Music Theory

At the University of Maine, the music theory sequence undertaken by music majors is the same for everyone during the first two years. The information below is intended to assist interested persons for preparatory purposes as well as general information.

The 2-year sequence is comprised of 4 courses: MUY 111, Elementary Harmony I, offered Fall semesters only; MUY 112, Elementary Harmony II, offered Spring semesters only; MUY 211, Advanced Harmony I, offered Fall semesters only; and MUY 212, Advanced Harmony II, offered Spring semesters only. The prerequisite for MUY 112 is the successful completion of MUY 111; of MUY 211, the successful completion of MUY 112; and of MUY 212, the successful completion of MUY 211. All of this information may be found in the University’s Undergraduate Catalog.

Approximately the first 6 weeks of MUY 111 is devoted to the fundamentals of music, that is: the materials of music; notation; scales, key, and modes; intervals and transposition; and chords. It is recommended that students who feel that they are not ready for this work through a text in the Fundamentals of Music (or take a course of this type offered through a high school, community college, or local college or university), of which many are available, from a variety of publishers. People who are interested in a text that coordinates with those used at the University of Maine are referred to the one published by McGraw-Hill. Students who are not ready for MUY 111 are referred to MUY 101, Fundamentals of Music, as a preparatory course. Be apprised that MUY 101 is not part of any music major curriculum and will most likely require additional time for the completion of an undergraduate degree in music.

The music program offered at the University of Maine is a traditional one in that it is approved by the National Association of Schools of Music, as well as other national accrediting bodies. Therefore, there is a responsibility to offer courses which will eventuate in the development of well-rounded and versatile musicians, capable of assuming their place in today’s diverse musical community, be it in education, in the performing world, in graduate school, or in the musical life of the community. In the music theory area, this means that students will be exposed to and expected to demonstrate competence in all areas of music theory, including the “classical,” jazz, musical theater, and popular domains. Some of these overlap, and capable musicians in any genre are, sometimes surprisingly, well-rounded and knowledgeable.

At the University of Maine, there is no test for placement in the Harmony (music theory) sequence. All students begin with MUY 111, Elementary Harmony I. Exceptions are occasionally made for transfer students from other accredited undergraduate programs, and require transcript evaluation and usually a test. Advanced Placement Credits (AP) are accepted on the following schedule: a score of 3, 4, or 5 will excuse students from MUY 101, Fundamentals of Music (this is the core theory course for Music Minors, incidentally); and a score of 5 only, and the successful completion of a test given by special arrangement, will excuse students from MUY 111.

Finally, there is no provision at this time for taking a proficiency test which would excuse students from any or all of the sequence.

In the junior and senior years of study, students may take a variety of courses in specialized theory and composition topics. All music students need to take at least 5 credit hours of these upper-level theory classes, which include courses in jazz improvisation, composition, orchestration, counterpoint, twentieth-century techniques, and advanced analysis.

The following text is currently in use at the University of Maine for the Harmony sequence:

Turek, Ralph and McCarthy, Daniel, Theory for Today’s Musician, Rutledge, New York and London, c2015. Third Edition.

ISBN 13:978-0-8153-7171-7 (hardback)

ISBN: 978-1-351-24626-2 (ebook)