Course Syllabus

MUSC 2A Music Theory 1
Fall 2021

Tuesday/Thursday 8:00–9:15AM

Dr. Mark Anderman

Phone: (707) 527-4330
Office Hours: Online by appointment

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. The Music Department strongly recommends that students NOT enroll concurrently in MUSC 1 and MUSC 2A/3A.

Textbook:     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

Students 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 partial credit. If you miss the final exam, you will receive a grade of "F" in the course.

The final course grade will be based on 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 their 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 can sit for Credit by Examination.

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

Dropping a Course or Withdrawing from the College

It is the student’s responsibility to withdraw from a course if they are unable to complete it. Students who drop a course or withdraw from the college before the semester deadline will receive a “W” on their transcripts for each course dropped. The drop deadlines are published each semester in the college catalog and on the college website. Failure to drop by this date may result in a failing grade. 

Academic Integrity

Academic dishonesty is regarded as any act of deception, benign or malicious in nature, in the completion of any academic exercise. Examples of academic dishonesty include cheating, plagiarism, impersonation, misrepresentation of idea or fact for the purpose of defrauding, use of unauthorized aids or devices, falsifying attendance records, violation of testing protocol, inappropriate course assignment collaboration, and any other acts that are prohibited by the instructor of record. Students suspected of academic dishonesty may be referred to the Dean and/or Vice President of Student Services for disciplinary action.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

If you need disability-related accommodations for this course, 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.

Physical and Mental Health

Should you experience any physical or mental health issues, know that all of us at SRJC care about your well-being. SRJC’s Student Health Services (SHS) has nurse practitioners and mental health therapists available. Confidential sessions are provided via secure Zoom or in-person. Sessions are free for SRJC students taking credit or non-credit classes, and some providers can converse with you in Spanish if you prefer. SHS also has on-site covid rapid testing and vaccinations available also at no cost. To start the process for any type of physical or mental health appointment contact Student Health at 707 527-4445 or email More information about all that Student Health Services provides is available at


Course Summary:

Date Details Due