Music Theory Placement

Music Theory and Aural Skills Placement
for Incoming Students

At Your Audition:

At your audition you will take a short Music Theory Placement Exam (link to practice exam below) that is used (along with your audition and your SAT scores, etc.) to determine admission and music theory/aural skills placement for your first semester. A second opportunity to take this exam is offered at summer orientation (below). After you complete this exam you will receive a summary of your results; the summary gives a percentage score and general feedback about your performance on various concepts tested on the exam. Use the results from this exam over the next several months to help guide your preparation for successful university music study at Fredonia. The Music Theory Placement Exam at your audition is taken at the computer; you will have at hand a MIDI keyboard to play and ”feel” for scales and chords, etc., and will be allowed to bring scratch paper and pencil.

The score you earn on the Music Theory Placement Exam at your audition will help to determine whether remediation is necessary. Students earning a score lower than 85% will be required to enroll in The Rudiments of Music during your first semester along with Music Theory I and Aural Skills I. The Rudiments of Music is a course for students who have not yet developed adequate competence with rudimentary concepts of music reading and construction.

At Summer Orientation:

If admitted to the School of Music you will have a second opportunity to take the Music Theory Placement Exam during the summer orientation process. This will be the final opportunity to take this exam for testing out of the Rudiments requirement.

Transfer Students and the AP Music Theory and Aural Skills Tests:

For transfer students and freshmen who have had more extensive music theory study before enrolling at SUNY-Fredonia a placement process occurs also during summer orientation so that students can place into more advanced courses as appropriate.

Students having earned a score of 4 or higher on the AP Music Theory Test are admitted to Music Theory II (MUS 124); those students having earned a score of 4 or higher on the AP Aural Skills Test are admitted to Aural Skills II (MUS 122). Visit the Office of Admissions for a listing of Advanced Placement Exams and Fredonia Equivalents:

On-Line Practice Test:

An on-line practice Music Theory I Placement Exam is available by clicking on the link below. To take the practice exam simply click on the exam link; you may come back to it as many times as you wish. When you finish the exam you will receive a score and an indication of the questions you answered correctly and incorrectly. There are fifty questions. Some advice to consider when taking exams like this:

• Don't dwell on questions that you can't answer right away; leave such questions alone and come back to them later.
• Answer all of the questions, even if you have to guess at some.
• When you finish the last question, go back and review your responses; use all of the time you have before submitting the exam.

Music Theory Fundamentals Placement Exam (Practice)

After you've taken the practice exam, download the answer key to see how you did!

Rudimentary Music Theory Study Prior to Your Summer Orientation:

The SUNY-Fredonia School of Music lists all general syllabi, texts, and materials currently used in our music theory classes on our music theory web page (

There are currently dozens of free and inexpensive music theory tutorials available on the Internet, such as (

An excellent, current, and comprehensive bibliography of music theory texts and materials, maintained by Mary Winnerstrom and Garry Potter is available in PDF format from Indiana University (

Another such bibliography is available from the Society for Music Theory (

The Eastman School of Music offers pre-college courses in music theory, including the AP music theory program, at their Eastman Community Music School (


School of Music Office

Mason Hall
State University of New York at Fredonia
Fredonia, NY 14063
(716) 673-3151
(716) 673-3154 fax