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Graduate Music Theory Proficiency Exams

During Orientation Week all incoming MM students take proficiency exams in Ear Training, Theory, and Music History. Entering MM students are expected to demonstrate knowledge and ability equivalent to that of students who have completed the BM course of study at The Boston Conservatory. The results of these proficiency exams determine the need to take any review courses. Students are expected to complete any review coursework within the first year of their MM program.

There are no make-up exams: students who do not take a Proficiency Exam during Orientation Week will be placed in the appropriate review course.

The day before spring semester classes begin Spring Start MM students have the opportunity to sit the Ear Training Exam. Students who fail a Theory or Ear Training Review Course may not resit the Proficiency Exam but must instead retake the failed course.

MM Theory Proficiency Exam

Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Seully Hall

Students are expected to be able to understand, imitate, and analyze standard modulatory techniques of the Common Practice Period. The Theory exam consists of:

  • short exercises in writing chromatically altered chords and progressions
  • harmonic analysis of an excerpt from a Chopin piano work
  • harmonic analysis of an excerpt from a Beethoven string quartet 

Recommended for Review
Marjorie Merryman
G. Schirmer
ISBN: 9780155026629

MM Ear Training Dictation Proficiency Exam

Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Seully Hall

Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Houston Hall

The Ear Training Dictation exam consists of:

  • transcription of intervals played both melodically and harmonically
  • transcription of standard chords
  • Roman numeral identification of simple harmonic progressions
  • rhythmic dictation incorporating ties and syncopations
  • two-part melodic dictation
  • aural recognition of time-signatures and metric patterns
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