Etheory Grad Review

Graduate Music Theory Review

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Comprehensive, integrated online graduate theory review course focusing on tonal harmony, counterpoint and post-tonal practice through writing, analysis, listening, playing, and singing


eTheory: Graduate Music Theory Review


eTheory: Graduate Music Theory Review serves as the perfect tool and aid to review undergraduate theory in preparation for graduate level placement exams and classes.

This course allows you to work at your own pace, with most students finishing sometime between three and six weeks. Skills, exercises, and drills appear in order of relevance in the Western musical canon, and course materials range from basic music theory fundamentals and species counterpoint to 20th century topics. To assist in the review process, sample answers are provided for over 70% of the exercises.

Eastman’s course is fully integrated, and includes:

  • Conceptual presentations and demonstrations
  • Written and analytical exercises drawn from the literature
  • Skill development through singing, listening, and playing

For eTheory: Graduate Music Theory Review, you will need access to a computer (PC or Mac), a printer, headphones, a piano keyboard, and a pencil.

Interested in eTheory: Graduate Music Theory Review? Here is the Course Syllabus, describing the topics and concepts you can expect to review.


Module 1: Musical Time and Space

Students will review crucial components of music including clefs, diatonic scales, intervals, melody, triads, figured bass, Roman numerals, and seventh chords. The students will also review the building blocks of meter and rhythm, and engage in musical skills such as the reading, conducting, and aural dictation of simple musical examples.


Reading and singing music while conducting
Singing, notating, and memorizing pitch & rhythm
Demonstration of concepts at the keyboard

Module 2: 16th Century (Renaissance) Counterpoint

Students will engage in writing, singing, playing, aural comprehension and notation of two-voice counterpoint in the traditional species style. Beginning with note-against-note (first species), the student will learn to handle pure consonance. The student will then explore species 2-5 through playing, singing, aural dictation, and other listening exercises.


Reading and singing while conducting
Demonstration of concepts at the keyboard

Module 3: The Common Practice – Harmonic Implications of Two-Voice Counterpoint

Students will review diatonic harmonic models, three strong root motions, and root position triads. Exercises will include writing in four voices while extrapolating implied harmonies from one or two given lines.

The student will also explore the phrase model while learning to distinguish between chord motions that are weak, and chord motions that are important in moving the phrase through the basic tonal plan: tonic, pre-dominant, dominant, and tonic.

Module 4: Bass as Melody – Contrapuntal Expansions Using First- and Second-Inversion Triads

Students will learn that the bass is not only a harmonic generator, but is also important as a melodic entity. The connection between the two voices in Module 2 is made explicit in Module 4. The student will explore the idioms that composers use in every tonal work while reinforcing their understanding of contrapuntal expansions of harmonic functions.

Module 5: Seventh Chords and Small Formal Units

Students will apply their knowledge of dissonance treatment from Module 2 (16th century counterpoint) to the chordal member of the seventh, the main focus of Module 5. Students will also master the use of these sonorities and their inversions in the ever-increasing two- and three-chord idioms that combine to create the phrase model. Finally, students will be able to identify, label, and compose larger units of music and the period.

Module 6: Melodic Embellishments and Harmonic Sequences

Students will be introduced to the remaining melodic embellishment, including both unaccented and accented embellishments. They will also work with harmonic sequences to understand their functions, identify them quickly, write them, and embellish them with the newly-learned melodic decorations. The following melodic embellishments will be explored: passing tones, neighbor tones, suspensions, anticipations, and appoggiaturas.

Module 7: Applied Chords, Modulation, and Binary Form

Students will be prepared to deal with functional leading tone chromaticism. Beginning with basic applied chords and extending their use to sequences—all within a very local context—students will understand how applied chords can be developed and elaborated by extended tonicization (modulations.) Students will be able to deal with harmony, form, melody, motive, in the first and arguably most-important complete form that we will encounter: binary.

Module 8: Baroque (18th Century) Counterpoint: Melody, Two-Voice Writing, Double Counterpoint, Imitation, Invention, and Fugue

Students will be exposed to the world of 18th century contrapuntal techniques. They will learn that a simple Baroque melody is filled with harmonic implications, and that these implied harmonies are often cast in such a way that two or more voices emerge, which clarify the harmony. Students will also be able to instantly recognize implied harmonies in two voices and will engage in the writing of florid logical counterpoint in Bach style. In addition, students will be introduced to invertible counterpoint imitation at the octave and fugue analysis.

Module 9: Other Chromaticism

Students will engage in the advanced concepts of modal mixture, chromatic modulation, the Neapolitan, augmented sixth chords, enharmonic modulation, and common-tone harmonies. Students will be able to distinguish between applied-chord chromaticism and chromaticism involved in modal mixture and analyze, compose phrases, and realize figured basses that incorporate a variety of modal mixture harmonies.

Module 10: Large Tonal Forms: Ternary, Rondo, Sonata, and Sonata Rondo

Students will be able to compare and contrast, easily identify, and learn the terminology of the traditional large forms found in tonal music. Ternary, Rondo, Sonata, and Sonata-Rondo forms will each be explored and worked with in depth.

steve_laitz2Steven Laitz
Dr. Steven Laitz has served as professor of Music Theory at the Eastman School of Music, and is Chair of the Theory and Analysis department at the Juilliard School. He is the Director of the Gail Boyd de Stwolinski Center for Music Theory Pedagogy at the University of Oklahoma, Executive Editor of Music Theory Pedagogy Online. He has delivered lectures and presented master classes in the U.S., Europe, China, and has served as Visiting Professor at the New England Conservatory and the Hale School in Perth, Australia. Laitz is the author of The Complete Musician: An Integrated Approach to Theory, Analysis, and Listening (OUP) and Graduate Review of Tonal Theory: A Recasting of Common-Practice Harmony, Form, and Coutnerpoint (with Christopher Bartlette). He has created three theory web tools for Eastman's Institute for Music Leadership: eTheory: Music Theory Fundamentals in 4 weeks, eTheory LIVE: Interactive Music Theory Classroom, and eTheory:Graduate Music Theory Review.

Dr. Laitz's lectures are amazing! He is very fun to listen to and watch, always keeping my attention. I even learned new things about topics which I was already familiar. - Anastasia, 2017