This unit further develops key concepts in functional music theory that musicians need to understand and apply in performance, composition, arrangement and musicological environments. It focuses on further analysis and construction of melody, harmony and rhythm. Students learn advanced transposition techniques, further analysing chords and their relationship to scale systems and cadences. Students learn to recognise and construct polyrhythms and polymeter and to understand and construct counterpoint and polyphony. Students also learn how to transcribe basic melody and rhythm.

Unit details

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Unit code:


ACO2009 - Music Theory 2

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Analyse and interpret major and minor triads, extended, augmented and diminished chords, and cadences;  
  2. Analyse and interpret polyrhythms and polymeter;  
  3. Apply advanced transposition techniques;  
  4. Analyse and interpret syncopation, accent and feel within the context of a notated score;  
  5. Contextualise melodic development and stylistic characteristics within a notated score; and  
  6. Transcribe melodies and rhythms.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Test 5 x 5% progressive in-class tests week 2-6 (equivalent to 750 words). 25%
Test 5 x 5% progressive in-class tests week 7-11 (equivalent to 750 words). 25%
Examination Written and aural examination (120 minutes, equivalent to 1500 words). 50%

Required reading

Music theory: a practical guide for all musicians,
Tagliarino, B. 2006,
Milwaukee, WI: Hal Leonard.

A geometry of music: harmony and counterpoint in the extended common practice,
Tymoczko, D. 2011,
Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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