• Class Number 3705
  • Term Code 3330
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Rachael Thoms
    • Roya Safaei
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 20/02/2023
  • Class End Date 26/05/2023
  • Census Date 31/03/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 27/02/2023
SELT Survey Results

The Aural Skills and Music Theory 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. In this course, students apply their knowledge of functional harmony to gain a deeper appreciation of music while developing greater fluency in reading and interpreting music notation and shorthands. The theory component is complemented with the sequential and aligned development of relevant aural skills, including audiation (inner hearing) and aural awareness of related melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic structures, through individual and group listening, reading and performing (singing), and dictation activities.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. demonstrate, through prose and music notation, an understanding of the core elements of music, including pitch, harmony, rhythm, and form;
  2. fluently apply theoretical knowledge through analysis of music scores using appropriate terminology and notation;
  3. demonstrate an ability to read and interpret relevant music notation, including inner hearing of melody, harmony, and rhythm, through sight-singing, sight-reading, and performance activities; and
  4. aurally identify and interpret the various elements of music, including pitch, chords, harmony, and rhythm, as demonstrated through notation and performance tasks.

Research-Led Teaching

Lecturers in this course are working to lead the international conversation regarding the teaching and learning of theory and aural skills in the decolonising academy. We are in a constant state of reevaluating the materials, techniques and perspectives utilised in this course in order to reflect the dynamic postmodern cultural landscape of Australia and the rest of the planet in the 21st Century. Students in this course are provided with a creative, playful and academically rigorous space in which to pursue their own autoethnographic research-led praxis.

Field Trips

Students are encouraged to attend live and online concerts and other artistic and performative events throughout the semester, as well as trips to the library for research materials and training sessions.

Examination Material or equipment

Laptops and headphones may be required for exams.

Required Resources

Notebook (digital or paper); 600ml or larger water bottle; reusable straw (details on Wattle); headphones; access to a computer with a camera and microphone as well as notation (Sibelius, Musescore, Finale), DAW (Logic, Reaper, ProTools, Ableton, etc.), electronic music (SuperCollider), video editing (iMovie, Final Cut, Openshot, etc.) and analysis (Sonic Visualiser) software; metronome and other apps for your mobile phone (as discussed in class) - More details regarding this list will be provided on Wattle and discussed in week 1

Students will be provided with weekly resources and are also required to seek out resources from the library and various online sources throughout the semester.

Staff Feedback

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

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

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). Feedback can also be provided to Course Conveners and teachers via the Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (SELT) feedback program. SELT surveys are confidential and also provide the Colleges and ANU Executive with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement.

Other Information

Hurdle requirement: A minimum mark of 50% cumulatively across all assessment items in the aural component, and a minimum mark of 50% cumulatively across all assessment items in the theory component, is required to pass the course, regardless of performance in other items.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Intro to the course: What is Aural Skills; What is Music Theory
2 Theory: Rhythm & Metre; Aural skills: Hearing metre, key centre & tonality
3 Theory: Pitch collections and keys Aural skills: Root movement, metre and common scales
4 Theory: Introduction to diatonic harmony Aural skills: Common scales, introduction to transcription, identifying intervals and triads, metre/rhythm
5 Theory: Chord inversion, phrase structure, and contextual analysis Aural skills: Common scales, developing transcription, identifying intervals and triads, introduction to inversions, metre/rhythm Theory Summary Sheet
6 Theory: Revision and exam Aural skills: Lead sheets and Transcription. Theory Mid Semester Examination Aural Transcription Project
7 Theory: Harmonic progressions and sequences Aural skills: Common scales, diatonic chords, introduction to 7th chords, common harmonic progressions, introduction to improvisation
8 Theory: Non-diatonic dominant 7th chords & diminished harmony Aural skills: Developing improvisation strategies (introduction to voice leading)
9 Theory: Introduction to counterpoint and voice leading Aural skills: Developing improvisation, melodic/rhythmic/harmonic dictation/transcription, group singing
10 Theory: Counterpoint and voice leading principals in jazz Aural skills: Transcription, Improvisation, Sight-Singing/Reading?
11 Theory: Identifying embellishing tones and creating harmonic reductions Aural skills: Transcription, Improvisation, Sight-Singing/Reading? Aural Skills - Practice Journal/Workbook
12 Theory: Connecting melody and harmony, introduction to chord/scale theory Aural skills: Revision Aural Skills - Final Exam Theory - Music Analysis Essay

Tutorial Registration

Students will have the opportunity to select a theory tutorial and an aural skills tutorial via MyTimetable (each week you will be required to attend both theory and aural skills lectures and tutorials).

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Learning Outcomes
Theory 1 - Summary Sheet (10%) 10 % 24/03/2023 1,2
Theory 2 - Mid Semester Exam (20%) 20 % 28/03/2023 1,2,3,4
Aural Skills 1 - Transcription Project (20%) 20 % 31/03/2023 1,2,3, 4
Aural Skills 2 - Aural Practice Journal/Workbook (10%) 10 % 19/05/2023 1,2
Aural Skills 3 - End of Semester Exam (20%) 20 % 23/05/2023 1,2,3,4
Theory 3 - Music Analysis Essay (20%) 20 % 29/05/2023 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 Integrity 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 Academic Skills website. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

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.


Students are expected to attend and participate in weekly lectures and tutorials. There will also be opportunities for communicating with, learning from and supporting your classmates online via Teams throughout the semester. There is an opportunity for all students to be awarded marks on all assessment tasks based on their participation in activities and discussions, and by upholding and encouraging an inclusive, supportive and positive culture.


All students within this course must sit the mid-semester Music Theory examination and the end of semester Aural Skills examination.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 24/03/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Theory 1 - Summary Sheet (10%)

Summarise?in your own words (dot points are acceptable) two of the topics/concepts covered in weeks 1-5 and subsequently, construct a critical, original question/problem for each topic (two in total) that demonstrates an applied understanding of the concepts. Provide the answers to your questions and a brief explanation of how you worked these out. The summary sheet should not exceed one A4 page.

*The purpose of this assessment is to help you revise challenging topics before the mid-semester exam.

Assessment Submission:

The following should be uploaded to Wattle:

  • A single A4 sheet (in PDF form) of your summary and questions

Assessment Criteria:

  • Ability to summarise information clearly and succinctly (in your own words).
  • Demonstrated ability to construct original questions that apply relevant theoretical concepts from the course.
  • Clarity and accuracy of your answers to the constructed questions.
  • Demonstration of in-depth knowledge pertaining to the chosen topics through assessment quality.
  • Demonstrated understanding of topics through regular participation in tutorial activities and discussions.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 28/03/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Theory 2 - Mid Semester Exam (20%)

All students in this course must attempt the theory exam. The exam will be conducted in week 6. Topics and skills assessed will include the materials covered in weeks 1-5. There will be 3 sections:

Section 1: Short Answer

Section 2: Notated Response

Section 3: Analysis/Long Response


The exam will be submitted in person at the end of the exam time.

Assessment criteria/rubric: 

  • Ability to define and describe the core elements of music, including those relating to pitch, melody, harmony, rhythm, and form.
  • The capacity to apply theoretical knowledge of core analytical techniques in music using appropriate terminology and notation.
  • Demonstration of fluency in reading and interpreting music.
  • Ability to creatively interpret various elements of music, including rhythm, pitch, chords, and harmony in tonal contexts, as demonstrated through notation tasks.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 31/03/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3, 4

Aural Skills 1 - Transcription Project (20%)

You will present a transcription of a musical excerpt, selecting from a list of provided on Wattle. You are asked to focus on two voices: the top voice/main melody, and the root movement, and to determine the quality of the chords in each bar. You must identify the following details:

  • Key signature/tonality
  • Time signature/meter
  • Chord qualities (presented as chord symbols above the top voice stave)
  • Structure/Form – use of appropriate phrasing, double bar lines, repeats, sections
  • Appropriate clefs- grand staff (treble and bass clef)
  • Appropriate rhythmic groupings
  • Instrumentation
  • Dynamics

You will be asked to submit your two-part score via Wattle. Your transcription should be presented using appropriate music notation software (Sibelius/Musescore etc), exported in the form of a PDF document, and a separate audio file for playback when marking. You will also be required to supply a 500-word (approx.) document containing a short written reflection that justifies/explains your musical choices. You should briefly discuss any “sticking points”, uncertainties, or breakthroughs you may have encountered, and connect these points to the concepts and strategies covered in lectures and tutorials.

Assessment Submission:

·     Word/PDF document submitted via Wattle with 500-word (approx.) summary and reflection.

·     PDF of your lead sheet-style score (an example/template will be provided) in standard notation (using Musescore, Sibelius or similar) including annotations as appropriate.

·     WAV file of a MIDI or other realisation of your transcription (extracted from notation software, DAW or similar).

Assessment criteria:

  • Clarity, neatness, and quality of notation, with an appropriate audio file.
  • Demonstrated ability to accurately notate your chosen excerpt and accurately identify the musical parameters as outlined.
  • The capacity to apply theoretical knowledge to assist with completing an aurally driven task.
  • Demonstrated understanding of topics covered through written reflection and regular participation in tutorial activities and discussions. 
  • Grammar, spelling, clarity of writing, accurate and clear music notation.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 19/05/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Aural Skills 2 - Aural Practice Journal/Workbook (10%)

Part A: EarMaster

Using the ear training app, EarMaster you will complete weekly set exercises in a custom workbook/assignment that relates to the weekly topics. These exercises are targeted for the acquisition of aural skills and will help to prepare you for the end-of-semester aural skills exam. You will also be able to use other features and lessons already set up in EarMaster for your own targeted practice as you identify areas of weakness that need more focus. Data collected by the app on your usage, completion of assignments/workbooks, speed, and accuracy will form part of the marking criteria for this assessment.

Part B: Reflective Journal

For this task, you will be required to record your thoughts, reactions, and impressions as you develop productive and deliberate practice strategies, including using EarMaster, for the acquisition of aural skills. You will demonstrate your ability to evaluate your skills and progress while applying critical thinking and problem-solving skills. You will submit a 500-word (approx.) document in the form of a weekly practice journal that describes your learning journey, how your thinking has changed or developed, and demonstrates your ability to apply the concepts covered in ASMT 1 (aural and theory concepts) to your aural skills development.  



  • Word document submitted via Wattle with an 850-word (approx.) individual reflection.  
  • Completed EarMaster assignment/workbook using the app (make sure you set up your account in week one. Details will be provided).


Assessment criteria:  

  • Demonstrated ability to reflect, think critically, and develop appropriate goals and practice habits.  
  • Effective communication and clarity of discussion and reflective writing pertaining to Aural Skills development.   
  • Grammar, spelling, clarity of writing, appropriate formatting, accurate and clear music notation (where applicable).  
  • Demonstrated understanding of topics through the consistent completion of EarMaster practice and regular attendance and participation in class activities and discussions.

Assessment Task 5

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 23/05/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Aural Skills 3 - End of Semester Exam (20%)

All students within this course must sit the end-of-semester Aural Skills exam. It may include multiple-choice, music notation responses, and written responses, and covers all material covered in this course to date.

Assessment Submission:  

 The exam will be submitted at the end of the exam time. 


Assessment criteria: 

  •  Ability to identify, define and articulate (using standard notation) the primary parameters of music; specifically pitch, melody, harmony, and rhythm. 
  • Demonstrate the capacity to apply theoretical knowledge of core analytical techniques in music using appropriate terminology and notation. 
  • Demonstrate fluency in reading, writing, and interpreting music. 
  • Ability to interpret various elements of music, including rhythm, pitch, chords, and harmony in tonal contexts for the purpose of developing creative improvisation, transcription, and composition practice.  
  • Grammar, spelling, clarity of writing, accurate and clear music notation. 

Assessment Task 6

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 29/05/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Theory 3 - Music Analysis Essay (20%)

Look at the list of musical excerpts/works on Wattle and choose one of these to analyse. Write an 850-words (approx.) analysis essay focusing on the examination of 1-3 musical elements for your chosen excerpt, one of which should be harmony. Include embedded score excerpts with annotations of your analysis as figures in the essay. Your paper should be structured around a central argument and must include at least 3 academic references in-text and in the bibliography. 

Your essay must include:

  • A brief discussion of the work’s cultural and historical context.
  • An in-depth analysis of your chosen excerpt focusing on 1-3 musical elements (rhythm, melody, harmony, form, texture, timbre, dynamics/expressive techniques) based on a central argument. 
  • Annotated embedded score excerpts.
  • The inclusion of at least 3 academic/credible references supporting your analysis and demonstrating further research into the context, work, composer, and/or theoretical concepts.  

Ideas for central arguments (look at the week 8 lecture)

  • The composer creates unity/contrast OR tension/release through certain musical elements. 
  • The transformation of a particular musical element is the composer or performer’s focus (for the jazz excerpts you might want to look at the interpretation of a score by a certain performer/ensemble). 
  • The way certain musical elements in the excerpt have been treated is representative of the composer’s/performer’s style or the period in which the excerpt was written or performed (for an essay like this you might include a comparison of this excerpt with another work/recording).


The following should be uploaded to wattle:

  • A PDF or Word File of your Music Analysis Essay. 
  • Score and Audio Link if appropriate (this could be a separate file or combined with the previous file).

Assessment criteria/rubric: 

  • Accuracy and quality of the musical analysis.
  • Effective formulation and organisation of ideas in terms of a coherent argument.
  • Grammar, spelling, clarity of writing, and neatness of score annotations (including embedded excerpts).
  • Demonstrated ability to appropriately support arguments through reference to relevant sources via citations and a Chicago Style bibliography.
  • Demonstrated understanding of this assessment through regular participation in tutorial activities and discussions

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. The University’s students are an integral part of that community. The academic integrity principle commits all students to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support, academic integrity, and to uphold this commitment by behaving honestly, responsibly and ethically, and with respect and fairness, in scholarly practice.

The University expects all staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle, the Academic Integrity Rule 2021, the Policy: Student Academic Integrity and Procedure: Student Academic Integrity, and to uphold high standards of academic integrity to ensure the quality and value of our qualifications.

The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 is a legal document that the University uses to promote academic integrity, and manage breaches of the academic integrity principle. The Policy and Procedure support the Rule by outlining overarching principles, responsibilities and processes. The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 commences on 1 December 2021 and applies to courses commencing on or after that date, as well as to research conduct occurring on or after that date. Prior to this, the Academic Misconduct Rule 2015 applies.


The University commits to assisting all students to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. All coursework students must complete the online Academic Integrity Module (Epigeum), and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students are required to complete research integrity training. The Academic Integrity website provides information about services available to assist students with their assignments, examinations and other learning activities, as well as understanding and upholding academic integrity.

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) 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). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission permitted. Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

The Academic Skills website has information to assist you with your writing and assessments. The website includes information about Academic Integrity including referencing requirements for different disciplines. There is also information on Plagiarism and different ways to use source material.

Returning Assignments

Feedback and marks will be provided within two weeks of assessment submission.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted 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

In exceptional circumstances, an amended assessment task may be set for resubmission in place of the original assignment. You must consult with the Course Convenor and Lecturer for the assessment task in question to apply and your request will be considered. Timeline on due dates for any approved resubmission will be considered on a case by case basis depending on the student's personal circumstances.

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).

Rachael Thoms
+61 2 6125 6336

Research Interests

Voice pedagogy, voice science, improvisation, aural skills acquisition, music pedagogy, autoethnography, gender and music

Rachael Thoms

Tuesday 11:00 12:00
Wednesday 10:00 11:00
Roya Safaei

Research Interests

Roya Safaei

By Appointment

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