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Important Updates

2019-20 AP Course Audit: What You’ll Need to Do

To give you more time to familiarize yourself with the new resources and supports launching in August, you will not be required to submit a syllabus for course authorization until the 2020-21 school year.

If you’re teaching a new AP Music Theory course in 2019-20, you’ll need to:

  • Submit a subject-specific AP Course Audit Form
  • Download the AP Music Theory unit guide

If you’re teaching a previously authorized AP Music Theory course, make sure your school administrator renews your course in 2019-20.

These steps will ensure that your course appears on the AP Course Ledger and you have access to online score reports in July 2020.

AP Course Audit

All schools that want to label a course “AP” must get authorization through the AP Course Audit.

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Designing Your AP Music Theory Course

Overview

The AP Music Theory course should be designed by your school to provide students with a learning experience equivalent to that of an introductory college course in music theory. Your course should develop a student’s ability to recognize, understand, describe, and analyze the basic materials and processes of music that are heard or presented in a score.

There are no specific curricular prerequisites for students taking AP Music Theory, although it is recommended that students have prior training in music either through lessons (voice or instrumental), participation in an ensemble, or an introductory rudiments/theory course.

Getting to Know the Course and Exam

The key document for each AP course is the course and exam description. Start by reviewing it to understand the objectives and expectations of the AP course and exam.

AP Music Theory Course and Exam Description

This is the core document for this course and is new for the 2019-20 school year. New unit guides clearly lay out the course content and skills and recommend sequencing and pacing for them throughout the year. The CED also more clearly outlines how material will be assessed on the exam, provides instructional strategies, and gives information on the AP Program in general.

Course Requirements

Your course must fulfill these requirements.

AP Music Theory curricular requirements:

  • The teacher and students have access to college-level resources including a music theory textbook in print or electronic format.
  • The teacher and students have access to audio equipment and materials that facilitate listening practice as well as a piano or electronic keyboard and sound reproduction equipment.
  • The course provides opportunities to develop student understanding of the required content outlined in each of the units described in the course and exam description.
  • The course provides opportunities to develop student understanding of the big ideas of the course.
  • The course provides opportunities for students to develop the skills in the following skill categories:
    • Skill Category 1: Analyze Performed Music
    • Skill Category 2: Analyze Notated Music
    • Skill Category 3: Convert Between Performed and Notated Music
    • Skill Category 4: Complete Based on Cues

AP Music Theory resource requirements:

  • The school ensures that each student has access to his or her own copy of a recently published college-level music theory textbook supplemented when necessary to meet the curricular requirements.
  • The school provides access to audio equipment and materials that facilitate listening practice for the students throughout the course.
  • The school ensures that each AP Music Theory classroom includes a piano or electronic keyboard and sound reproduction equipment. Please note that music played on a computer may not enable students to hear the bass, so such sound reproduction may not be ideal for this course. For recording, students can use iPads, computers, or handheld digital recorders. Chromebooks can be used during the course and may be used on the exam if permission is granted by the College Board by March 1.

The list below represents examples of textbooks that meet the curricular requirements of AP Music Theory. The list is not exhaustive and the texts listed should not be regarded as endorsed, authorized, recommended, or approved by the College Board. Not using a book from this list does not mean that a course will not receive authorization. Syllabi submitted as part of the AP Course Audit process will be evaluated holistically, with textbooks considered along with supplementary, supporting resources to confirm that the course as a whole provides students with the content delineated in the curricular requirements of the AP Course Audit.

The current editions of the following textbooks meet the AP Course Audit curricular requirements. Earlier editions of these texts or other textbooks not listed here may meet the AP Course Audit curricular requirements if supplemented with appropriate college-level instructional resources. For discussions regarding the usefulness of these texts and other teaching materials in the AP Music Theory classroom, please consult the AP Music Theory Teacher Community.

Written Theory: Harmony and Comprehensive Texts

  • Aldwell, Edward, Carl Schachter, and Allen Cadwallader. Harmony and Voice Leading. Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.
  • Benjamin, Thomas, Michael Horvit, Robert Nelson, and Timothy Koozin. Techniques and Materials of Music: From the Common Practice Period Through the Twentieth Century. Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.
  • Benward, Bruce, and Marilyn Saker. Music in Theory and Practice. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • Burstein, L. Poundie, and Joseph N. Straus. Concise Introduction to Tonal Harmony. New York: W. W. Norton.
  • Clendinning, Jane Piper, Elizabeth West Marvin, and Joel Phillips. The Musician’s Guide to Fundamentals. New York: W. W. Norton.
  • Clendinning, Jane Piper, and Elizabeth West Marvin. The Musician's Guide to Theory and Analysis. New York: W. W. Norton.
  • Gauldin, Robert. Harmonic Practice in Tonal Music. New York: W. W. Norton.
  • Henry, Earl, and Michael Rogers. Tonality and Design in Music Theory, Vols. 1 & 2. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
  • Kostka, Stefan, Dorothy Payne, and Byron Almen. Tonal Harmony. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • Laitz, Steven G. The Complete Musician: An Integrated Approach to Theory, Analysis, and Listening. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Mayfield, Connie E. Theory Essentials: An Integrated Approach to Harmony, Ear Training, and Keyboard Skills. Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.
  • Roig-Francoli, Miguel. Harmony in Context. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • Spencer, Peter, and Barbara Bennett. The Practice of Harmony. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
  • Steinke, Greg A. Harmonic Materials in Tonal Music: A Programmed Course, Parts 1 and 2. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
  • Straus, Joseph N. Elements of Music. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Anthologies for Music Analysis and Study

  • Benjamin, Thomas, Michael Horvit, and Robert Nelson. Music for Analysis: Examples From the Common Practice Period and the Twentieth Century. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Burkhart, Charles, and William Rothstein. Anthology for Musical Analysis. Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.
  • Clendinning, Jane Piper, and Elizabeth West Marvin. Anthology for The Musician’s Guide to Theory and Analysis. New York: W. W. Norton.

Aural Skills: Sight Singing, Ear Training, Keyboard, and Rhythmic Reading Texts

  • Benjamin, Thomas E., Michael Horvit, and Robert S. Nelson. Music for Sight Singing. Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.
  • Benward, Bruce, and J. Timothy Kolosick. Ear Training: A Technique for Listening. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • Benward, Bruce, and Maureen Carr. Sight Singing Complete. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • Durham, Thomas L. Beginning Tonal Dictation. Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press, Inc.
  • Hall, Anne Carothers. Studying Rhythm. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Pearson.
  • Karpinski, Gary S., and Richard Kram. Anthology for Sight Singing. New York: W. W. Norton.
  • Karpinski, Gary S. Manual for Ear Training and Sight Singing. New York: W. W. Norton.
  • Krueger, Carol. Progressive Sight Singing. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Marcozzi, Rudy. Strategies and Patterns for Ear Training. London: Routledge.
  • Ottman, Robert W., and Nancy Rogers. Music for Sight Singing. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
  • Phillips, Joel, Jane Piper Clendinning, Elizabeth West Marvin, and Paul Murphy. The Musician's Guide to Aural Skills, Vols. 1 & 2. New York: W. W. Norton.