MUS1001 : Essentials of Music Theory

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


This module is designed for students new to music theory. The module will enable them to recognise, notate and compose features of music essential to common practice tonality. By the close of the module the student should have achieved a level of attainment equivalent to ABRSM Grade 5 Theory.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module begins with an exploration of written musical materials both by hand and by digital notation software, moving onto nomenclature and terminology, clefs and pitches, key signatures, primary and secondary triads, modulations and key triangles, transposition, time signatures and metric rhythms, four voice (SATB) harmony, Roman numerals and figured bass, and three chord cadences.

Alongside these weekly lectures, there will be also be weekly workshops where students will learn and practice aural skills through embodied learning strategies. The themes of these workshops will begin with intervals, and move onto rhythm, melody, bass, harmony and the short score.

Finally, students will also undertake an E-Learning journey, using the software Musition (with a specifically created online curriculum authored by the module leader) in support of the weekly lectures to enable the students to practice and embed their skills outside of the immediate learning environment, and to monitor their own learning gain through weekly and incremental formative assessments.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture121:0012:00Music Theory and Literacy Lectures
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops121:0012:00Aural Training workshops
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study152:0052:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time122:0024:00E-learning tasks and formative assessments
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

To bring a student up to a level of conversational music theory and literacy and to be able to pass a Grade 5 ABRSM Music Theory paper the lectures, workshops, and on-line delivery of materials targets the students’ different modes of ‘learning and performing’ (following the Eduardo Briceño pedagogical model) inside and outside of the classroom. The curriculum is devised to enable the student at the close of the twelve weeks to be able to communicate, construct and create musical materials with their peers in a professional and/or undergraduate academic environment.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Aural Examination601A20This will be a 1 hour aural transcription test that will assess the intended skill outcomes 8-20.Room needs AV equipment&solid desks
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Case study1A80This will be a take away paper that will assess the intended knowledge outcomes 1-5, and the intended skill outcomes 1 -7.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Computer assessment1AThese will be weekly assessments undertaken on the software package Musition.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The students are being tested on their abilities to write music (by hand and by software), talk about music using the correct terminology, listen and comprehend musical materials, and then close the circle by writing and writing-about the materials to which they have just listened. The rationale is to enable the student to engage with music theory and literacy to a standard that then enables them to work with other literate musicians.

Reading Lists