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Theory Of Tonal Music I

Course Code: MUSC 1110
Faculty: Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Department: Music
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture, Tutorial
Typically Offered: Fall
course overview

First part of a comprehensive study of the melodic, harmonic, rhythmic and formal elements of tonal music. Review of rudiments; study of basic diatonic chord progressions; analysis of small structural units.

Course Content

  1. The Properties of Sound:  Introduction to acoustics and the harmonic series.
  2. Melody: interval types, scale types; melodic structure.
  3. Rhythm: metre types; rhythmic patterns in metrical contexts; syncopation and hemiola.
  4. Harmony: types of triads and inversions; types of seventh chords; figured bass symbols; types of non-harmonic tones; cadence types; tonic, dominant, and predominant chord functions.
  5. Form: phrase types and period structures; motivic construction; graphic representation of formal analysis.

Methods of Instruction

Concepts and techniques are presented and discussed in the lectures; applications will be worked on in the tutorials; assignments are undertaken by the students.

Means of Assessment

Assignments (minimum of 5) 15%
Class Participation (including homework checks) 10%
Quizzes (minimum of 7) 20%
Speed Drills (minimum of 10) 10%
Tests (minimum of 2) 20%
Final Examination 25%

Learning Outcomes

The student will learn basic theoretical principles of tonal music. The student will be expected to:

  1. provide an analysis of representative musical excerpts;
  2. demonstrate notational fluency with basic tonal and rhythmic materials;
  3. provide written answers to questions on any aspect of the course content.

course prerequisites

Meets or exceeds minimum thresholds on the Music Theory Assessment.



curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.