MUS-121: Music Theory I

Course Information

Course, prefix, number, & title: MUS-121 Music Theory I

Hours (Class, recitation, Laboratory, studio): 3 class hours, 1 studio hour

Credits: 3

Course Description in college catalog:

Designed to provide declared A.S. music majors with a solid theoretical understanding of the fundamentals of music. The basics of notation and rhythm are covered as well as the common diatonic scales, intervals, and chords used in tonal music. There is an accompanying keyboard and ear training component to the class that prepares the student for MUS-132 (Piano II) and MUS-124 (Sight Reading and Ear Training II). This course is intended for MUS-AS students only.

Academic programs for which this course serves as a requirement or an elective:

A.A.S. Music Production

A.S. Music

General Education Outcomes: Below is a listing of General Education Outcome(s) that this course supports.

  1. Communicate effectively in various forms

  2. Use analytical reasoning to identify issues or problems and evaluate evidence in order to make informed decisions

Course-specific student learning outcomes:

1. Music Theory and Keyboard Harmony I is designed to give students a solid foundation in music theory

  • The elements of rhythm and meter both simple and compound
  • Key signatures, the circle of fifths and the relationships between the major/minor scales
  • All intervals and their inversions
  • All common triads and seventh chord types in both root position and inversion including figured bass
  • The common diatonic chords, both major and minor with corresponding Roman numerals.

2. Students will be able to apply these fundamentals as they learn the basics of functional tonal harmony and style.

  • Create simple harmonic motion by connecting root position chords using the three types of root motion
  • Control the spacing of the chords while effectively following the principle of voice leading as dictated by the common style
  • Realize examples of these concepts on the keyboard
  • Identify these elements in an analysis of select musical examples from the historical literature (Baroque and Classical)

3. The student will be introduced the basics of counterpoint and its impact on the common style through the study of species counterpoint.

  • Write in first species counterpoint
  • Perform these counterpoint exercises as well as examples of similar counterpoint from the historical literature individually and in small groups
  • Identify the influence of the species counterpoint in select musical examples from the historical literature

Program-specific outcomes

Prepare students who wish to transfer to a four-year institution of higher learning to pursue a career in music by providing a solid foundation in the areas of musicianship and performance.

Provide the general college students with the opportunities to study music in a variety of classes that promotes intellectual inquiry, global awareness and lifelong active learning.

Other program outcomes (if applicable).

  1. Integrate knowledge and skills in the program of study

  2. Make ethical judgments while recognizing multiple perspectives, as appropriate in the program of study

  3. Work collaboratively to accomplish learning objectives

Methods by which student learning will be assessed and evaluated; describe the types of methods to be employed; note whether certain methods are required for all sections:


Academic Integrity policy (department or College):
Academic honesty is expected of all students. Any violation of academic integrity is taken extremely seriously. All assignments and projects must be the original work of the student or teammates. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Any questions regarding academic integrity should be brought to the attention of the instructor. The following is the Queensborough Community College Policy on Academic Integrity: "It is the official policy of the College that all acts or attempted acts that are violations of Academic Integrity be reported to the Office of Student Affairs. At the faculty member's discretion and with the concurrence of the student or students involved, some cases though reported to the Office of Student Affairs may be resolved within the confines of the course and department. The instructor has the authority to adjust the offender's grade as deemed appropriate, including assigning an F to the assignment or exercise or, in more serious cases, an F to the student for the entire course." Read the University's policy on Academic Integrity opens in a new window(PDF).

Any student who feels that he or she may need an accommodation based upon the impact of a disability should contact the Office of Accessibility Services in Science Building, Room S-132, 718-631-6257, to coordinate reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities. You can visit the Office of Accessibility Services website.

Campus Cultural Centers

Kupferberg Holocaust Center exterior lit up at nightOpens in a new window
Kupferberg Holocaust Center Opens in a new window

The KHC uses the lessons of the Holocaust to educate current and future generations about the ramifications of unbridled prejudice, racism and stereotyping.

Russian Ballet performing at the Queensborough Performing Arts CenterOpens in a new window
QPAC: Performing Arts CenterOpens in a new window

QPAC is an invaluable entertainment company in this region with a growing national reputation. The arts at QPAC continues to play a vital role in transforming lives and building stronger communities.

Queensborough Art Gallery exterior in the afternoonOpens in a new window
QCC Art Gallery

The QCC Art Gallery of the City University of New York is a vital educational and cultural resource for Queensborough Community College, the Borough of Queens and the surrounding communities.