Course Description

Enrolling in music
theory Fall 2020?

Music theory placement and prerequisites

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

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

Music 2A, 6A, and 16A must be taken concurrently for a total of 7 units. This set of courses comprises first-year theory requirements for music majors and begins once a year, in the fall quarter.

Many lower division Music courses require concurrent enrollment each quarter. If you add these courses together to your course selection list in Schedule Builder you will not need to submit a prerequisite petition to enroll in the courses, because the system will recognize the courses are concurrent:

  • Fall Quarter: MUS 2A, MUS 6A, MUS 16A (The CRN for MUS 2A is 41692  or  41693)
  • If you only enroll in one course, such as MUS 6A, complete the required petition and state you plan to enroll in the concurrently required course of MUS 2A and MUS 16A

Music 6A (CRN 41702)

Elementary Theory
Music 6A must be taken concurrently with Music 2A and 16A.

Students who are enrolled in Music 6A have automatic access to the online music theory placement test: please check Music 6A’s Canvas course site.   All other new/incoming students who haven’t yet registered for Music 6A should contact Sam Nichols to gain access to the online placement test. Please click on the link to the sample placement test if you’d like to see what kind of material is on the test. 

Music 3A is recommended for students who do not pass the test and/or need additional work on music fundamentals. If you wish to test out of 6A you must first complete the online placement test. The instructor will grade the test, and if you score high enough you may then take the test that allows you to place out of Music 6A. Please note that testing out of 6A does not automatically place you out of the co-requisites Music 2A and 16A. The placement test for transfer students, which is given to all incoming transfer students, as well as to those students who are trying to place out of Music 6A, will be given at a time to be announced. Before taking the transfer test, please first take the Music 6A placement test. For additional questions regarding Music 6A, B, or C, please contact Sam Nichols.

Music 16A (CRN 41717  or  41718)

Elementary Musicianship
Music 16A must 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 Amelia Triest to place out of 16A. This test includes melodic dictation as well as an individual sightsinging audit using solfège. Please contact Amelia Triest with questions about Music 16A.

Music 2A (CRN 41692 or 41693)

Keyboard Competence

Music 2A must 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 Amelia Triest ( to set up a Zoom appointment to go over the test and/or to take the test! We will offer these appointments between now (August 24) all the way through the first week of classes.

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). 

Chord Progressions 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. Items in italics are not contained in the progression sheets and must be obtained from the instructor.


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