Welcome to the Music Department at the
University of Saskatchewan!
In order to help you "hit the ground running" as a student in the required core music theory courses, we are providing the following list of skills recommended for incoming students before beginning Materials of Music I (course number: MUS 133). In order to determine your level of theory skill, you will be given a theory placement exam at your audition.
for Minimum Knowledge of Music Fundamentals
for Students Planning to Enroll in Materials of Music (Music 133)
Students who plan to be music majors (and others who choose to study music theory as an elective) will be best prepared for all of their classes and studio work if they are already fluent in basic music rudiments. Many high school musicians already have completed mastery of these rudiments. Others may not have had opportunity yet to focus on these skills.
The following skills are required for entry into Music 133:
[Note: some of the drills on these pages require the Flash Player and the QuickTime Player. Most computers come with these programs installed. If necessary, visit www.macromedia.com to download the Flash Player, and www.quicktime.com to download the QuickTime Player. These downloads are free.]
1) Fluent note reading in treble and bass clef
2) Basic time signatures and rhythmic notation
3) Basic keyboard skills
4) Write and identify half steps and whole steps
5) Write and identify all major key signatures
6) Write and identify all major scales
The following skills are recommended for entry into Music 133:
1) Write and identify all minor key signatures
2) Write and identify all minor scales
3) Write and identify intervals
4) Write and identify triads
on each topic in the lists above (or from the drop-down menus at the top
of the page) to go to information on each topic. Complete the drills as necessary.
At the end of each topic is a self-test. Before you enroll in Music 133,
you should be able to complete the self-tests below
quickly and accurately.
Concentrate on achieving fluency!
It is not enough to be able to "figure out" the answer; you should know it automatically. The more automatic these basics, the more you can focus on more musical issues of interpretation, analysis, and so on.
What if I don't
know any music theory yet?
That's OK! You have plenty of time to get prepared. Use the resources on these pages to get started. If you are unfamiliar with these terms and exercises, your music teacher or director at your school or church can give you some guidance in getting started. There are many basic music rudiments books for sale in music stores, but many are expensive or inappropriate. These exercises can usually be mastered without the purchase of special books. You will need to purchase some music staff paper. You may also find the web sites linked to this page helpful. The music department also has recommendations for both print and electronic resources available; we also offer an online music fundamentals course. Contact the music office for more information.
What if I don't pass the theory placement exam at my
If you prepare using these materials, it is unlikely that you will not pass the theory placement exam. But if you do not pass, depending on your score, you may be given two options:
1) You may take the online version of Music 101 (Music Fundamentals) during the summer before you enroll. A passing grade in Music 101 will allow you to register for Music 133.
2) Depending on demand, the department of music sometimes offers a theory "crash course" before classes begin for a fee. If you do not pass the placement exam, you will be notified if this option will be available.
if I already know basic music theory rudiments?
Great! You are well-prepared to succeed as a musician. If you have extensive training (e.g. upper-level conservatory, AP exam) you may elect to take a placement exam in the fall. If you complete the placement exam successfully, you may place out of portions or all of first year theory.
the University of Saskatchewan grant credit for the Advanced Placement
(AP) exam in music theory?
Please see the U of S advanced placement web site for more information.
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