IMPORTANT: Two dates/times are offered to avoid rehearsal/performance conflicts. Do not choose a date that directly conflicts with dress rehearsal, departmental, etc.
The College of Music Theory Proficiency Exam is administered at the end of each long semester (Fall and Spring), usually the week before juries. All undergraduate music majors are required to pass this exam, including transfer students. It covers essential concepts of tonal theory; students must be enrolled in or have previously passed Theory III/Aural Skills III (MUTH 2400/2410).
The exam has two components: (1) part-writing and analysis and (2) aural skills dictation. (NOTE: Starting Fall 2013, the TPE will no longer be offered at the end of Summer Session II.)
Students are required to pass the TPE before registering for the Senior Recital Capstone. See your music advisor to determine if a Senior Recital Capstone is required for your degree.
Frequently Asked Questions:
When is the Exam?
The next exam dates will be announced on this page (above, in red).
How do Students Sign-up for the Exam?
There is NO SIGN-UP. Just show up. (Note: you may attempt the exam only once per semester.) Space is limited, however, so show up early to make sure you can claim a seat.
What about Transfer Students?
All transfer students must take and pass the TPE in order to graduate. Even if transfer students have already completed theory/aural skills at a previous college, they still are required to take the TPE.
What if I only need to take one part of the exam?
Show up only for the part you need to take. The part-writing exam lasts 40 minutes. After a five-minute break, the aural skills portion begins and lasts approximately 30 minutes.
What Can Students Expect on the Exam?
I. Part-writing and analysis.
Students will be expected to provide a harmonic analysis using roman numerals for a musical excerpt set in a standard, four-part (SATB) texture. The example modulates. A separate section features a figured bass with a bass and soprano line to which students will provide inner-voices in order to complete a harmonization. Types of harmonies include diatonic triads and seventh chords, as well as secondary functions and other standard chromatic harmony, including modal mixture, the Neapolitan chord, and augmented sixth chords.
Sample: Complete in four parts and provide a harmonic analysis using roman numerals (note: the TPE will feature a progression that modulates).
Suggested Texts: Kostka & Payne, Tonal Harmony; Steven Laitz, The Complete Musician; Clendinning & Marvin, The Musician’s Guide to Theory and Analysis; Aldwell & Schachter, Harmony and Voice Leading
One rhythmic dictation. Four hearings. Note heads to a melody are provided on a rhythm-less / bar-less score. Students must add bar lines and provide stems, beams, dots, and ties to the note heads in order to complete the melody as performed.
Sample: This is similar to what you will see:
As performed, you will supply the bar lines and attach beams, dots and ties to all the note heads to look like the following:
One melodic dictation (non-modulating). Five hearings. The example includes syncopation and chromaticism.
One harmonic dictation. Six hearings. A non-modulating progression in major or minor, featuring diatonic and chromatic harmony.
Sample harmonic dictation: Given only the first chord, notate the remaining outer voices (soprano and bass only) and provide a harmonic analysis using roman numerals and inversion symbols where appropriate.
Who can I contact if I have more questions?
Email the theory area coordinator: Dr. Justin Lavacek.