[SMU Dept. of Music Theory and
        Comp.]

Southern Methodist University

Division of Music

 

music theory PLACEMENT Test FOR

INCOMING Undergraduate STUDENTS


All entering undergraduate students, including transfer students, are required to take placement tests in music theory and musicianship skills. The test is given once before classes begin; the date and time will be announced in the published orientation schedule for the Division of Music. The test consists of two levels as outlined below. Level 1 includes proficiencies expected of all entering music students. Level 2 is used for possible advanced placement in music theory and musicianship courses. In order to emphasize the development of fluency and mastery of fundamentals, time limits are provided for some of the listed proficiencies.

Click here for a guide to preparing for the test.

 

LEVEL 1

A: WRITTEN THEORY PROFICIENCIES

1.     Identify and write notes in treble and bass clef up to three ledger lines (1 note every 3 seconds).

2.     Write the key signatures for all major and minor keys on bass and treble clef (1 key signature every 12 seconds).

3.     Write major and all forms of minor scales using accidentals (1 scale every 30 seconds).

4.     Identify and write major and minor seconds above and below given notes (1 interval every 10 seconds).

5.     Distinguish between simple and compound meters and classify meters as duple, triple, or quadruple (1 meter identification every 10 seconds).

6.     Add eighths or sixteenths (with correct beaming) to complete an incomplete measure according to a given time signature (within 45 seconds).

7.     Add barlines and beaming as needed to make a given series of rhythmic durations (like eighth, quarter, eighth, etc.) fit into a given time signature (3 measures within 1 minute and 15 seconds).

 

B: LISTENING PROFICIENCIES

1.   Identify whether a chord is major or minor.

2.   Identify whether a scale is major or minor.

3.   Identify whether a short melody is in the major or minor mode.

4.   Identify from among four possibilities the correct notation of a short rhythm.

5.   Identify from among four possibilities the correct notation of a short melody.


LEVEL 2

A: WRITTEN THEORY PROFICIENCIES

1.     Identify and write notes in treble, bass, alto, and tenor clefs (1 note every 3 seconds).

2.     Identify and write all intervals above and below given notes (1 interval every 10 seconds).

3.     Classify an interval as consonant or dissonant.

4.     Identify and write all types of triads and seventh chords (1 chord every 10 seconds).

5.     Transpose a given melody by a specified interval (3 measures within 2 minutes).

6.     Identify melodic motives and basic phrase combinations (repeated phrases, varied phrases, simple period).

7.     Analyze chords using roman numerals and figures (inversion symbols).

8.     Identify cadence types (authentic, half, plagal, deceptive) in short musical excerpts.

 

B: LISTENING PROFICIENCIES

1.   Identify and notate in treble and bass clefs all simple intervals.

2.   Identify all root-position triad types.

3.   Notate a short diatonic melody

4.   Notate bass/soprano lines and chord symbols of a short diatonic harmonic progression using tonic, dominant, supertonic, and subdominant chords.

 

C: SINGING PROFICIENCIES

  1.   Sing any interval up or down from a given note.

  2.   Sing in arpeggiated form all root-position triad types.

  3.   Sing major and all forms of minor scales.

  4.   Sight-sing a melody that includes leaps in the tonic and/or dominant triad.

  5.   Sing or clap a compound meter rhythmic example.

 

D: KEYBOARD PROFICIENCIES

  1.   Play any written note in treble and bass clefs

  2.   Play major and minor scales in one octave starting on any note.

  3.   Play all simple intervals above or below any note.

  4.   Play all triad types in root position, one hand, using any note as root.

  5.   Play and transpose a short melody, one hand.