Graduate Diagnostic Examination in Music History

All entering graduate students are required to take a diagnostic examination in music history before they may enroll in music history courses at the graduate level. The examination is administered one or two days before the beginning of the term in which the student first enters graduate school. It includes sections on all historical periods of Western art music, beginning with the music of the Middle Ages and continuing, period-by-period, through modern music.

The examination includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Biographical information on important composers from each period, as well as knowledge of representative works by these composers.
  • Genres, formal structures, and characteristics of style associated with specific composers or musical periods.
  • Innovations of specific composers, theorists, performers, etc.
  • Schools of composition, performance, etc., and the effects on music in their respective periods.
  • Central concepts and information concerning the context in which important musicians were active, such as aesthetics, social history, performance practice, and intellectual and artistic movements.

Students will be required to identify major works in a listening examination.

In preparing for the examination, students may wish to consult the materials used in undergraduate music history courses at The University of Alabama, listed below:

Text: J. Peter Burkholder, Donald Jay Grout and Claude V. Palisca, A History of Western Music, 7th ed., New York: W.W. Norton and Co., 2006.

Anthologies: J. Peter Burkholder and Claude V. Palisca, eds., Norton Anthology of Western Music, 5th ed., Vols. 1 and 2, New York: W.W. Norton and Co., 2006.

Recordings: Claude V. Palisca, ed., Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music, Vols. 1 and 2, New York: W.W. Norton and Co., 2006.

Graduate Diagnostic Examination in Music Theory

All entering graduate students are required to take a diagnostic examination in music theory before being allowed to enroll in music theory courses at the graduate level. The examination, which is administered one or two days before the beginning of each term, includes but is not limited to the following.

  • Melody harmonization in chorale style
  • Diatonic and chromatic harmony and part-writing
  • Roman numeral/figured bass analysis
  • Figured bass realization
  • Analysis of form
  • Counterpoint (16th- or 18th-Century; your choice)

Special emphasis is placed on the music of the common-practice era.

In preparation for the examination students may wish to review one or more standard undergraduate textbooks. We recommend the following.

Part-writing and Analysis

Harmony and Voice-Leading, Edward Aldwell & Carl Schachter. New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1989. This is the textbook used in the first four semesters of the core music theory sequence at the University of Alabama, and is the one we most strongly recommend. Other texts that cover essentially the same material include Allen Forte’s Tonal Harmony in Theory and Practice and Robert Gauldin’s Harmonic Practice in Tonal Music.

For those who feel the need to review the rudiments of music we recommend Scales, Intervals, Keys, Triads, Rhythm and Meter, a programmed text by John Clough, Joyce Conley, and Claire Boge, published by Norton.

Form

Form in Tonal Music, Douglas Green

Form in Music, Wallace Berry