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Last modified: 28 Jun 2018 10:27

Course Overview

This course will begin with the fundamentals and quickly move to a higher standard. Early weeks will cover key concepts such as note names, clefs, octaves and note values. This will lead on to governing concepts of Western tonal music - primary triads, cadences, chord progressions and basic voice leading. The course will progress on to the beginnings of more complex harmony, counterpoint and stylistic study. At all times these fundamentals will be accompanied by contextual information - both historical and cultural - aiming to create an initial appraisal of musicology and its place in musical study. 

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 1
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Old Aberdeen Sustained Study No
Diagnostic Test

This course has a diagnostic test which you must take before selecting this course. More information about the Diagnostic Tests

  • Professor David J Smith

Qualification Prerequisites


What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Either Programme Level 1 or Programme Level 2
  • Music (MU)
  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?

  • MU1036 Fundamentals of Music Theory (Studied)
  • MU1052 Composition and Theory (Studied)

Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

Course Aims

This ten week course is designed to provide a fundamental knowledge of how music works and to ensure musical parity in all students as they progress to the later years and more advanced sections of the degree.The course deals, in the main, with harmony and counterpoint, the lexicon of music, musical appreciation and introduces basic musicology and composition.

Main Learning Outcomes

1) To demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the fundamental concepts of Western tonal music
2) To apply methods of aural and written analysis to all musical endeavours
3) To be able to use notation effectively and (where appropriate) with performers
4) To demonstrate knowledge and understanding of various approaches and methods, with particular understanding of practices and idioms of music in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries
5) To be able to use skills developed in more formal compositional contexts and to deploy techniques learned effectively
6) To have the musical 'tools' that can be applied to all musical endeavours
7) To give all students the confidence, belief and skills to progress in the later stages of the degree

Further Information & Notes

Entry to either the BMus or MA honours programmes, or entry to BMus Designated Degree is required. On beginning the BMus degree, all students will take a diagnostic harmony/theory test - those who do not meet the required standard will be required to take this course. Students who pass the diagnostic musicianship test are not permitted to take this course.

Students must be able to read and write music.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

1st Attempt: Two pieces of submitted work (50%) and one two-hour exam (50%).

Resit: Students resubmit any work forming part of the submission that may have failed (100%).

Formative Assessment

Students will be required to complete regular work that will be assessed in a formative manner in tutorials. Satisfactory completion of formative work is required for students to take the exam.?


Oral feedback on work in lectures and tutorials. Written feedback on submitted work. Constant feedback on formative work on a weekly basis.  Students can obtain face to face feedback on work from course-coordinator during Office Hours.

Course Learning Outcomes


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