please refer to the following website: 

    Students will receive feedback on their assessment tasks. Theory Test 1 may be taken again if students wish to improve their mark. The assignment will be returned within two weeks of the submission date. The marked examination will be returned after the examination period.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
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