Music Theory
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Music Theory Curriculum - Elizabethtown Area School District

Elizabethtown Area School District

Music Theory

Course Number: 905

Length of Course: Semester

Grade Level: 9-12 Total Clock Hours: 120

Length of Period: 80 min Date Written: 5/13/11

Periods per Week/Cycle: 5

Written By: D. Baxter, S. Barraclough,

Credits (if app): 1

J. Hartman, G. Norris

Course Description:

This course is designed to give the student a complete understanding of the

language of music. The elements of melody, rhythm, and harmony will be

emphasized. Students will develop music listening and music composition skills.

Time will also be spent in analyzing musical ideas. The course culminates in a

final composition project utilizing all of the concepts covered in the course. The

course is geared towards those students who are interested in pursuing music at the

college level, but is open to anyone with a genuine love of music who wants to

learn more.


I. Overall Course/Grade Level Standards

Students will KNOW and be able TO DO the following as a result of taking this course.

A) Notate music correctly for all common instruments.

B) Aurally identify fundamental elements of music and recognize/notate specific

examples of each.

C) Compose short musical excerpts within specific guidelines.

D) Create specific musical examples that demonstrate course concepts.

E) Demonstrate musical concepts through simple performances.

F) Use music technology to create compositions and examples of course


G) Identify musical concepts from printed examples.

H) Analyze musical examples for particular characteristics.

I) Understand history and development of Western music notation.

J) Calculate specific musical values.

K) Define musical terms.


II. Content

Major Areas of Study

List all units of study below:

Unit Estimated Time Materials

1. Basic Notation 1 week Manuscript books, non traditional

sound sources, computer, mp3,

chalkboard, handouts

2. Rhythm and Meter 1 week Manuscript, handouts, computers –

teoria website

3. Texture and Sound Layers 1 week Manuscript, percussion instruments

4. Pitch Topics 1 week Manuscript, piano

5. Principles of Acoustics 1 week Manuscript, band and orchestra

instruments, lab, piano, handouts

6. Scales and Modes 1 week Manuscript, piano, mp3, lab – flash


7. Instrumental Writing 1 week Manuscript, lab, handouts

8. Intervals 1 week Manuscript, piano, handouts, lab -


9. Melodic Dictation 1 week Manuscript, piano

10. Triads, Chords, and 2 weeks Manuscript, piano, lab, handouts


11. Four-part Harmonization 4 weeks Manuscript, piano, mp3, lab

12. Final Composition 3 weeks Manuscript, piano, lab, Finale


III. Course Assessments

Check types of assessments to be used in the teaching of the course and provide examples of

each type.

Objective Tests/Quizzes

Constructed Responses






Performance Tasks

Response Journals


Computer Simulations

Research Papers

Class Participation

Note Taking

Daily Assignments

Writing Samples

Provide copies of common assessments that will be utilized for all students taking this course.

Overall course/grade level standards will be measured by a common course assessment. Unit

objectives will be measured on an ongoing basis as needed by the classroom teacher to assess

learning and plan for instruction. List common assessments below and recommend date/time

frame for administration (at least quarterly).

Name of Common Assessment

When given?

1. Ticket out the Door – 3 Day 3

2. Analysis quiz 2 Week 8

3. Beaming to the Beat Day 10

4. Recognizing Patterns Day 1, Day 88

5. Creating an Accompaniment Week 10



IV. Expected levels of achievement

Current grading scale

92-100 = 4.0

89-91 = 3.67

86-88 = 3.33

83-85 = 3.0

80-82 = 2.67

77-79 = 2.33

74-76 = 2.0

71-73 = 1.67

68-70 = 1.33

65-67 = 1.0

64 and below = 0

PA Proficiency Levels




Below Basic

The following scoring documents have been developed for this course:


Name of Unit: Basic Notation

Essential Question: How can we use writing to recreate a musical performance?

Unit Objectives/Key Question

1. Demonstrate understanding of notation issues by

writing a non-traditional source composition. What is


2. Define basic elements of Western music notation.

What is Western music notation?

2. Create a musical example of Western notation

using the music technology lab. How can Western

notation be used to express a musical idea?


Aligned to

Course Standard

Aligned to PA


I C 9.1.12.


E G 9.1.12.A

E C, F 9.1.12.B, J


Name of Unit: Rhythm and Meter

Essential Question: How is music organized in time?

Unit Objectives/Key Question

1. Rewrite a random series of rhythmic values into an

assigned meter using ties. How can complicated

rhythms be represented simply?

2. Create accurate examples of various simple and

compound meters. How are rhythms grouped?

3. Perform simple rhythmic examples alone, in pairs,

or in small groups. What is the notation of rhythms?

4. Notate simple rhythmic examples that are given

aurally. Can you see what you hear?

5. Calculate values of rhythm symbols using various

units of beat. How can the same rhythm be written


6. Evaluate written examples of simple and

compound meter for accuracy. Is the rhythm right?


Aligned to

Course Standard

Aligned to PA


I D, F 9.1.12.


E B 9.1.12.A

E B 9.1.12.A

E B 9.1.12.A

I J 9.1.12.A

E H 9.1.12.A


Name of Unit: Texture and Sound Layers

Essential Question: How can a score show more than just the notes an instrument


Unit Objectives/Key Question

1. Notate a page in score format for a percussion

ensemble. How can multiple parts be displayed at the

same time?

2. Demonstrate proper rhythmic notation and

alignment of parts in a percussion ensemble

composition. How does a score show texture?


Aligned to

Course Standard

Aligned to PA


I D, F 9.1.12.


E C 9.1.12.B


Name of Unit: Pitch Topics

Essential Question: What is the importance of a uniform method of music


Unit Objectives/Key Question

1. Notate pitches on any given clef from octave

identification symbols. What are some other ways

pitches can be represented?

2. Identify pitches by letter name in the treble, alto,

tenor, and bass clefs. How are pitches represented in

western notation?

3. Explain the origin and significance of each clef and

the relationship among all four clefs. What are the

different ways of showing the same pitch within

Western notation?

4. Precisely identify notated pitches using octave

identification. What are some other ways pitches can

be represented?


Aligned to

Course Standard

Aligned to PA


E D, J 9.1.12.


E G 9.1.12.B

C I 9.1.12.B


I G 9.1.12.B, C


Name of Unit: Principles of Acoustics

Essential Question: How is science and math important in music?

Unit Objectives/Key Question

1. Notate the first 12 pitches of the harmonic series

using both the grand staff and a keyboard diagram.

What are the intervals and pitches of open-pipe


2. Define terms associated with the science of

acoustics. Can you speak the lingo?

3. Identify relative sound characteristics of a printed

wave form. What are the parts of a standing wave?

4. Calculate frequencies in relation to an assigned

pitch using octave ratios.


Aligned to

Course Standard

Aligned to PA


I D 9.1.12.C

E K 9.1.12.C

E G 9.1.12.C

I J 9.1.12.C


Name of Unit: Intervals

Essential Question: How is the relationship between pitches measured?

Unit Objectives/Key Question

1. Label notated intervals from all four clefs. How do

we show distance between pitches in music?

2. Demonstrate understanding of concepts of

consonances and dissonances. Why do some notes

sound good together and some don’t?

3. Aurally identify all 12 common intervals. What are

the 12 common intervals?

4. Create assigned intervals by adding a note above or

a note below using all 4 clefs. How do we create

harmonic intervals?

5. Compose a two-part canon which deliberately

utilizes consonant and/or dissonant intervals. How do

intervals relate to the appreciation of a piece of



Aligned to

Course Standard

Aligned to PA


E G 9.1.12.A

E H 9.1.12.C

E B 9.1.12.A

E D 9.1.12.A

I C, F 9.1.12.G


Name of Unit: Scales and Modes

Essential Question: How can mood in music be shown through modes?

Unit Objectives/Key Question

1. Create major and minor scales on assigned starting

pitches. How are scales formed?

2. Compose an 8-measure melody using a scale

device of the student’s choosing. What is the mood

and mode of the piece?

3. Identify major and minor scales, modes, and 20 th

century scale forms by sight. Which mode is it and

how is it used?


Aligned to

Course Standard

Aligned to PA


E D 9.1.12.A, B

I C, F 9.1.12.B

E G 9.1.12.A


Name of Unit: Instrumental Writing

Essential Question: How is music notated for instruments playing in different


Unit Objectives/Key Question

1. Write for all common instruments, properly

utilizing range, clef, and interval of transposition.

How is music notated for instruments playing in

different keys?

Aligned to Aligned to PA

Priority Course Standard Standard

E A, F 9.1.12.B


Name of Unit: Melodic Dictation

Essential Question: How do you write the music you hear?

Unit Objectives/Key Question

1. Notate simple diatonic melodic examples which

are given aurally. What is melodic dictation?

Aligned to Aligned to PA

Priority Course Standard Standard

E B 9.1.12.B


Name of Unit: Final Composition

Essential Question: How can all the elements of Music Theory come together in

the creation of a piece of music?

Unit Objectives/Key Question

1. Demonstrate comprehensive course mastery by

composing a two-minute work for four different

instruments. How can you employ the concepts of

Music Theory in the creation of music?

2. Evaluate and analyze the compositions of class

members using objective criteria. What elements can

you find in this work?


Aligned to

Course Standard

Aligned to PA


E A, C, F 9.1.12.A, B

I H 9.1.12.F, L, A


Name of Unit: Triads, Chords, Cadences

Essential Question: How do pitches come together to create a feeling of movement

and ending in music?

Unit Objectives/Key Question

1. Create root position triads and inversions from bass

notes provided. What are triads and inversions?

2. Aurally identify triads and cadences triads and

cadences by type. Can you hear the cadence?

3. Identify written triads by type and inversion. Can

you identify the triads?

4. Label cadences by type and with chord symbols.

Can you identify the cadences?


Aligned to

Course Standard

Aligned to PA


E D 9.1.12.B

I B 9.1.12.B

E A 9.1.12.B, C

E B 9.1.12.B, C


Name of Unit: Four-part Harmonization

Essential Question: How is chorale form used to demonstrate the concepts and

applications of Music Theory?

Unit Objectives/Key Question

1. Notate a bass line from figured bass. What do the

little numbers under the bass line mean?

2. Write correctly in open and closed structure. What

is the difference between open and closed structure?

3. Harmonize a soprano melody with figured bass by

adding bass, alto, and tenor parts. Can you read the

figured bass?

4. Correctly utilize and notate mixed structure chords.

What does a mixed structure chord look like?

5. Use proper voice-leading technique and harmonic

logic in free harmonization. What does proper voiceleading

technique look like?

6. Incorporate rule exceptions in writing authentic

cadences using dominant 7 th chords. When is it OK to

break the law?

7. Analyze a four-part example using figured bass

symbols. How do you notate figured bass?

8. Demonstrate understanding of dominant 7 th chords

and inversions. What is a dominant 7 th chord?


Aligned to

Course Standard

Aligned to PA


I D 9.1.12.A, B

C D 9.1.12.B, C

E D 9.1.12.B

I D 9.1.12.B, C

E C, F 9.1.12.A, B

I D 9.1.12.A, B

E H 9.1.12.A, B

E K 9.1.12.A, B


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