Entrance Exams in Musicology and Music Theory

The Frost School of Music requires certain incoming graduate students to take entrance exams in Musicology and Music Theory prior to enrolling in courses. Graduate students are expected to be well-prepared for these exams. Any student who does not pass an entrance exam must fulfill a remediation requirement (explained below).  Students who do not fulfill the remediation requirement are subject to the following consequences:

 · For Masters degree students who do not fulfill the remediation requirement, the final project (i.e., defense of research, final recital, cumulative exam, etc.) will be cancelled and graduation will be delayed, possibly by an entire semester.  Students will be financially responsible for this extension of the degree program (i.e., students may need to enroll in and pay for additional credits).

 · Doctoral degree students who do not fulfill the remediation requirement will not be able to apply for Doctoral Committee Approval, as needed for Doctoral candidacy.  Consequently, such students will not be able to move forward with proposing and completing the doctoral essay, and thus graduation is likely to be delayed.  Students will be financially responsible for any resulting extension of the degree program (i.e., students may need to enroll in and pay for additional credits).

Who Should Take These Exams?
If you are pursuing one of the following degrees, you are required to take these exams:

Masters Degree Programs:
Master of Music in Musicology
Master of Music in Music Education (including Certification students)
Master of Music in Music Therapy (including Equivalency students)
Master of Music in Instrumental Conducting
Master of Music in Instrumental Performance
Master of Music in Keyboard Performance
Master of Music in Keyboard Performance and Pedagogy
Master of Music in Collaborative Piano
Master of Music in Composition
Master of Music in Digital Arts and Sound Design
Master of Music in Media Writing and Production
Master of Music in Choral Conducting
Master of Music in Vocal Performance

Doctoral Degree Programs:
Doctor of Musical Arts in Instrumental Conducting
Doctor of Musical Arts in Instrumental Performance
Doctor of Musical Arts in Keyboard Performance
Doctor of Musical Arts in Keyboard Performance and Pedagogy
Doctor of Musical Arts in Collaborative Piano
Doctor of Musical Arts in Studio Music and Jazz Instrumental Performance
Doctor of Musical Arts in Studio Music and Jazz Vocal Performance
Doctor of Musical Arts in Jazz Composition
Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition
Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting
Doctor of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance
Doctor of Musical Arts in Vocal Pedagogy and Performance

If you are pursuing one of the degree programs listed below, you are NOT required to take these entrance exams, however, you may be required to take and pass entrance exams in your major area.  Be sure to check with your advisor or program director regarding any major-specific entrance exam requirements.

Artist Diploma students
Master of Music in Studio Music and Jazz Instrumental Performance
Master of Music in Studio Music and Jazz Vocal Performance
Master of Music in Jazz Pedagogy
Master of Music in Studio Jazz Writing
Doctor of Philosophy in Music Education
  (with or without Music Therapy emphasis).
However, should PhD students wish to take courses in music theory, they will take the music theory entrance exam, Parts I and II, to help determine which courses are most appropriate for their ability level and career aspirations.  Students can take this exam at any point during their doctoral career.

If you are pursuing one of the degree programs listed below, you are not required to take or pass entrance exams of any kind: 

Master of Arts in Arts Presenting and Live Entertainment Management
  (with or without Juris Doctor)
Master of Music in Music Business and Entertainment Industries
  (with or without Juris Doctor)
Master of Science in Music Engineering Technology
Master of Music in Sound Recording Arts

What if I Already Took the Exams for a Previous Graduate Degree Here at the Frost School?
If you already took one or both of these exams and you either passed or fulfilled remediation requirements, then you do not need to re-take the exam.

When are the Entrance Exams Given?
The Musicology Entrance Exam will be given on Saturday December 10, 2016 from 10:30am-12:30pm in room 210 of the Weeks Music Library.  Please arrive on time and bring your own pen or pencil, as well as a picture ID (i.e., driver’s license, passport, Canecard, etc.).

The Music Theory Entrance Exam will be given on Sunday December 11, 2016 from 1:00pm-3:30pm in room 210 of the Weeks Music Library.  Please arrive on time and bring your own pen or pencil, as well as a picture ID (i.e., driver’s license, passport, Canecard, etc.).

You do not need to register in advance for either exam.  If you are pursuing a degree program that requires these exams, you are expected to take these exams on the dates given here.

What is the Exam Content, and How Should I Prepare?

The Musicology Entrance Exam:
This exam covers undergraduate knowledge of music history and literature and serves to ensure that students have sufficient background in these areas to succeed in their graduate coursework.  The content of the exam covers concert music from antiquity to the 21st century, and also makes significant reference to jazz.  This exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions and is organized into two parts.  In the first part, students will answer questions about listening examples that represent different styles and periods.  In the second part, students will respond to questions about musical terms, styles, genres, composers, and periods.

This link provides some sample questions for the Musicology Entrance Exam:
MCY SAMPLE ENTRANCE EXAM

How to Prepare for the Musicology Entrance Exam:
Students may find the following resources helpful in order to adequately prepare for the Musicology Entrance Exam:

Bonds, Mark Evan.  A History of Music in Western Culture, 3rd ed.  Upper Saddle River:  Prentice Hall:
Prentice Hall, 2010.  This book includes companion score anthologies and CDs.  More information appears on the publisher’s website: www.pearsonhighered.com

Burkholder, J. Peter, Donald Jay Grout, and Claude V. Palisca.  A History of Western Music, 8th ed. New
York: W.W. Norton, New York:  W.W. Norton, 2009.  This book includes companion score anthologies and listening materials).  Online study resources are also available, as well as a paper study guide that students have found valuable.  More information appears on the publisher’s website: www.wwnorton.com

Hanning, Barbara Russano.  Concise History of Western Music, 4th ed. New York: W. W. Norton, 2009.
This book also includes companion score anthologies and listening materials.  Online study resources are also available, as well as a paper study guide that students have found valuable.  More information appears on the publisher’s website: www.wwnorton.com

The Music Theory Entrance Exam:
The Music Theory Entrance Exam covers undergraduate knowledge of music theory and analysis and serves as a diagnostic tool to determine whether or not students have sufficient background in these areas to succeed in their graduate coursework.  The format of the exam consists of three parts:  Common Practice, Post Tonal Music, and Aural Skills. 

Part One: Common Practice

This portion of the Graduate Entrance Exam draws on the Common Practice repertoire to assess the student’s analytical skills. The scope of this portion includes:

 · Labeling using Roman Numeral Analysis of passages that may include chromatic (i.e., non-diatonic) sonorities
 · Identification of musical features, constructs and processes, including cadences, modulation, melodic and harmonic sequences, and non-chord tones
 · Formal analysis of pieces which may include Sonata, Rondo, and Ternary forms

References:

The Complete Musician by Steven G. Laitz
Tonal Harmony by Stefan Kostka, Dorothy Payne and Byron Almen
http://musictheoryexamples.com

Sample Common Practice Exam:
Sample Common Practice Exam

Part Two: Post Tonal Music

Specifically the student will need to know:
 · Twelve-tone Analysis:  Specifically students will need to know how to create a 12-tone array (which some call “12-tone matrix”) such that they can provide answers to questions such as:  “What is the third tone of I7 of the following row?”  They will also need to know terms such as trichord, tetrachord, hexachord, transposition, retrograde, inversion, and retrograde inversion. Note: we treat the first tone of a 12-tone row as zero (this is in contrast to other systems that choose treat the pitch C as being zero).
 · Set theory:  Students will be given a collection of pitches and asked to put the set in “normal form” and provide information regarding its interval vector.  Students will not be required to label the set type (Forte Analysis).
 · Pitch Collections and Scales:  Students will be expected to know modes, symmetrical scales, and other pitch collections commonly used in music of the 20th and 21st centuries.  A sample question might be, which of the following tones does not exist in F# Phrygian mode?
 · Harmonic materials:  Students will be expected to know 20th century harmonic constructions including quartal harmony, secundal harmony, extended tertian harmony, and clusters. They will also need to know the definitions of (and possibly identify on an excerpt) the use of bitonality, polytonality, pantonality, and planing.
 · Students are expected to know the harmonic series and be able to give the first 7 overtones to a fundamental. This is of particular importance to understanding basic issues of partwriting orchestration techniques, and spectral analysis.
 · Rhythm: Students will be expected to answer questions regarding rhythm practices of the 20th century including metric modulation, mixed meters, irregular meters, and added note rhythms.  A sample question might be: if quarter-note equals 60, and then the performer is instructed to make the half-note equal the quarter note, what is the new tempo for the quarter note?

References:

Materials and Techniques of Twentieth-Century by Kostka
Introduction to Post-Tonal Theory by Joseph Straus
Understanding Post-Tonal Music by Miguel Roig-Francolí

Part Three: Aural Skills

This portion of the test assesses aural recognition of harmonic structures (non-diatonic sonorities including Neapolitan, Augmented chords, secondary dominants, etc.), harmonic progressions (embedding non-diatonic sonorities), and pitch collections (including church modes and symmetrical scales).

Sample Aural Skills Exam:
Sample Aural Skills Exam

Preparing for the Aural Skills Test:

In preparation for the aural skills test, establish a consistent plan of practice using the free resources listed below. Keep in mind, however, that most software or free resources use abstract examples (i.e., not from real music).

Auralia
The most comprehensive Aural Skills software. (Available at the Mill, Coral Gables Campus.)

Ear Training Online
Listing and description of many available software programs

EarBeater
Customizable ear training exercises

Teoria
Interactive chord-building and ear-training exercises

The Musical Mind
Ear training exercises, including solfège, dictation, and chord identification

What Happens if I Don’t Pass an Entrance Exam?
Any student who does not pass an entrance exam must fulfill a remediation requirement (explained below).  Students who do not fulfill the remediation requirement are subject to the following consequences:

 · For Masters degree students who do not fulfill the remediation requirement, the final project (i.e., defense of research, final recital, cumulative exam, etc.) will be cancelled and graduation will be delayed, possibly by an entire semester.  Students will be financially responsible for this extension of the degree program (i.e., students may need to enroll in and pay for additional credits).

 · Doctoral degree students who do not fulfill the remediation requirement will not be able to apply for Doctoral Committee Approval, as needed for Doctoral candidacy.  Consequently, such students will not be able to move forward with proposing and completing the doctoral essay, and thus graduation is likely to be delayed.  Students will be financially responsible for any resulting extension of the degree program (i.e., students may need to enroll in and pay for additional credits).

Remediation Option 1: Students can prepare independently and retake/pass the exam at a later date.  Please note the following details in regard to exam re-takes:
 · Entrance exams will be given one time in August and one time in December of each academic year.
 · Students are allowed unlimited re-takes of the entrance exams.
 · Students who fail an exam (or part of an exam) can re-take just the portion that they failed.
 · Re-take exams may include the same questions as the original exam, or they may include different questions; however, the topics and difficulty level will remain the same.
 · Some suggested means of independent preparation include studying, working with a tutor, taking an online course, or auditing an undergraduate course here in the Frost School.
 · If a student chooses to audit an undergraduate course in order to prepare for the exam, the student will be charged 1 credit of tuition.  Additionally, course audit requires instructor permission.  An audited course does not appear on a student’s transcript.
 · Taking an online course or auditing a course does not replace successful exam completion and does not fulfill the remediation requirement; these are simply ways that a student may prepare independently for an exam re-take.
 · This option does not lengthen time toward degree and requires no additional cost.

Remediation Option 2: Students can enroll in and pass designated undergraduate courses.  Please note the following details in regard to this option:
 · Musicology and Music Theory faculty will identify the designated courses per each student’s particular deficiency.
 · A passing grade is C or higher.
 · Posting of a passing grade on a student’s official transcript for designated undergraduate courses in musicology and/or music theory will fulfill the entrance exam remediation requirement.
 · These designated undergraduate courses do NOT meet graduate degree requirements (i.e., these courses and credit hours cannot be counted toward the credit hours required for a graduate degree).
 · These designated undergraduate courses do NOT count as electives for a graduate degree.
 · These designated undergraduate courses DO count toward credit load during the semester in which they are taken.
 · These designated undergraduate courses are likely to lengthen time to degree and may be an added expense for the student.