The entrance exam in theory for incoming freshmen consists of two parts: written theory and dictation.
The exam consists of three parts: written theory, dictation and sight singing.
The topics covered in the written theory section are:
The sight singing section consists of singing a tonal melody that contains some chromaticism.
The undergraduate harmony text used at H-SU is Tonal Harmony by Kostka-Payne. The undergraduate sight singing texts are Music for Sight Singing by Ottman and A New Approach to Sight Singing by Berkowitz, Fontrier, and Kraft.
Summary: You take the harmony test on Friday of 15th week from 8-9 a.m. The dictation test will be during finals week at the normally scheduled final time. The singing and keyboard tests will be scheduled during finals week.
30 minutes prior to the scheduled exam time the student will be given a set of 5 scores, 3 of which the student must discuss during the exam before the School of Music faculty. The student must analyze the scores without the aid of a recording and piano. The student must discuss elements of the following topics: (1) orchestration, (2) contrapuntal devices or voice leading, (3) form, (4) melodic line, (5) style and period, and (6) possible composer. A thorough analysis of topics 1-4 will inform answers to topics 5 and 6.
For each area please consider the following:
The rhythm dimension of these topics must also be discussed: differing rhythmic levels, pace of harmonic and textural change, metric modulation, and rhythmic variety and complexity.
An excellent source for the use of these topics in style periods is Music Theory Resource Book by Harold Owen. This book is used in the music theory review course. In fact, MUTC 4236, Music Theory Review, is an excellent course to take before the spring semester comprehensive exams. Please see the syllabus for more information about this course.
The exam has five sections: listening, term identification, analysis, theory pedagogy (dependent or the candidate's field of study), and a take home composition exercises. The test will be administered in the office of the Theory and Composition Department Head, currently, Cowboy Band Hall, Studio 4. You will have from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to complete the test. Upon completion of the test, you will turn in your work to the School of Music administrative assistant in the Hemphill Music Complex and pick up the take home composition exercises. You will be given two days to complete this portion of the test.
Listening: There will be 6 examples and you will have to identify the genre and likely compose. You will have to describe the piece and give reasons for your answer. The following is a list of composers from which the examples will be drawn:
Maxwell Davies, Peter
Vaughn Williams, Ralph
Del Tredici, David
Palestrina, Giovanni P.
The following is a list of terms for definition (you will be asked to define 5 and you will need to cite three pieces that exemplify these terms):
aleatoric, formalized, and indeterminate music
bitonality and polytonality
pattern music (minimalism)
combinatoriality (hexachord combination)
quartal and quintal harmony
electronic music and instruments (early and recent)
spatial and graphic noration
modes of limited transposition
improvisation in music
In the analysis section you will be given two to three compositions: tonal, non-tonal, or a combination of each. You will be asked to supply an analysis of the harmony, phrase structure, form, rhythm, and melody. You should also mention topics such as texture, character, and tempo, and any significant compositional procedures.
Even though the pedagogy section of the test will be focused on the candidate's area of study, general questions that concern teaching college theory will be included. These questions include: teaching philosophy, curriculum design, presentation of theory topics, textbooks, ear training, keyboard harmony, testing, and computer assisted instruction.
The take home composition exercises will include the orchestration of a piano piece and the composition of an original work. Directions for this work will be given on the test. They could include a: contrapuntal piece, vocal piece, an aleatoric piece, a piece on a pre-composed theme, or a piece for a specific group of instruments. Both exercises must be completed (having a double bar) in the allotted time. During the oral exam meeting, the candidate will discuss his or her answers with the committee in addition to discussing the candidate's thesis project.
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