Music Theory Diagnostic Exam

In this diagnostic exam, students are tested on their knowledge of music theory and aural skills. Below are suggestions and guidelines on what to prepare for.

Review Theory Concepts

  • Choral-style (SATB) part writing: adding upper voices to a given bass; realizing figured bass; adding a bass line and inner parts to a given melody
  • Roman-numeral analysis
  • The analysis of non-chord tones
  • Chromaticism: secondary (applied) dominants, Neapolitan and Augmented Sixth chords, fully diminished sevenths, modal mixture
  • Modulation: methods of moving to closely and more distantly related keys

Identify Musical Scores

  • Phrases: similar and contrasting
  • Cadences: perfect and imperfect authentic, half, deceptive, plagal
  • Periods: parallel and contrasting

Diagram Common Musical Forms

  • Binary: rounded and simple
  • Ternary
  • Rondo: five- and seven-part
  • Fugue: be able to identify subject and countersubject entries
  • Sonata form: the parts of an exposition and their usual harmonic relationships; the usual harmonic profile of developments and recapitulations


  • Be able to re-notate a passage notated for common transposing instruments (e.g., Horn in F, Clarinet in B-flat or A, Saxophone in B-flat or E-flat, etc.) at concert (sounding) pitch.