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Fundamentals of Music

Course Number: MUS 110
Transcript Title: Fundamentals of Music
Created: February 26, 2013
Updated: December 19, 2014
Total Credits: 4
Lecture Hours: 40
Lecture / Lab Hours: 0
Lab Hours: 0
Satisfies Cultural Literacy requirement: No
Satisfies General Education requirement: Yes
Grading options: A-F (default), audit

Prerequisite / Concurrent

WR 115 or equivalent placement test scores

Course Description

Covers the basic concepts of music: pitch, rhythm, meter, intervals, modes, scales, harmony and music notation. Introduces the science of sound and music theory terminology. Begins development of musical performance skills through singing, clapping and performance on the piano keyboard. Also includes basic aural skills. Course intended for non-music majors and to prepare students for further music theory study. Prerequisite/Concurrent: WR 115 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course the student will be able to:

  1. Begin the formal study of music theory as it is applied in the music of the Western World.
  2. Use learned applied keyboard, rhythm and singing skills in order to build the foundations of musicianship.
  3. Listen critically using the building blocks of music in order to better understand the diverse musical styles of the world and what makes the music of each culture unique.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Methods used to evaluate student progress and the criteria for assigning a course letter grade should be made clear by the instructor at the beginning of the course. The individual instructor will determine the method of assessment. Assessment methods may include:

  • Qualitative and/or quantitative examinations
  • Homework assignments
  • Listening assignments
  • Concert reports
  • Research project
  • Class participation

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  • The six elements of music
  • Notation of rhythm
  • Nature of sound
  • Notation of pitch
  • The piano keyboard
  • Simple meter
  • The recorder
  • Compound meter
  • Borrowed rhythms
  • Major scales and keys
  • Intervals
  • The circle of fifths
  • Minor scales and keys
  • Root position and inverted triads
  • Basic musical design (form)
  • Introduction to harmonic function


The following skills are expected to successfully meet the minimum requirement of "C" of "Pass" for the course.

  • Read and interpret basic melodies in treble and bass clef.
  • Locate specific pitches on the piano keyboard.
  • Label pitches by letter name and Hertz.
  • Visually and aurally determine the meter of a musical composition.
  • Visually identify and notate major and minor scales.
  • Visually identify the key of a basic musical work.
  • Visually identify and construct intervals.
  • Visually identify and construct basic triads.
  • Determine the form of a basic musical work.
  • Provide an harmonic analysis of a basic diatonic composition.