Course Syllabus

MUSC 2A Music Theory 1

Fall 2019


Tuesday/Thursday 8:00am–9:15am; Forsyth Hall, room 115


Dr. Mark Anderman

Office: Forsyth Hall, room 141

Office Hours: M 11:00am–1:00pm; T W Th 11:00am–12:00pm

(707) 527–4330 (voice mail)


Catalog Description

An introductory course in music theory designed for Music majors. Topics include music notation and terminology, basic properties of sound, rhythm and meter, scales and modes, key signatures and the Circle of Fifths, intervals, transposition, chords and chord progressions, figured bass, Roman numeral analysis, phrases and cadences, and basic song structure.

(Grade only) Transfer Credit: CSU/UC.

Recommended Preparation

Concurrent enrollment in MUSC 3A; AND MUSCP 11A or another appropriate piano course; AND eligibility for ENGL 100/ENGL 102/ESL 100. The Music Department strongly recommends that students NOT enroll concurrently in MUSC 1 and MUSC 2A/3A.

Textbooks:     Benward & Saker, Music in Theory and Practice, Vol. 1 (9th or 8th ed.)

Materials:      Music staff paper


Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Explain and utilize basic musical terminology.
  2. Identify and utilize the fundamental elements of music including rhythm, scales, modes, intervals, chords, and chord progressions.
  3. Demonstrate complete fluency with key signatures and the Circle of Fifths.
  4. Perform elementary harmonic, melodic, and structural analysis of music in various styles.
  5. Explain how the fundamental elements of music are used in a wide variety of folk, "art", and popular music from diverse cultures.


Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Explain the four basic properties of sound: pitch, duration, intensity (dynamics), and timbre (overtones).
  2. Read and write musical notation on all clefs (G, F, and C).
  3. Identify, interpret, and utilize all meter signatures in simple, compound, and irregular meters.
  4. Identify, construct, and utilize key signatures and the Circle of Fifths.
  5. Identify and construct all diatonic major and minor scales and the church modes.
  6. Identify and construct synthetic and non-diatonic scales including whole-tone, pentatonic, diminished/octatonic, chromatic, and non-Western scales.
  7. Identify and construct all simple and compound intervals.
  8. Transpose music from one key to another.
  9. Identify and construct triad chords (major, minor, augmented, and diminished) in root position and inversion in all keys.
  10. Identify and construct dominant seventh chords in all keys.
  11. Analyze and construct chord progressions in Roman numerals and figured bass in all keys.
  12. Analyze a diverse body of songs and compositions in a variety of styles with attention to key, phrase and cadence structure, rhythmic motives, and melodic design.


Attendance and Grading Policy

Individual assignments and tests will be graded on a points system. See Guidelines for Assignment Submission for details on submitting homework.

  1. Points will be deducted for each unexcused absence or tardy.
  2. If you are tardy, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure you are not marked absent.
  3. If you wish to drop this course, be aware that it is YOUR responsibility to do so officially on the campus website or at the Registration Office.
  4. Tests must be taken at the time they are given. Missed tests can only be made up with an excused absence (doctor’s note, etc.) and must be made up immediately. Missed tests with an unexcused absence can only be taken for half credit. If you miss the final exam, you will receive a grade of "F" in the course.

The final course grade will fall approximately along these guidelines:

Homework assignments  30%
Unit exams 20%
Final exam     40%
Attendance / participation 10%
Total       100%


Incomplete Grades

In some extreme circumstances, arrangements can be made for an incomplete (I) grade. Incomplete grades are appropriate when a student has been making satisfactory progress in a course, but is unable to finish for reasons beyond his or her control. Consult the District Grading Policy for more information:


Credit by Examination

Some students enter college with extensive prior music knowledge (such as from high school AP Music courses or private lessons). Students who believe that they can "test out" of MUSC 2A and/or MUSC 3A should consult the SRJC guidelines on Credit by Examination:

The exams are held on the first Friday of each semester. You will need to sign up with me during the first week of school and enroll in the Credit by Exam section(s) before taking the test.


Guidelines for Assignment Submission

  1. Turn in assignments on time. Late work will ONLY be accepted (for partial credit) if it is turned in within one week of the due date.
  2. Please make sure your name (first and last) is printed legibly on each page.
  3. Please use pencil and write legibly. Confusing notation will be graded down.
  4. Please turn in all pages of an assignment together. (For example, do not turn in only one page of a three-page assignment.)
  5. When submitting workbook assignments, please remove the perforated edges from the pages. All non-workbook assignments are to be done on clean staff paper.
  6. Assignments may be redone for additional credit provided they are turned in before the next test. Redone assignments should be submitted on a separate piece of staff paper (or clean photocopy of the original assignment) with “redo” clearly marked at the top and stapled to the original graded paper.
  7. Due to the high volume of work that needs to be processed each week, I typically do not accept “extra credit” assignments.
  8. Assignments can be left in my mailbox in the Music Office if you are unable to turn them in during class.


Classroom Decorum

Students are expected to show respect and courtesy for the instructor and fellow students at all times.

  1. Please come to class on time—excessive tardiness is disruptive.
  2. Please do not bring food to class. Keep drinks covered and away from pianos or other instruments.
  3. Please set cell phones to silent mode.


Emergency Evacuation Plan

In the event of an emergency during class that requires evacuation of the building, please leave the classroom immediately, but calmly. Our class will meet on the Forsyth north lawn to ensure that everyone got out of the building safely and to receive further instructions. If you are a student with a disability who may need assistance in an evacuation, please see me during my office hours as soon as possible so that we can discuss an evacuation plan.


Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

If you need disability-related accommodations for this course, such as a note taker, test-taking services, special furniture, use of service animal, etc., please provide the Authorization for Academic Accommodations (AAA letter) from the Disability Resources Department (DRD) to me as soon as possible. You may also speak with me privately during office hours about your accommodations. If you have not received authorization from DRD, it is recommended that you contact them directly. (DRD is located in Analy Village on the Santa Rosa campus, and in Petaluma Village on the Petaluma Campus.)


Course Summary:

Date Details