Studies in the Music Theory and Composition Division begin with Music Theory I (MUSI 1121) and Aural Skills I (MUSI 1111), taken concurrently during the first semester of your freshman year.

Music Theory Placement
All music majors entering Music Theory I are expected to demonstrate competency in the fundamentals of music theory and notation on an online Music Theory Placement Test. Test content includes:

  • Pitch identification in treble and bass clefs
  • Major and minor scales and key signatures
  • Interval identification (distance between two pitches)
  • Major and minor chord construction
  • Basic identification of figured bass and inversion symbols

You will take the Music Theory Placement Test between the dates of May 16 and June 16 to confirm your readiness to take Music Theory I. This test will be available to admitted music students on GeorgiaView Vista in the course MUSI 0099: Rudiments for Music Majors. A grade of 80% or higher on this test is required to pass directly into Music Theory I. Students who do not pass this entrance exam are required to take four modules of MUSI 0099 and pass four quizzes by the end of July before being admitted into Music Theory I.  Please note that passing MUSI 0099 does not give you credits towards your music degree. Not passing MUSI 0099, however, may delay your graduation by a year due to the need for additional remediation in music theory (MUSI 1020). After successfully completing MUSI 1020 in the Spring Semester, you may then enroll in Music Theory I the next fall. Therefore, it is in your interest to prepare for and pass both the Music Theory Placement Test as well as the modules in MUSI 0099, if necessary.

How to Prepare for the Music Theory Placement Test
Use the web resources below to gain a thorough understanding of the fundamentals of music:

1. Notation of pitch and rhythm in treble and bass clefs – Pitch  Identification
2. Intervals – Interval exercises
3. Scales – Scale exercises
4. Key Signatures -- Key Signature Drill
5. Chords -- Chord Exercises

Here are a few self-contained FREE online courses:
Music Theory Flashcards
Online Music Theory Reference


Aural Skills Placement
In addition to the Music Theory Placement Test, all music majors will take a progressive Aural Skills Placement Test before the beginning of your first term at KSU. This will ensure that you meet the threshold requirements for the course. The test, given on Placement Test Day, has the ability to place students in six different ways: Aural Skills I (remedial), Aural Skills I (regular), Aural Skills II, Aural Skills III, Aural Skills IV, and out of the aural skills sequence. A grade of 70% or higher is required to pass out of each of the five sections of the test. Passing into the remedial section of Aural Skills I will not delay your date of graduation, although it will require a greater time commitment and workload on your part than with the regular sections of Aural Skills I. It is thus in your interest to study for the Aural Skills Placement Test.

The Aural Skills Placement Test involves primarily dictation: it will ask you to compare intervals and to identify and notate various elements of short melodies (contour, pitches, durations, meter). Students who demonstrate advanced levels of competency may be placed further along in the Aural Skills sequence.

How to Prepare for the Aural Skills Placement Test (incoming students)

To prepare, you may use web resources (, or CD-based ear training software (MacGamut 6, available at the campus bookstore). At Kennesaw State, the aural skills classes use MacGamut, so by using it before the exam (in the “regular,” not practice mode) you may save yourself time in the aural skills classes.

To test into Aural Skills I (regular), one must master the following skills:

1. be able to compare the size of different intervals (smaller/larger)


To work on skill no. 1, try the “interval ear trainer” on, or “intervals”     (levels 1-3) in MacGamut

2. be able to recognize the correct rhythm (about 5-7 notes) from various choices

          To work on skill no. 2, try “rhythm dictation” (levels 1-3) in MacGamut

3. be able to recognize the correct melodic pattern (about 5-7 notes) from various choices

          To work on skill no. 3, try “melodic dictation” (level 1) in MacGamut

Transfer Students–Transfer Credits & Placement Tests
Testing Out of Courses (Advanced Standing)
Music Theory Sequence
Composition Studies


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