• Class Number 3039
  • Term Code 2930
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Thomas Laue
    • Eloise Fisher
    • Dr Thomas Laue
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 25/02/2019
  • Class End Date 31/05/2019
  • Census Date 31/03/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 04/03/2019
SELT Survey Results

The Music Theory & Aural Skills courses are a series of courses compulsory for all Bachelor of Music students that develop core skills underpinning analytical and practical engagement in a variety of musical idioms, including common practice, jazz, and popular styles. This course introduces the fundamental, core elements of music theory, including the function and use of basic vocabulary and notation to describe pitch, metre, rhythm, chords, and harmonic functions. The theory component is complemented with the sequential and aligned development of relevant aural skills, including an aural awareness of basic melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic structures.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. define and describe, through prose and notation, the fundamental elements of music, including pitch, harmony, tonality, rhythm, and metre;
  2. apply theoretical knowledge through basic music analysis using appropriate terminology and notation;
  3. demonstrate an ability to read and apply music notation, including inner hearing of basic melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic elements through sight-singing, sight-reading, and performance activities; and
  4. aurally identify the fundamental elements of music, such as pitch, chords, harmony, and rhythm, as demonstrated through notation and/or performance tasks.

Research-Led Teaching

Music theory and aural skills pedagogy is a research-intensive discipline, led by contemporary enquiry into best practice in theoretical and performance-based approaches to developing musicianship skills. Students will be exposed to research by leaders in the field of music theory and aural skills, informing their theoretical and aural studies in music.

Field Trips

Students are encouraged to attend as many concerts and industry events as possible, both on and off campus. Notices regarding symposiums, workshops, external learning opportunities and visiting scholars will be made available through Wattle during the teaching semester.

Additional Course Costs

Students will require manuscript paper and pens for this course. Students should make copies all submitted work and may incur small copying costs.

Examination Material or equipment

Students should bring the following materials to the final examination:

  • Pens (black or blue), pencils, eraser, ruler (transparent)

Recommended Texts

1. Murphy, P., Phillips, J., Marvin, E. W., and Clendenning, J. P. (2016). The Musician's Guide to Aural Skills: Ear Training. 3rd ed. New York: W. W. Norton.

2. Murphy, P., Phillips, J., Marvin, E. W., and Clendenning, J. P. (2016). The Musician's Guide to Aural Skills: Sight Singing. 3rd ed. New York: W. W. Norton.

2. Clendinning, J. P., & Marvin, E. W. (2014). The Musician’s Guide to Fundamentals (2nd ed). New York: W.W. Norton.

3. Root, Jena. (2014). Applied Music Fundamentals: Writing, Singing, and Listening. New York: Oxford University Press.

4. Snodgrass, J. S. (2016). Contemporary Musicianship: Analysis and the Artist. New York: Oxford University Press.

Manuscript paper and writing implement are required at all Theory and Aural classes through the semester.

Recommended Resources

Students are encouraged to use contemporary literature in music theoretical studies to support their learning. A supporting bibliography is provided below, and additional sources

will be provided during the semester.

Students should bring manuscript paper, writing paper, pens, pencils, ruler (transparent), eraser, to all classes or as directed by the lecturer. it is recommended that students make use of music notation software where appropriate, such as Sibelius (version 5 and later), Finale, and Lilypond. Sibelius 7.5 is installed on many computers around campus.

Students may wish to refer to the following textbooks and resources that inform the topics covered throughout the course. Most of these can be found in the Art & Music Library or through ANU E-Resources.

  • Edlund, Lars. Modus Vetus: Sight Singing and Ear-Training in Major/Minor Tonality. Stockholm: AB Nordiska Musikförlaget, 1976.
  • Gauldin, Robert. Harmonic Practice in Tonal Music, 2nd ed. New York: Norton, 2004.
  • Karpinski, Gary S. Manual for Ear Training and Sight Singing. New York: Norton, 2007.
  • Levine, Mark. The Jazz Theory Book. Petaluma: Sher Music, 1995.
  • Phillips, Joel, Paul Murphy, Elizabeth West Martin and Jane Piper Clendinning. The Musician’s Guide to Aural Skills. 2nd Ed. Vol. 2: Ear-Training and Composition. New York: Norton, 2011.
  • Rawlins, Robert and Bahha, Nor Eddine. Jazzology: the encyclopedia of jazz theory for all musicians, Milwaukee, WI: Hal Leonard, 2005.
  • van der Geld, Tom. New Ear Training for Rock, Pop and Jazz: A Complete Course for the Jazz, Rock and Pop Musician. 2 Vols. Mainz: Schott, 2011.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • Written comments, returned on submitted papers
  • Feedback to the entire class, provided during class meetings
  • Verbal comments, in office hours/meetings

As part of feedback, students will have the opportunity to review marks or grades for most assessment items, such as written assignments. However, note that the final mark awarded for the course may be subjected to moderation as deemed necessary. This is partly to ensure parity and fairness across the whole course, and the process would involve discussions between all academic staff involved in the teaching and assessment for this course.

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information

Referencing requirements

While ANU does not require a specific citation style, research in Music Theory/Composition is typically cited using the Chicago Manual of Style or the MLA Style. See the following link for details:


Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction to Course and Music Theory (approaches, concepts, history) Introduction to Acoustics
2 Pitch, Pitch Class and Pitch Notation Whole and Half Steps; Accidentals and Enharmonics
3 Rhythm and Metre I Simple and Compound Metre; Beat Subdivision
4 Pitch Collections and Scales I The Major Scale and Major Keys
5 Pitch Collections and Scales II The Minor Scales and Minor Keys
6 Mid-Semester Revision Mid-Semester Assessment
7 Rhythm and Metre II Triplets and Duplets; Syncopation
8 Pitch Collections and Scales III Modes and Other Scales
9 Pitch Relationships Intervals and Inversion
10 Harmonic Structures Triads and Inversions; Figured Bass and Lead Sheet Symbols
11 Introduction to Harmonic Function Triads in Major and Minor Keys; Roman Numeral Analysis
12 Revision Exam

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Mid-Semester Assessment 30 % 02/04/2019 17/04/2019 1,2,3,4
Examination 40 % 06/06/2019 21/06/2019 1,2,3,4
Portfolio 30 % 31/05/2019 18/06/2019 1,2,3,4

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website. Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


See details for Assessment Task 2.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 02/04/2019
Return of Assessment: 17/04/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Mid-Semester Assessment

Details of Task: All students within this course must sit the mid-semester in-class Theory test and in-class Aural test in week 6. Topics and skills assessed will include all materials covered throughout the semester up until the time of assessment.

Assessment Rubric: Refer to the assessment rubric.

Value: 30% (Theory 15%, Aural 15%)

Estimated return date: 10 working days after assessment date.


HD [80-100]D [70-79]CR [60-69]P [50-59]N [0-49]

Work of exceptional quality, which demonstrates comprehensive understanding of the subject matter, mastery of relevant skills, sophisticated or original critical and conceptual analysis, and outstanding quality in clarity, precision and presentation of work.

Work of superior quality, which demonstrates a thorough knowledge and understanding of the subject matter, proficiency in relevant skills, and analytical and conceptual ability of a high order.

Work of good quality, which displays a good understanding of the subject matter and a sound grasp of relevant skills.

Work of satisfactory quality, which displays an adequate understanding of most of the subject matter and a sufficient grasp of relevant skills.

Work which is incomplete or displays an inadequate understanding of the subject matter or an inadequate grasp of relevant skills.

Ability to define and describe fundamental elements of music, including those relating to pitch, melody, harmony, and rhythm.

Demonstrate the capacity to apply theoretical knowledge of basic music analysis using appropriate terminology and notation.

Demonstrate fluency in reading and interpreting music notation, including inner hearing of basic melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic elements, through sight-singing, sight-reading, and performance activities.

Ability to aurally identify and creatively interpret elements of music, including pitch, chords, and harmony in tonal contexts, and basic rhythms, as demonstrated through notation and performance tasks.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 06/06/2019
Return of Assessment: 21/06/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4


Details of Task: All students within this course must sit the Examination, to be held during the Exam Period. Topics and skills assessed will include all materials covered throughout the semester.

Assessment Rubric: Refer to the assessment rubric for Assessment Task 1.

Value: 40% (Theory 20%, Aural 20%)

Estimated return date: 10 working days after exam date.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 31/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 18/06/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4


Throughout the semester, students will be required to complete a number of small theoretical, analytical and aural tasks, consolidating understanding of, and skills developed through, the topics covered during the semester. The progressive nature of these assessments provides for ongoing feedback and reinforcement of skills throughout the semester. Specific details of each task, and their due dates, will be provided at the beginning of the semester. These tasks, completed progressively throughout the course, will be completed into a portfolio which, at the conclusion of the course, contributes 30% of the mark.

Assessment Rubric: Refer to the assessment rubric for Assessment Task 1.

Value: 30% (Theory 15%, Aural 15%)

Estimated return date: 10 working days after assessment date.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) as submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Any such assignments will be specified on Wattle. Such hard copy assignments must be submitted in class, at the beginning of class time. Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

No submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date will be permitted. If an assessment task is not submitted by the due date, a mark of 0 will be awarded.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Assessed work will be graded following the scheduled class time. Student work will be returned in person during the weekly class meetings. If a student is absent, they should contact the relevant lecturer to arrange an alternate time for returning the assessed work.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

Resubmission of assignments is not permitted in this course.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Dr Thomas Laue

Research Interests

Music analysis; Western art music of the 19th and 20th centuries; Popular music studies.

Dr Thomas Laue

Tuesday 09:00 11:00
Eloise Fisher

Research Interests

Eloise Fisher

Dr Thomas Laue

Research Interests

Dr Thomas Laue

Tuesday 09:00 11:00

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions