Course Description

Enrolling in music
theory this Fall?

Music theory placement and prerequisites

Pen by four staves of music titled Soprano, Alto, Tenor, and Bass.

For a quick guide on registering for these courses, please see this “How to” document created by the undergraduate advising office.

Music 2A / 6A / 16A (Keyboard Competence, Theory, Musicianship)

MUS 2A, 6A, and 16A are designed to be taken concurrently. This sequence of courses makes up the first-year theory requirements for music majors, and begins once a year in the Fall Quarter.  

There is some flexibility in the time frame in which you take these courses. Exceptions can be made for students who want to take MUS 6A without the co-requisites. Music majors may take MUS 2A and MUS 16A without MUS 6A, with permission of the instructor.

Music 6A (CRN 41639)

Elementary Theory
Music 6A is designed to be taken concurrently with Music 2A and 16A.

All new/incoming students should take the Music 6 placement test on Tuesday, September 20, starting at 2:00 pm. The test will take place in room 115 of the Music Building. A sample placement test is available if you’d like to see what kind of material will be the test. For additional questions regarding Music 6, please contact Sam Nichols.

Music 16A (CRN 41654)

Elementary Musicianship
Music 16A is designed to be taken concurrently with Music 6A and 2A.

Students who are accepted in 6A should also enroll in 16A. A basic assessment of musicianship skills will given during the first week of Music 16A. Students who have prior experience with ear training and sight singing may schedule an individual exam with Sam Nichols to place out of 16A. This test includes melodic dictation as well as an individual sightsinging audit using solfège. Please contact Sam Nichols with questions about Music 16A.

Music 2A (CRN 41630 or 41631)

Keyboard Competence
Music 2A is designed to be taken concurrently with Music 6A and 16A. 

If you wish to test out of Music 2A, the exam to do so takes about 5–10 minutes and will be given on a drop-in basis via Zoom. Please contact Sam Nichols ( to set up a Zoom appointment to go over the test and/or to take the test.

You will be asked to play chord progressions of I-V-I and I-IV-V-I in major and minor keys, up to 4 sharps and 4 flats, following the patterns on the Music 2A progressions sheet (check it out on the right of this page). 

Topics in each level of Music 2 

Music 2A: I-V-I and I-IV-V-I in major and minor keys, up to 4 sharps and 4 flats, following the patterns on the progression sheet—note that each progression has three versions, beginning with either the root, the 3rd, or the 5th of the chord in the uppermost part (in the right hand).

Music 2B: I-ii6-V-I, I-IV-ii6-V-I, I-IV-I6/4-V-I, I-ii6-I6/4-V-I, in major and minor keys, up to 4 sharps and 4 flats, following patterns noted above; common chord modulations using Roman numerals as a guide; score reading of music in multiple parts and clefs, such as string quartets.

Music 2C: Further chord progressions including N6, Fr6 and Gr6 chords; figured bass realization at sight.

Detailed syllabi and chord progression sheets for each level may be found in key information to the right.

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