The School of Music offers the following major and minor programs. Follow the links to view information about admission and course requirements in the UA undergraduate catalog.
- General Music (BA)
- Composition (BM)
- Jazz Studies (BM)
- Music Administration (BA)
- Musical Audio Engineering (BSAME)
- Music Education (Choral or Instrumental)
- Music Therapy (BM)
- Theory (BM)
- Performance (BM)
Preparing for Courses in Music Theory
All freshman music majors are required to enroll for MUS 115: Theory I in their first semester. The theory faculty recommend that students acquire at least the basic musical skills listed below before entering MUS 115.
- Using treble and bass clefs, be able to read and write notes on the staff.
- Be able to quickly identify and write signatures for all major and minor keys. Know the relative and parallel minor of each major key; know the relative and parallel major of each minor key.
- Be able to quickly identify and write all major and minor (natural, harmonic and melodic) scales.
- Be able to write and identify major, minor, perfect, augmented, and diminished intervals. Know the inversion of any interval.
- Be able to write, clap, and count simple rhythm patterns.
- Be able to sing major scales using letter names or scale-degree numbers.
- For students who have experience in sight singing and ear training, practice singing and dictating simple diatonic melodies. Practice singing major and minor scales in all keys.
Note: Information about note reading, key signatures, scales, and intervals can be found in most theory texts. If you plan to study a theory text to acquire skills beyond those listed above, we recommend Harmony and Voice Leading, 2d ed. (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc. 1978) by Edward Aldwell and Carl Schachter.
Undergraduate Transfer Examination in Music Theory
All transfer students who wish to receive credit for music theory courses taken at other institutions are required to take a placement examination. The examination, which is given 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
Special emphasis is placed on the music of the common-practice era.
Students take one of two examinations, depending upon the number of course hours they wish to transfer. One test draws upon materials covered in the first two semesters of the core music theory sequence at the University of Alabama and consists of portions of the final examinations from those semesters; the other draws upon materials covered in the third and fourth semesters of that sequence and consists of portions of the final examinations from those semesters.
Preparing for the Exam
In preparation for the examination, students may wish to review one or more standard undergraduate textbooks. We recommend the following:
- 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. The table below lists the chapters covered in each semester of that sequence.
- Semester 1 (MUS115): chapters 1-10; 20, 21
- Semester 2 (MUS117): chapters 11-19; 23, 25, 26
- Semester 3 (MUS215): chapters 22, 24, 27, 28, 29
- Semester 4 (MUS217): chapters 30-32
- 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.
- Scales, Intervals, Keys, Triads, Rhythm and Meter, a programmed text by John Clough, Joyce Conley, and Claire Boge, published by Norton
- Form in Tonal Music by Douglas Green
- Form in Music by Wallace Berry
Piano Proficiency Exam
All music majors* must successfully pass MUA 124 (Class Piano IV) or MUA 299 (Piano Proficiency Exam) prior to graduation. Should a student wish to be exempt from any part of the Class Piano sequence, the student may register for and take the Piano Proficiency Exam. The exam takes place on the last day of classes each semester. The exam may be administered at the beginning of a semester with the permission of the class piano instructor.
It is recommended that the MUA 299 Piano Proficiency Exam be taken at least four semesters prior to a student’s anticipated graduation.
The requirements for the Piano Proficiency Exam (MUA 299) can be found here: Piano Proficiency Exam
*Piano and organ majors are required to complete a separate technique proficiency exam as part of their sophomore qualifying exam. Non-keyboard majors pursuing the Bachelor of Arts in Music degree are not required to complete the piano proficiency exam.
Transfer Students: STARS Area V
Thank you for your interest in The University of Alabama and our major. Please click here to see information for the STARS Area V block.