Music 2650

Aural Comprehension IV


David Loberg Code                               Rm 2315 Dalton Center

Western Michigan University               Phone: 7-4683, E-mail: CODE

School of Music                           Office Hours: M/T/R 10:40,

Summer I 2006                                         or by appointment


Link to Online Dictation Practice


      Music theory has one primary goal--to understand what we hear. Aural comprehension strives to produce a listener/performer who can perceive sound in meaningful patterns--developing a hearing mind and a thinking ear. This is achieved by the tandem development of two types of activities: listening and performance. Listening includes dictation, recognition or perception of musical events (e.g. error recognition, perception of meter), and ensemble skills. Performance includes sightreading, prepared performance, conducting, and improvisation. This course concentrates on tonal music from the Western classical tradition, utilizing the theoretical knowledge necessary for analysis and composition to develop the aural skills necessary for perception and performance. Mus 2650 is the final course in this sequence.



1. Stevenson and Porterfield. Rhythm and Pitch

2. CopyDesk Packet # (Syllabus and other material)

3. music staff paper (preferably in some kind of notebook)

5. metronome (available at area music stores or by mail order)



     The following is a preliminary schedule of the exams for the course and the value of each exam.

Date        COURSE OUTLINE (subject to change):

Mo, May 8   Modes (Unit 16) and Asymmetric Meters (Unit 13)

Tu, May 9   7th Chord Identification

Th, May 11

Mo, May 15 

Tu, May 16 

Th, May 17

Mo, May 22  Extended & Altered Tertian Melodies

Tu, May 23 

Th, May 25 

Mo, May 29  MEMORIAL DAY - No Classes

Tu, May 30  Performance Exam #1

Th, Jun 1  Written Exam #1

Mo, Jun 5  Polyrhythms, 9th Chord Identfication

Tu, Jun 6       

Th, Jun 8 

Mo, Jun 12  Metric Modulation

Tu, Jun 13  Interval Music

Th, Jun 15

Mo, Jun 19 

Tu, Jun 20 

Th, Jun 22

Mo, Jun 26

Tu, Jun 27  Written Exam #2, Performance Exam #2, (tba)


The written exams will include melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic dictation. The performance part will assess your sightreading skills and your ability to perform prepared materials in these same three areas. These will be conducted privately and will take from 5-10 minutes.

      Grading will be based upon a modular system which combines aspects of pass/fail and letter grade systems. The core of the course is pass/fail. Each exam will contain a designated set of mandatory Basic Skills items. To pass the course with an overall grade of 'C' you must pass each Basic Skills item with 90% accuracy (i.e. you need an 'A' for each Basic Skill) . The Basic Skills items will not be averaged together. In other words, you can not make up for failing the harmony section by getting A's on rhythm and melody. Don't count on riding by on your strengths; work on your weaknesses. You will only pass the course if you can demonstrate mastery of all of the Basic Skills.

The good news is that if your goal is to just pass the course, you only need to complete the Basic Skills portion. You may, however, choose to work for a higher grade by completing the Advanced Skills portion of each exam. Unlike the Basic Skills portion, the grades for the Advanced Skills will be averaged together at the end of the semester .

      In summary, the grading scale will be as follows:

A     Basic Skills + 90-100% average for Advanced Skills

B     Basic Skills + 80-89% Adv. Skills

C     Basic Skills only (all items)

DC    did not pass 1 Basic Skill

D     did not pass 2 Basic Skills

E     did not pass 3 or more Basic Skills


The above schedule and procedures in this course may vary according to the individual instructor and are subject to change in the event of extenuating circumstances.





      Attendance is expected for all classes. Any absence (including arriving late and leaving early) is regarded as an unexcused absence (with the exception of official tour dates and documented emergencies) and can effect your final grade. Your instructor is under no obligation to make-up missing materials or activities. If you miss a class, it is your responsibility to find out what you missed from other students. If a medical or family emergency prevents you from attending an exam, you must notify the instructor on or before the date of the exam (via voicemail, email, or a message left at the School of Music Office, 387-4667). Otherwise there are no make-ups for missed exams. For late assignments, a percentage point may be deducted for each day past the deadline.

      You are expected to participate fully in class. Talking, sleeping, eating, listening to headphones, and similar distractions are inappropriate in class. All cell phones and beepers must be turned off during class. If your phone should ring, please answer it outside and don't come back. Additional information about WMU's policies regarding student conduct and academic integrity can be found at: