Music Theory

Essential basic skills

  • You can read music fluently in several parts (e.g., solo part and accompaniment) with [in] at least G  and clefs. You can easily recognise note names, even in the highest and lowest registers. You know how to follow an orchestral score.
  • You know key signatures in both the major and minor keys. You can apply your knowledge of tonality and key signatures in practical situations (e.g., transposing) and recognize keys when reading music.
  • You can identify and notate intervals, triads and seventh chords including inversions, and distinguish their different qualities (e.g. major, minor, perfect, diminished and augmented intervals).
  • You know how to notate rhythm in music, including the most common time signatures, note durations and rhythmic patterns. You can notate rhythmic structures clearly when writing music down.
  • You are interested in expanding your knowledge of the musical repertoire by listening and reading – even beyond the repertory of your own instrument. You can make observations about the progress, structure and stylistic features of music.
  • You have found practical and personally helpful methods for the study of harmony. You know how to use playing, singing and writing to explore how chords and intervals function as elements of musical expression. You have some experience in harmonising melodies and writing second voices to melodies.
  • You can analyse harmony, harmonic rhythm and chord degrees in tonal compositions using a score. You can notate and build triads and seventh chords using both chord degrees and chord symbols.

You can support your studies with the following skills:

Reading music

  • You can "browse" a complicated score and recognise turning points in the progression of music. You are even ready to rehearse contemporary music, where the notation may demand case-by-case interpretation.
  • You can read music written for different instruments, with varying textures and different clefs. You can utilise the score in practical music making such as chamber music.
  • You can read music written for transposing instruments.

Music analysis

  • You can describe your personal ways of experiencing and perceiving music. You can recognise musically important moments in different pieces and observe factors that make up the structure of the piece, including texture, instrumentation, homophony or polyphony, recurring gestures, or other structures.
  • You can write and use chord symbols for diatonic and the most common chromatic chords, including inversions. You understand how harmonic functions and chord degrees relate to each other in tonal music. You can utilise your aural and harmonic skills in analysing repertoire.
  • You can employ harmonic analysis as a tool for understanding complete pieces of music. You can recognize keys and find cadences and modulations when reading a score. You can distinguish which tones are part of the harmony and which are non-harmonic tones.
  • You can adjust the level of detail when analysing music. For example, you can judge when chord-degree analysis is applicable as an analytical approach. You are interested in making analytical observations even on post-tonal and modal music, and in finding suitable analytical approaches to them.
  • You know how to find sheet music and recorded material for your musical studies.


  • You can compose lower voices to melodies or inner voices to music and use various intervals in practice. You can perceive some typical uses of different intervals in music that you hear or read. You can accompany and harmonise melodies and create bass lines.
  • You know the basics of voice leading and are able to employ them in simple tasks, e.g. connecting chords in progressions.
  • You are aware of how the use of intervals and chords varies between different styles and periods of music.
  • You can make harmonic reductions, e.g. find structurally important tones, the "backbone" behind harmonic and melodic progressions in music. You understand how the backbone can be elaborated by melodic figuration and expressive gestures.
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