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Valley View High School

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AP Music Theory

A Mixed-Grade Elective

Teacher: Mr. Gamarra; E-mail: [email protected]

Course description as provided by CollegeBoard: 

"The AP Music Theory course corresponds to one or two semesters of a typical introductory college music theory course that covers topics such as musicianship, theory, musical materials, and procedures. Musicianship skills, including dictation and other listening skills, sight singing, and harmony are considered an important part of the course. Through the course, students develop the ability to recognize, understand and describe basic materials and processes of tonal music that are heard or presented in a score.

Development of aural skills is a primary objective. Performance is also part of the curriculum through the practice of sight singing. Students understand basic concepts and terminology by listening to and performing a wide variety of music. Notational skills, speed, and fluency with basic materials are also emphasized."


The AP Music Theory course is equivalent to two semesters of a typical introductory college music theory & musicianship course. Throughout the year, students cover topics such as musicianship, theory, musical materials, and compositionprocedures.

This is NOT a song writing course!!!  Although students are introduced to basic concepts of composition & counterpoint and will compose excerpts of their own creation, this is not the main focus.  Students that decide to enroll will primarily work on the development of aural skills and written skills in music.  Performance is part of the curriculum through the practice of sight singing….YES, you will have to sing a little, but only for the purposes of learning the aural skills needed to pass the test.


Pass Beginning Band, Choir, or Music Theory with a C or Better


Below you will find an outline of the course agenda for the year.  As you can see, we move through many concepts very quickly, and therefore homework will be assigned regularly in order to keep up with the rigorous knowledge needed to pass the AP test.

First Nine Weeks

  • Week 1

o   Chapter 1 – Elements of Pitch

  • Weeks 2 and 3

o   Chapter 2 – Elements of Rhythm

  • Weeks 4 and 5

o   Chapter 3 – Introduction to Triads and Seventh Chords

  • Weeks 6 and 7

o   Chapter 4 – Diatonic Chords in Major and Minor Keys

  • Weeks 8 and 9

o   Chapter 5 – Principles of Voice Leading

Second Nine Weeks

  • Weeks 1 and 2

o   Chapter 6 – Root Position Part Writing

  • Weeks 3 and 4

o   Chapter 7 – Harmonic Progression

  • Weeks 5 and 6

o   Chapter 8 – Triads in First Inversion

o   Chapter 9 – Triads in Second Inversion

  • Week 9

o   Review Chapters 1 through 9

o   Semester One Exam

Third Nine Weeks

  • Week 1 and 2

o   Chapter 10 – Cadences, Phrases, and Periods

  • Week 3

o   Chapter 11 – Non-Chord Tones 1

  • Week 4

o   Chapter 12 – Non-Chord Tones 2

  • Week 5

o   Chapter 13 – The V7 Chord

  • Week 6

o   Chapter 14 – The II7 and VII7 Chords

  • Week 7

o   Chapter 15 – Other Diatonic Seventh Chords

  • Week 8

o   Chapter 16 and 17 – Secondary Functions 1 and 2

  • Week 9

o   Review Chapters 9 through 17

Fourth Nine Weeks

  • Week 1

o   Chapter 18 and 19 – Modulations using diatonic common chords

  • Week 2

o   Chapter 20 – Binary and Ternary Forms

  • Week 3

o   Chapters 21 and 22 – Mode Mixture and the Neapolitan Chord

  • Week 4

o   Chapters 23 and 24 – Augmented Sixth Chords

  • Week 5 and 6

o   Chapter 28 – An Introduction to Twentieth-Century Music

  • Week 7, 8 and 9

o   Review for AP Music Theory Exam

o   Take practice free-response questions