MUS10190 Music Theory 1

Academic Year 2023/2024

This module introduces students to concepts of musical space and time, melody and two-part counterpoint, and triads, seventh chords and texture. Building on these elements the module examines the convergence of harmony, melody and rhythm and concludes in an examination of tonic and dominant as tonal pillars and introduces voice leading. At the end of the course, students will be able to understand and complete a figured bass analysis of a short piece in four-part harmony and harmonise short melodies in chorale style.
Students will also have weekly practical tutorials (laboratories) in keyboard harmony. The lectures will be supplemented by weekly tutorials in music theory and aural and sight reading skills.

Students who wish to take this module should note that musical literacy and a solid knowledge of intervals, scales and key signatures are expected. Students should have taken MUS 10020 or MUS 10210 beforehand.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module students should be able to:
- demonstrate a thorough knowledge of music theory and musical literacy
- explain and analyse the basic elements of tonal theory
- harmonise a chorale melody in four-voices using the chords of I, IV, V, vi, ii, V7, vii.
- analyse and realise a figured bass
- harmonise a short melody at the keyboard in keys containing up to 2 sharps and 2 flats

Indicative Module Content:

Chapters 3 to 15 of Burstein & Straus, Concise Introduction to Tonal Harmony (New York & London: W. W. Norton, 2016).

- Triads and Seventh Chords
- Figured Bass
- Four-Part Harmony
- Voice Leading rules
- Harmonic Progression
- Harmonising simple melodies in SATB format
- Species Counterpoint
- The Dominant Seventh Chord
- Use of I, ii, IV, V, vi, vii, vii° and first inversions.
- Analysis of harmony and ability to make harmonic reductions.
- Harmonisation of melodies at the keyboard

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours






Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Weekly lectures and small group tutorials.
Formative assessment through assignments during tutorials
Summative assessment through graded assignments and feedback from tutors
Autonomous engagement with online textbook resources
Practical learning in keyboard harmony groups 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Assignment: Three assignments during the trimester. Assignment 1 due in week 4 (5%), assignment 2 due in week 7 (10%), assignment 3 due in week 11 (10%). Varies over the Trimester n/a Graded No


Examination: Two-hour examination at the RDS with three questions. 2 hour End of Trimester Exam No Graded No


Continuous Assessment: Preparation, participation and progress as observed in weekly lectures and tutorials Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Continuous Assessment: Attendance, preparation and progress in Keyboard Harmony small groups Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No



Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment
• Self-assessment activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Attendance at lectures and tutorials is essential to progression in this module. Feedback will be provided individually and to the group within tutorials. Individual feedback is also available from the module coordinator during weekly office hours. Students are also encouraged to engage with the self-assessment activities available in the textbook and its online resources.

Burstein, L. Poundie & Joseph N. Straus, Concise Introduction to Tonal Harmony (2nd edition), W. W. Norton: New York and London, 2020.
Aldwell, Edward, Carl Schachter & Allen Cadwallader, Harmony and voice Leading (5th edition), Cengage: Boston, 2019.
Name Role
Ms Maddie Kavanagh Clarke Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Jonathan Pickett Tutor
Tegan Sutherland Tutor
Mr Connor Wilcox Tutor