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Music Theory & Aural Skills for Incoming Undergraduates

All undergraduate music degrees require classes in Music Theory and Aural Skills. These courses are designed to increase your musical skills and knowledge about how music "works,” about how composers combine scales and chords to create music, and so much more! 

This page provides detailed information for students new to the School of Music.

After reading the detailed information below, if you have further questions, please contact:

          Dr. Cynthia I. Gonzales (“Dr. G”)

 


First-Semester Music Majors

All first-semester music majors take a Theory Entrance Exam to demonstrate music literacy. Topics include:

  • Rhythm: complete measures with the correct rest
  • Time Signatures: determine the appropriate time signature for a given measure
  • Staff: notate pitches on the treble and bass clefs
  • Scales: notate major and minor scales
  • Key Signatures: notate and identifying key signatures
  • Intervals: identify and notate intervals above and below a given pitch
  • Triads: spell major and minor triads

1. Timeline:

For students entering in Fall semesters:

May 15: complete 1st attempt to pass the online Theory Entrance Exam

  • Students with a passing score of 75% and above may enroll in MU 1115 and MU 1315 and MUSP 1135 when registering for classes during Orientation
  • Students with scores less than 75% or with no test score enroll in MU 1112 when registering for classes during Orientation

July 25: complete 2nd attempt to pass the online Theory Entrance Exam            

  • Students who scored less than 75% or did not take the entrance exam before attending Orientation, may repeat the test by July 25
  • Students who earn a pass score of 75% and above may change their schedules to enroll in MU 1115 and MUS 1315 and MUSP 1135.

For students entering in Spring semesters, the two testing deadlines are January 1 and January 15.

2. To prepare for the Theory Entrance Exam, the website TXST New Music Majors has been created. Via email, you will receive an invitation to join the site soon after confirming that you will be attending TXST.  

3. You may also prepare to pass the Theory Entrance Exam by accessing various resources, such as: 

4. Download and print out Practice Exams and corresponding Answer Keys. In recent years, students have reported that working through these practice exams was crucial to passing the exam. (These exams pre-date online placement testing and may refer to a pencil-and-paper test administered the first day of classes. As of Fall 2019, all placement testing is online).

All undergraduate music degrees require classes in Music Theory and Aural Skills. These courses are designed to increase your musical skills and knowledge about how music "works,” about how composers combine scales and chords to create music, and so much more! 

This page provides detailed information for students new to the School of Music.

After reading the detailed information below, if you have further questions, please contact:

          Dr. Cynthia I. Gonzales (“Dr. G”)

 


First-Semester Music Majors

All first-semester music majors take a Theory Placement Exam to demonstrate music literacy. Topics include:

  • Rhythm: complete measures with the correct rest
  • Time Signatures: determine the appropriate time signature for a given measure
  • Staff: notate pitches on the treble and bass clefs
  • Scales: notate major and minor scales
  • Key Signatures: notate and identifying key signatures
  • Intervals: identify and notate intervals above and below a given pitch
  • Triads: spell major and minor triads

1. Timeline:

For students entering in Fall semesters:

May 15: complete 1st attempt to pass the online Theory Placement Exam

  • Students with a passing score of 75% and above may enroll in MU 1115 and MU 1315 and MUSP 1135 when registering for classes during Orientation
  • Students with scores less than 75% or with no test score enroll in MU 1112 when registering for classes during Orientation

July 25: complete 2nd attempt to pass the online Theory Placement Exam            

  • Students who scored less than 75% or did not take the placement exam before attending Orientation, may repeat the test by July 25
  • Students who earn a pass score of 75% and above may change their schedules to enroll in MU 1115 and MUS 1315 and MUSP 1135.

For students entering in Spring semesters, the two testing deadlines are January 1 and January 15.

2. To prepare for the Theory Placement Exam, the website TXST New Music Majors has been created. Via email, you will receive an invitation to join the site soon after confirming that you will be attending TXST.  

3. You may also prepare to pass the Theory Placement Exam by accessing various resources, such as: 

4. Download and print out Practice Exams and corresponding Answer Keys. In recent years, students have reported that working through these practice exams was crucial to passing the exam. (These exams pre-date online placement testing and may refer to a pencil-and-paper test administered the first day of classes. As of Fall 2019, all placement testing is online).

Practice Exam A

Practice Exam A Answer Key

Practice Exam B Practice Exam B Answer Key

 

5. Three online practice exams are available and may be repeated as many times as needed:

Short version (does not include triads): https://txstate.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_9uzk7dt34TLMRcW

Long version (does not include triads): https://txstate.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_dhGG0apDT3wTGxU

Triad only version: https://txstate.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_a5BN3Vo3Zk67606

These practice tests will give you a final score, but will not allow you to review your work after receiving your score. To take a practice test that allows you to review your work and correct answers, visit the site TXST New Music Majors described in #2 above.

 


Credit for AP Music Theory

Students who earn a score of 4 or 5 on the AP Exam receive credit for MU 1112, MU 1115, and MU 1315

Students who score a 3 on the AP Exam receive credit for MU 1112.

NOTE: All incoming music majors take the TXST Theory Placement Exam as described above, even those who earn a passing score on the AP exam. Having taken the AP exam does not exempt you from taking the placement exam. Historically, students who have completed an AP Music Theory class pass the TXST Theory Placement Exam.

For more information, visit the Testing Evaluation and Measurement Center.

 


Transfer Students

  1. Transfer students who have completed four semesters of Music Theory & Aural Skills at another institution:
    1. Your transcript will be evaluated by an advisor
    2. You will not be asked to re-take courses for which you already have credit
    3. Complete the Theory Proficiency Exam as soon as possible after arriving at TXST
  2. Transfer students who have completed fewer than four semesters of Music Theory & Aural Skills:
    1. Your transcript will be evaluated by an advisor
    2. You will not be asked to re-take courses for which you already have credit
    3. Enroll in the “next” course: if you already have credit for two semesters of Music Theory & Aural Skills, for example, then register for third-semester courses
  3. Transfer students who have no college-level credits in Music Theory & Aural Skills:
    1. Follow the instructions for First-Semester Music Majors
     

 

5. Three online practice exams are available and may be repeated as many times as needed:

Short version (does not include triads): https://txstate.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_9uzk7dt34TLMRcW

Long version (does not include triads): https://txstate.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_dhGG0apDT3wTGxU

Triad only version: https://txstate.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_a5BN3Vo3Zk67606

These practice tests will give you a final score, but will not allow you to review your work after receiving your score. To take a practice test that allows you to review your work and correct answers, visit the site TXST New Music Majors described in #2 above.

 


Credit for AP Music Theory

Students who earn a score of 4 or 5 on the AP Exam receive credit for MU 1112, MU 1115, and MU 1315

Students who score a 3 on the AP Exam receive credit for MU 1112.

NOTE: All incoming music majors take the TXST Theory Placement Exam as described above, even those who earn a passing score on the AP exam. Having taken the AP exam does not exempt you from taking the placement exam. Historically, students who have completed an AP Music Theory class pass the TXST Theory Placement Exam.

For more information, visit the Testing Evaluation and Measurement Center.

 


Transfer Students

  1. Transfer students who have completed four semesters of Music Theory & Aural Skills at another institution:
    1. Your transcript will be evaluated by an advisor
    2. You will not be asked to re-take courses for which you already have credit
    3. Complete the Theory Proficiency Exam as soon as possible after arriving at TXST
  2. Transfer students who have completed fewer than four semesters of Music Theory & Aural Skills:
    1. Your transcript will be evaluated by an advisor
    2. You will not be asked to re-take courses for which you already have credit
    3. Enroll in the “next” course: if you already have credit for two semesters of Music Theory & Aural Skills, for example, then register for third-semester courses
  3. Transfer students who have no college-level credits in Music Theory & Aural Skills:
    1. Follow the instructions for First-Semester Music Majors

 

CENTER FOR AURAL and THEORY TUTORING (The CATT Office)

Once enrolled at Texas State, music majors are encouraged to visit the free tutoring center — The Center for Aural and Theory Tutoring (CATT) — for assistance with homework or when preparing for tests. The CATT Office also has review materials for the Theory Proficiency Exam.

Located in room 129 of the Music Building, hours of operation are posted at the beginning of each semester. The CATT Office announcements are also posted on Facebook.