Music Theory and Ear Training Placement Exam  

A Placement Exam is available for all students who would like to place out of the Introduction to Music Theory (Core), first or second year Music Theory or Ear Training courses.  The exams are held once annually, the Monday before classes begin in Fall Quarter. The exam is available to students that are String Performance and Interdisciplinary Arts – Music Emphasis majors and music minors.   Students will be tested separately from aural skills as well as part-writing, harmonic and twentieth century analysis. 

In addition, students should know the following to prepare for the Placement Exam:

  • All major and minor scales
  • All intervals up to a 15th
  • Chord qualities: major, minor, diminished and augmented and their function
  • Dictation: melodic, rhythmic and harmonic
  • Twelve tone row: construct and dictate
  • Write standard tonal progressions in four part voice and keyboard
  • Know all phrase forms
  • Analyze a standard composition in a standard musical form

Preparation: Students will find it useful to review undergraduate theory as presented by Kostka-Payne in Tonal Harmony (Knopf) and the following book on Twentieth-century music: Stefan Kostka, Materials and Techniques of Twentieth Century Music (Prentice Hall).  Rhythm Exercises by William Starr and Sightsinging for Musicians by Ottman are good texts to use as preparation for the Ear Training portion. 

Depending on the outcome of the exam, students will either place out of all of the Music Theory/Ear Training courses, or be assigned to a particular course based on the professor’s recommendation.  Students who have taken Music Theory/Ear Training courses at another institution must take the exam before any transfer credit is accepted.  All decisions regarding the grading of the exam and the placement of the student in the course are final.

For any questions, please contact the Music Division at  




Kevin Maifeld
Acting Chair, Performing Arts and Arts Leadership
Director, Arts Leadership

Aly Bedford
Program Coordinator

Stefanie Fatooh
Director of Arts Programming