Skip to main content

School of Music

Admissions

Upcoming Dates

The next test date is Tuesday, August 23, 2016 from 1:00-3:00pm. Sign up for the Placement tests HERE

All incoming undergraduate students must take the Placement tests. These do not affect any grades, but are simply used as a tool to place you in the correct course(s) when you start enrolling at Sac State.

Theory/Piano Placement

THEORY PLACEMENT INFORMATION
Please review the placement exam details below. During Orientation you will be advised to enroll in the level of music theory matching your current skill level. Please direct questions to the Music Advisor at Orientation.

Level A Exam for placement into Music 4 or Music 5
For students with minimal theory background including most first-semester freshman music majors. Harmony exam covers music theory fundamentals including key signatures, meter signatures, intervals, major and minor scales, triads. Aural theory exam covers identification of intervals, scales, and triads; melodic dictation, vocal reading.

Level B Exam for placement into Music 6 (Intermediate Theory)
For students with an excellent high school theory background or one semester of college theory. Harmony exam covers intervals, triads, harmonic analysis including all diatonic triads, non-harmonic tones, phrases, cadences, and part-writing in chorale style with figured bass. Aural theory exam covers identification of intervals, triads, melodic dictation, harmonic dictation, and vocal reading.

Level C Exam for placement into Music 7 (Advanced theory)
For students with two semesters of college theory or the equivalent. Harmony exam covers seventh chords, harmonic analysis including secondary dominants, modulation, part-writing in chorale style from figured bass or Roman numerals including seventh chords and secondary dominants. Aural theory exam covers identification of seventh chord qualities, melodic dictation, harmonic dictation, and vocal reading.

Level D Exam for placement into upper division theory courses
For students with three or more semesters of college theory. Harmony exam covers harmonic analysis including secondary dominants, borrowed chords, Neapolitan and augmented sixth chords, chromatic mediants; harmonization and part-writing including all altered chords. Aural exam covers harmonic dictation including all altered chords, aural analysis of form and cadences in classical song forms or rondo, and vocal reading.

Recommended Study Materials
These materials are recommended for students who wish to review for placement exams. These materials are widely available in college bookstores, college libraries, and sheet music stores such as Byron Hoyt Music in San Francisco.
  • Level A: Bruce Benward & Barbara Jackson: Practical Beginning Theory- A Fundamentals Worktext. W.C. Brown Pubishers.
  • Level B: Ralph Turek: The Elements of Music, Volume I. McGraw- Hill Publishers. Chapters 1-9. (This is a required textbook for Music 5 and 6)
  • Level C: Ralph Turek: The Elements of Music, Volume I. McGraw- Hill Publishers. Chapters 10-19. (This is a required textbook for Music 5 and 6)
  • Level D: Ralph Turek: The Elements of Music, Volume II. McGraw- Hill Publishers. (This is a required textbook for Music 7)

PIANO PLACEMENT INFORMATION
You will be placed in a class piano level based on a careful assessment of your current ability level.  If you find that you have an unavoidable conflict with your assigned class time, it is your responsibility to discuss this conflict with your teacher within the first week of classes. If, within the first 3 weeks of class, you feel that you have been placed in an inappropriate level, please feel free to discuss this with your teacher.

In your placement evaluation we will assess your current knowledge of and ability to do the following:
  • Major and minor scales
  • Chord progressions
  • Melodic transposition
  • Sight reading

If you wish, you may prepare a piece of your choice. At the time of your piano placement we will also do a brief evaluation of your aural skills. This, along with the aural portion of your theory placement exam, will provide us with an additional, more individual picture of your needs. This evaluation will cover interval identification, sight singing and rhythm reading. Students who pass the exit exam for 14D will not be required to take class piano. All students must continue to enroll in class piano until the 14D exit exam has been passed.