• Class Number 6660
  • Term Code 3360
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Thomas Laue
    • Edward Neeman
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 24/07/2023
  • Class End Date 27/10/2023
  • Census Date 31/08/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 31/07/2023
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. This course introduces students to various analytical approaches to 20th Century and contemporary music repertoire, both theoretical and aurally. The theory component is complemented with the sequential and aligned development of advanced aural skills, including audiation (inner hearing) and aural awareness of complex melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic structures, through individual and group listening, reading and performing (singing), dictation, and aural analysis activities.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. demonstrate an understanding of highly advanced elements of music in both tonal and atonal contexts, including those relating to pitch, melody, harmony, rhythm, and form;
  2. reflect critically and apply theoretical knowledge of analytical approaches to 20th Century and contemporary music using professional-level terminology and notation;
  3. demonstrate a fluent ability to read and apply advanced music notation, including inner hearing of melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic elements through sight-singing, sight-reading, and performance activities; and
  4. aurally identify and interpret with great fluency and creativity some of the more advanced elements of music in tonal and atonal contexts, including highly advanced rhythms and polyrhythms, as demonstrated through notation and 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. You will be exposed to research by leaders in the field of music theory and aural skills, informing your theoretical and aural studies and development in music. Recent peer-reviewed research on multi-stage assessments in Aural Skills can be found in the following publication: Laue, T. P. (2020). Collaborative multi-stage exams in aural skills education: Theoretical underpinnings and two proposed approaches. In A. Creech (Ed.), Proceedings of the International Society for Music Education 34th World Conference on Music Education: Online 3–7 August 2020, 234–243. Malvern, Victoria: International Society for Music Education. (Link) See also: Teaiwa, T. K. (2005). The Classroom as a Metaphorical Canoe: Cooperative learning in Pacific Studies. WINHEC: International Journal of Indigenous Education Scholarship, 1, 38–48. (Link)

Required Resources

Palmqvist, Bengt-Olov. Refinement of Rhythm. Vol. 2, Canberra: Bopac, 2006.

Edlund, Lars. Modus Vetus: Sight Singing and Ear-Training in Major/Minor Tonality. Stockholm: AB Nordiska Musikförlaget, 1976.

Edlund, Lars. Modus Novus. Stockholm: AB Nordiska Musikförlaget, 1990.

Prescribed Texts:

  • Clendinning, Jane and Elizabeth Marvin. The Musician’s Guide to Theory and Analysis, 3rd ed. New York: Norton, 2016.
  • Clendinning, Jane and Elizabeth Marvin. The Musician’s Guide to Theory and Analysis Workbook, 3rd ed. New York: Norton, 2016.
  • Lambert, P. Basic post-tonal theory and analysis, New York: Oxford University Press, 2018.
  • Palmqvist, Bengt-Olov. Refinement of Rhythm: Supplement for Rhythmic Dictation. Vol. 2, Canberra: Bopac, 2006.

All Required Resources, and the following list of books, will be put on reserve in the Art and Music Library.

  • Beach, David and McClelland, Ryan. Analysis of 18th- and 19th-century musical works in the classical tradition. Oxfordshire: Routledge, 2012. 
  • Beach, D. Schenkerian Analysis: Perspectives on Phrase Rhythm, Motive and Form. 2nd ed. Milton: Taylor & Francis Group, 2019.
  • Kopp, D. Chromatic transformations in nineteenth-century music. 1st ed. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

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.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 AURAL: Review Semester 1. Extended Syncopated Figures & Quintuple metre (rhythm), Singing and aural identification of diatonic minor-key chords and scales (harmony and pitch); THEORY: Vocal forms, review of phrase structure Task 2
2 THEORY: Chromatic harmony; AURAL: Ch. 10 (Unaccented Beats) & Septuple meters (p. 129) (rhythm), Common secondary dominants in minor keys (harmony and pitch) Task 1, 2
3 AURAL: Extended Triplets (rhythm), Augmented sixth chords and modal mixture (harmony and pitch); THEORY: Chromatic modulation & extended concepts Task 1, 2
4 THEORY: Sonata and large-scale form (review); AURAL: Triplets with Subdivisions, and Shifting Meters and Extension of Asymmetrical Meters (rhythm), Transposed stacked fourths & whole-tones (harmony and pitch) Task 1, 2
5 AURAL: Triplets with extended subdivisions, and Variable beat values (rhythm); THEORY: Diminution and an introduction to Schenkerian analysis Task 1, 2
6 Mid-Semester Review and Aural Lecture Quiz Task 1, 2
7 AURAL: Variable beat divisions with constant pulse, and triplets (3:2) with subdivisions (rhythm), Transposed stacked augmented chords (harmony and pitch); THEORY: Pitch class sets—concepts and properties Task 1, 2
8 THEORY: Pitch class sets—analysis; AURAL: Variable beat duration, and triplets (3:4) (rhythm), Transposed stacked diminished chords (harmony and pitch) Task 1, 2
9 AURAL: Lecture quiz. Quadruplets, Quintuplets (5:2) and Septuplets (rhythm), Multi-part free-tonal singing (harmony and pitch); THEORY: Ordered segments & twelve-tone analysis Task 1, 2
10 THEORY: Extending serial principles; AURAL: Quintuplets (5:3, 5:4) and Septuplets Part II (rhythm) Task 1, 2
11 AURAL: Septuplets Part III (rhythm); THEORY: Review Task 1, 2
12 End of Semester Review and Aural Lecture Quiz Task 2

Tutorial Registration

Please discuss all Theory and Aural tutorial sign-up changes or issues with lecturers directly.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Learning Outcomes
In-class Activities and Participation 30 % 1, 2, 3, 4
In-class and Online Tests 30 % 1, 2, 3, 4
Final Exams 40 % 1, 2, 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.


In-person participation is expected for all face-to-face classes. Attendance is a critically important component of learning in this course. A significant proportion of marks is allocated to in-class assessments, and naturally, in-class activities directly feed into in-class assessment outcomes. All in-class tests, in particular those in Aural Skills, are assessed in-class with peer and lecturer feedback provided immediately after each completed task. Aural weekly in-class participation comprises participation in both lectures and tutorials. All in-lecture quizzes may require collaborative working in small groups of no more than four students. If any reason precludes a student from engaging in collaborative group work, the student must inform the lecturer in writing at the earliest opportunity, and no later than 9am on Friday of Week 2.


One final written Theory exam plus a short (15 minute or shorter) Viva Voce assessment during the exam period

Assessment Task 1

Value: 30 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4

In-class Activities and Participation

This task comprises Aural weekly practical tutorial activities and participation, including pre-assigned exercises given about a week in advance (20%), and Theory weekly in-class & online participation (10%). Due dates and times: Aural tutorial activities and class participation are due Weeks 2–11 (Week 2 is online only, all other weeks are in-person only); Theory class participation due Weeks 2–11; All class participation marks are due either in-class (Thursdays) or on Teams by midday Friday. Return date: 2 weeks after submission.

Assessment Criteria/Rubric

Student has the knowledge and skills to:

  • Constructively articulate and critique relevant concepts and viewpoints amongst peers
  • Decipher, synthesise and apply advanced aural and theoretical concepts and skills with reference to music research and repertoire.
  • Consistently employ written music notation and other nomenclature with clarity and precision
  • Fluently interpret notated tonal and non-tonal pitch material, complex rhythmic and meter structures, and other nomenclature
  • Employ appropriate expressive devices including accentuation, articulations, ornamentation, dynamics, and phrasing

Assessment Task 2

Value: 30 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4

In-class and Online Tests

This task comprises ten Weekly Theory tests (20%) and three Aural in-lecture collaborative tests (10%). Due dates and times: Theory tests due in Weeks 1–5, 7–11; Aural transcription quizzes in Weeks 6, 9, and 12 in-class (during lecture time). Return date: 2 weeks after submission.

Assessment Criteria/Rubric

Student has the knowledge and skills to:

  • Decipher, synthesise and apply advanced aural and theoretical concepts and skills within a limited timeframe
  • Employ written music notation and other nomenclature with clarity and precision
  • Effectively engage with peers in order to problem-solve and refine the outcomes of set music/analytical tasks

Assessment Task 3

Value: 40 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 4

Final Exams

This task comprises a Theory exam (20%) and an Aural Skills Viva Voce (20%). Due dates and times: Exam period, as scheduled by the Examinations Office. Aural Viva Voce due during exam period (individually scheduled).

Assessment Criteria/Rubric

Student has the knowledge and skills to:

  • Apply advanced aural and theoretical concepts and skills within a limited timeframe
  • Employ written music notation and other nomenclature with clarity and precision
  • Fluently read and interpret notated tonal and non-tonal pitch material, complex rhythmic and meter structures, and other nomenclature, in both prepared and unprepared contexts
  • Employ appropriate expressive devices including accentuation, articulations, ornamentation, dynamics, and phrasing

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 each specific Assessment Submission page listed on Wattle under the heading 'Assessments'. Submission of hand-written work must be scanned (including photographed) at a high enough image resolution to ensure that visual clarity is excellent and to eliminate any ambiguity due to poor image quality. The scanned image or PDF file must not be subsequently edited other than overall adjustments such as cropping or exposure settings. It is the student's responsibility to confirm that final visual quality of the scanned image is more than adequate for assessment purposes, and to discuss any issues relating to electronically scanning (including photographing) hand-written work for assessments at least seven days prior to the due date of the relevant assessment task.

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

Late submission not permitted for all examinations and in-class assessments. Submission of examinations or in-class assessments without an extension after the due date and time will result in a mark of 0.

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

Submitted assignments (where applicable) will be made available for reviewing by individual students either in-class, by appointment during office-hours, or electronically where necessary or required.

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

Resubmission of assignments are not permitted in this course. Students should bring all submission-related questions to the attention of the lecturer in the relevant class, as early as possible and prior to the submission due date.

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 theory, aural skills pedagogy, music theory pedagogy, psychoacoustics, campanology

Dr Thomas Laue

Monday 10:30 11:30
Tuesday 14:00 14:30
Edward Neeman

Research Interests

Edward Neeman


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