Graduate Dates & Resources

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DMA Common Exam Dates & Procedures

Those planning on taking one or both of the Common Exams should register with Dr. Lance Brunner, Director of Graduate Studies at least one week prior to the date of the exam.

Music History and Literature

Music History Common Exam
Thursday, September 9, 2021, DMA 9am- 12pm;  PhD 9am - 1pm

Students may optionally take exams on a laptop computer with the following conditions: 

  1. The use of the Internet is forbidden, and
  2. the hard drive shall contain NO material related to the examination.The exams will be written and copied onto a “clean” external jump drive, which each student will provide. The exam may not be copied to or remain on the computer after the exam. The completed exams will be printed from the jump drive by the DGS and photocopies of the exam will be supplied to the two DMA Qualifying Examination committee members for grading.
  3. A description of the DMA and PhD exams, as well as the specific topics to study, can be found at the following links:
    1. DMA Music History Exam Topics | Fall 2021
    2. PhD Music History Exam Topics | Fall 2021

Suggested sources for review:

  • Grout and Palisca; A History of Western Music (W.W. Norton) 
  • Stolba; The Development of Western Music: A History (W.C. Brown) 
  • Pen; Introduction to Music (McGraw-Hill)

Music Theory

Music Theory Common Exam
Friday, September 10, 2021 DMA & PhD 9am- 12pm

No computers are allowed for the theory portion of the common exam. A score packet and student answer packet, which provides pages for all needed responses, will be provided.  All that is needed for the theory exam are pencils. Please note that phones are not allowed in the examination room.

Doctoral Theory Common Exam Preparedness
Content and Tips
Terms to Know

The graduate entrance exam in music theory is comprised of two parts: aural skills (50%) and written music theory skills (50%).

Aural Skills

This exam consists of approximately 25-30 questions presented in fill-in-the-blank and multiple-choice format, and contains listening examples on the following:

  • interval identification
  • scale identification
  • sonority identification
  • melodic identification
  • harmonic identification
  • contextual listening

Written Theory

This exam consists of two parts:

  • Theory and Fundamentals of Harmony (25-30 question)
    • voice-leading
    • intervals and chords
    • scales and collections
    • rhythm and meter
    • non-harmonic tones
  • Form and Analysis (15-20 questions)
    • key areas 
    • cadences 
    • harmonic analysis 
    • atonal analysis / set theory
    • form and score analysis
Created 08/14/2021
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Last Updated 10/07/2021