Music Theory III Syllabus for 2021-2022
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Instructor Information

Office Location

MB 306

Office Hours


Course Information

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MUSI-2311-001 Music Theory III


Corequisite: MUSI 2116

Course Description

Advanced harmony voice leading, score analysis and writing of more advanced tonal harmony including chromaticism and extended-tertian structures. Optional correlated study at the keyboard.

Student ResourcesStudent Resources Website

Department Expectations

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Notice to Students enrolled in an educational program for preparation of issuance of certain occupational licenses:

Students enrolled in an educational program in preparation for obtaining certain occupational licenses are potentially ineligible for such license if the student has been convicted of an offense. For further information, please contact:

Melodie Graves
Justice Involved Advocate
Student Service Center 117
Make appointment at

You can also contact the Legal Clinic, or the faculty member in charge of the educational program that you seek to enroll in. The further information you will receive will include notification to you of your right to request a criminal history evaluation letter from the licensing authority in order to clarify your particular situation.


(3 sch; 3 lec, 1 lab)

Class Type

On Campus Course

Syllabus Information


Kostka, Payne, and Almen:  Tonal Harmony. McGraw Hill, 8th edition.  [ TEXT AND WORKBOOK ]

Additional materials will be provided in class.


1. Manuscript paper

2. Pencils

3. Textbooks

4. Additional handouts provided in class

Student Performance

STUDENT PERFORMANCE/LEARNING OUTCOMES: After studying the materials presented in this course of study, the student should be able to do the following:

A. Be able to identify keys, tonality and/or modality by understanding the function of various notes and chords.

B. Be able to identify harmonic treatment in the historical time periods from the Classical period to the Twentieth Century.

C. Gain an understanding of chromatic chords, including Neapolitan 6ths, Augmented 6ths, and altered dominants.

D. Gain an understanding of extended diatonic chords, including 9th, 11th, and 13th chords.

E. Be able to identify and understand the construction of the following musical forms: sonata-allegro, rondo, sonata-rondo, and variation.

Students Rights and Responsibilities

Student Rights and Responsibilities

Log in using the AC Connect Portal

In order to receive your AC Connect Email, you must log in through AC Connect at .

If you are an active staff or faculty member according to Human Resources, use "Exchange". All other students, use "AC Connect (Google) Email".

Expected Student Behavior

1.  Attend all classes

2.  Practice concepts outside of class

3.  Form learning groups with classmates and other students who have taken the class.

The student will be courteous, professional, and respectful when addressing a Professor/Instructor as well as his or her peers.  

The use of cell phones during class time will NOT be permitted under any circumstances.  Likewise, laptop computers and other personal devices should be used only as would generally be considered beneficial to learning and study, with recreational and social use falling well outside these constructs unless specifically allowed by the instructor.  The instructor reserves the right to confiscate any device, electronic or otherwise, should it prove to be a distraction to the student or class in general, and a repeated offense will result in an automatic failing grade for the course.

Students will submit all assignments at the start of the class period on the date due.  The Instructor reserves the right to lower (at a rate of one letter grade per 24 hour period) the grade of any assignment turned in late.  “My computer crashed” is not an acceptable excuse.  Nearly all such “emergencies” can be avoided by planning ahead, starting, and completing work well in advance of the posted due date.  Any request for extension on the due-date of an assignment must be submitted in writing 48 hours in advance of the date in question.

Grading Criteria


Syllabus Quiz 5%

Mid-Term Exam 25%

Final Exam 25%

Research Project 15%

Class Presentation  10%

Class Preparation, Participation, and Quizzes  20%

Attendance is addressed below and may significantly impact grade. 

Homework is required for in-class discussions.  If homework is not completed on a daily basis, the instructor reserves the right to lower the student’s final grade.

Final Grade is based on the following scale:

A= 90-100%

B= 80-89%

C= 70-79%

D= 60-69%

F= Below 60%


 ATTENDANCE POLICY:  Consistent attendance in this class is crucial from a skills-building perspective, and punctuality is a critical life skill in the music profession.  Therefore, a student's final grade may not exceed the student's attendance average, unless by mutual agreement with the instructor due to extenuating circumstances.  Every tardy recorded will be considered 1/2 of an unexcused absence in calculation of the final attendance average.  

Make a habit of arriving early to class, and you will thank yourself.


Aug 23 / 25  -  Syllabus and Parts 1, 2, and 3 Review

Aug 30 / Sep 1  -  Brief Guide to Research (TBD)  Chapter 16

Sep 6  -  NO CLASS (Labor Day)

Sep 8  -  Chapter 16

Sep 13 / 15  -  TOPIC PROPOSALS DUE  |  Chapter 17

Sep 20 / 22  -  Chapter 18

Sep 27 / 29  -  Chapter 19

Oct 4 / 6  - Chapter 20

Oct 11 / 13  -  REVIEW  |  MIDTERM EXAM

Oct 18 / 20  -  NO CLASS (Fall break)

Oct 25 / 27  -  Chapter 21  |   RESEARCH CHECK-UP

Nov 1 / 3  -  TOPIC #1 DEBATE  |  Chapter 22

Nov 8 / 10  -  TOPIC #2 DEBATE  |  Chapter 23 

Nov 15 / 17  -  TOPIC #3 DEBATE  |  Chapter 24

Nov 22  -  TOPIC #4, #5, etc. DEBATE

Nov 24  -  NO CLASS (Thanksgiving departures)

Nov 29 / Dec 1  -  Chapter 25   |  RESEARCH ESSAYS DUE

Dec 6 / 8  -  Review | FINAL EXAM (no exam during finals week)

[ regularly assigned exam time conflicts with music juries ]

This course outline is a rough estimate for the material in this semester’s course.  The Instructor reserves the right to alter this course outline in order to best facilitate the course.

Additional Information

REQUIRED EXAMINATIONS: There will be two major exams (Mid-Term and Final Exam) and occasional quizzes. The Final Exam will be held on the day and time found in the Amarillo College schedule of classes and will be comprehensive, as Music Theory builds on itself.


RESEARCH PROJECT: Students will write a 5-page (minimum, not including title page, internal quotes, pictures, and bibliography, all of which are also required) argumentative essay exploring one of the following questions:

  • Bach:  “Innovator or Assimilator?”
  • Bach:  “Classical Artist or Worship Leader?”
  • Beethoven:  “Classicist or Romanticist?”
  • Brahms:  “Classicist or Romanticist?”
    • [other composers from various periods may be similarly evaluated]
  • Musical periods:  “Classical or Romantic?”
  • 21st Century:  “Creating or waiting?”
  • Serialism:  “Music or math?”
  • Fugue:  “Genre or Form?”
  • Rachmaninoff:  “Cosmopolitan or Nationalist?”
  • Tonality in Music:  “Nature or nurture?”
  • Musical progression:  “Vertical or horizontal?”
  • Augmented 6th chords:  “Real or renegade?”
  • Music theory:  “Rules or reflections?”
  • MUSIC:  “Objective or subjective?”
  • OTHER TOPIC (approved by instructor)

The student will "take a side" in the paper and form concise arguments for their point using well researched material.  The student will acquaint themselves with opposing views in order to better understand the issue and form more convincing arguments from a particular point of view.  NOTE: The student does not need to personally hold the viewpoint for which they are arguing.

The paper will be submitted in both .doc(x) and .pdf file format, according to the following specifications:

- 12 point, Times New Roman font, double spaced

- 1 inch margins

- All pages numbered

- Either Chicago or MLA formatting for citations and bibliography. BE CONSISTENT.

No deviations from this formatting are allowed, and failure to adhere to these instructions will result in an automatic loss of one letter grade per item.

Students should begin the process of choosing a topic as early in the term as possible and should pair up with another classmate willing to argue an opposite side in the debate suggested by the question.  Students should frequently discuss their ongoing research with one another while preparing to argue different sides of the issue at hand.  Students will work together to prepare a joint topic proposal, which will reflect preliminary research and should include a brief overview (1 or 2 paragraphs) of the question and its implications.  The proposal will also include a short bibliography of at least FIVE scholarly sources likely to be used in the course of the project.  The proposal should follow the formatting guidelines listed above.  THREE COPIES of the proposal should be brought to class on the course calendar due date for signed Instructor approval (Instructor will keep one copy).  NOTE: One student may be permitted to argue both sides of a question in the event of an uneven class roster. Instructor approval required.

Student pairs will sign up for one of the appropriate "DEBATE" dates listed on the course calendar and will present in class their respective (opposing) arguments for how the assigned issue ought to be understood.  NOTE: Students may opt to refrain from sharing their final arguments with one another if they feel the spirit of the debate will be better served.  Students may prepare a joint powerpoint presentation, or individual presentations.  The use of musical examples (including audio excerpts) is strongly encouraged, as are thought-provoking visual images. 

The students must have all needed files for debate/presentation on an easily accessible drive/format (e.g. - CD, DVD, Thumb/Jump/USB drive).  The use of Google Drive or other cloud option during the presentation is strongly discouraged, due to likelihood of technical difficulties.  The student should verify IN ADVANCE OF PRESENTATION DAY that any hardware used in the debate is compatible with the classroom system.  Evaluation will occur on the basis both of preparation and presentation.  Be prepared!!

The students' peers and Instructor will offer feedback immediately following conclusion of the debate, and additional discussion of the issue may occur at this time.

The final essay should remain true to the form of an "argumentative paper," and as such should focus primarily on the student's ASSIGNED point of view, while making references to possible arguments from other viewpoints and how these may be addressed and/or rebutted.  However, the student's essay may also include a brief section (no more than 1 page) at the end explaining the student's personal thoughts as regards a "best answer" to the debate and how he or she came to that conclusion.  NOTE: Students will write their final essay completely independently of their debate partner, though resources may of course be shared.

It is the responsibility of the student to thoroughly research and understand both plagiarism and collusionary plagiarism.  Proper documentation and internal references are required.  Please choose one of the following styles and adhere to the rules of the chosen style:  MLA or Chicago Manual of Style.  No Internet sources may be used as references, unless the instructor approves the site in advance.  Only ask about viable/credible Internet sources.  


ACADEMIC INTEGRITY: Plagiarism and/or cheating on any level will not be tolerated (you will fail). Textbooks or notes cannot be used for examinations, and all work submitted is given to the Instructor with the assertion that the work (research, etc.) was completed by the student herself or himself.  Please always ask if you are at all unclear regarding proper use of information or resources in a given situation.  We are here to help each other, but stealing another’s ideas is absolutely unacceptable and will be dealt with accordingly.

QUESTIONS: This syllabus is only an outline of the course of study. If you should have any questions regarding any of the topics mentioned above, I will be happy to discuss them with you. No question is unimportant, and I look forward to working with you. Have a great semester!

DISCLAIMER: The instructor reserves the right to alter the syllabus based on the instructor's continuing evaluation of the course and class progress.  Students will be alerted to changes made.


Music Theory tutuoring policy for Advanced Theory and Ear Training classes

Any student who fails to complete 2 or more homework assignments by the stated due date, scores below a 50% on a quiz, or scores below an 80% on a unit test or midterm exam, will be requireid to attend a minimum of 1 hour of tutoring per week for the remainder of the term.  Any student who does not demonstrate fulfillment of this course requirement (or equivalent, as determined by the instructor) will not be permitted to take subsequent examinations.  Tutoring is available to all music students and recommended for consistent use throughout each week for assignment preparation and review of materials.


COVID-19 POLICIES (Fall 2020)

Class will be conducted in-person as allowable by Amarillo College, which will be taking its cues from city officials, AISD, and the governer's office.  

Students must abide by all AC-required health safety precautions, including:

          Masking, social distancing, and frequent hand sanitization are strongly encouraged, though not required.

A live-stream option for class attendance will be available for any student who is absent due to COVID-related concerns.  NOTE: Requests for live-stream attendance must be submitted in writing before the start of the class period(s) in question.

Rehearsals may be moved to a tech-supported structure (virtual meetings) at any time to align with College mandates or to address health concerns within the Music Department. 


OFFICE HOURS (Fall 2020)

     Posted outside office door (MB 306), and by appointment.

Syllabus Created on:

08/19/21 3:00 PM

Last Edited on:

08/26/21 3:34 PM