AP Music Theory: Curricular Requirements

  • The teacher has read the most recent AP Music Theory Course Description.
  • The course enables students to master the rudiments and terminology of music: notational skills, intervals, scales, keys, chords, meter, and rhythm.
  • The course progresses to include more sophisticated and creative tasks:
    • Writing a bass line for a given melody or harmonization of a given melody in four parts
    • Realization of a figured bass
    • Realization of a Roman numeral progression
    • Analysis of repertoire, including analysis of motivic treatment and harmonic analysis¬†
  • The course includes the following scales: major, minor, modal, pentatonic, and whole tone.
  • The course covers the following concepts or procedures based in common-practice tonality:
    • Functional triadic harmony in traditional four-voice texture including non-harmonic tones, seventh chords, and secondary dominants.
    • Modulation to closely related keys
  • The course also teaches:
    • Phrase structure
    • Small forms (e.g., rounded binary, simple ternary, theme and variation, strophic)
  • Musical skills are developed through the following types of musical exercises:
    • Listening (discrete intervals, scales, etc.; dictations; excerpts from literature)
    • Sight-singing
    • Written exercises
    • Creative exercises
  • The course includes, but is not limited to, study of a wide variety of vocal and instrumental music from the standard Western tonal repertoires.

Resource Requirements

  • The school ensures that each student has access to his or her own copy of a recently published college-level music theory textbook (or equivalent materials approved by the AP Music Theory Development Committee).
  • The school provides access to audio equipment and materials that facilitate listening practice for the students throughout the course. This equipment can include cassette or compact disc players.
  • The school ensures that each AP Music Theory classroom includes a piano or electronic keyboard and sound reproduction equipment (such as a stereo or boom box). (CDs played on a computer do not enable students to hear the bass, so such sound reproduction is not acceptable for this course.)

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