AP Music Theory is an advanced course for students who will be majoring in music at the university level. The goal of this course is to develop a student’s ability to recognize, understand, and describe the basic materials of music. The study is by the development of the student’s aural, sight-singing, written, compositional, and analytical skills through the use of music literature. Students are encouraged to take the Advanced Placement Examination in Music Theory.

Prerequisites:  1) Instructor approval, 2) current active participation in a music ensemble or private lessons, 3) music reading ability, and 4) basic instrumental or vocal performance skills.

Syllabus and Grading Policy


A Brief History of Musical Notation

Scientific Pitch Notation (SPN)


Circle of 5ths

Staves and Clefs

Physics of Sound

Pitch and Frequency

Pitch and Frequency 2

Overtone Filter

Overtone Filter 2

Overtone Series

Timbre and Complex Waves

The Harmonic Series

Frequency and Harmonics

The Harmonic Series Part 1 Leonard Bernstein

The Harmonic Series Part 2 Leonard Bernstein

Key Signatures

Simple Meter

    Simple Meter Terms Chart

Compound Meter

Relative Minor Key Signatures and Scales


    Popular Interval Song MP3's

    Interval Songs You've Actually Heard Of

    Interval Chart

Parallel Minor Key Signatures and Scales

Alternative Modes and Scales


     Triad Study Sheet


7th Chords




Accompaniment Styles

Non Chord Tones

    Non Chord Tone Chart

4 Part Chorale Writing

    Part Writing Errors Cheat Sheet

Chord Progressions

    Harmonic Function

    Harmonic Function 2

Chord Types and Tendencies

Figured Bass

    Figured Bass Chart

Secondary Dominants Video

    Leading Tone Chords Video

Motivic Development

Pivot Chords for Modulation Dr. Watson

    Barrons AP Music Theory on Key Relationships


    Binary-Ternary-Rounded Binary

    Other Types of Form

    Sonata Allegro Form

Lead Sheet Notation

Classroom Resources:

Note Taking Page - with music staff on the bottom

Note Taking Page - with music staff on the side

Sight Reading Semester 1 - Packet

Dictation Semester 1 - Packet

Counting Simple Meter - Packet

Counting Compound Meter - Packet

Rhythmic Dictation Resource

Online Resources:

College Board AP Music Theory Exam Information

Aural Lessons and Dictation Practice

Music Theory Terminology/Videos/Links

Music Theory Review

Quizzes/Practice Links

Form Terminology and Examples

Tonal Music Theory Examples from the Classical Repertoire

Theta Music and Ear Training Games

Teoria Music Theory Tutorials

Music Analysis Links

Many Varied Resources

Music Theory for Musicians and Normal People (one page review sheets)

Tone Savvy

Petrucci Music Library -  public domain music library

A Tour Through Musical History

Compose, play and print your sheet music using free software: 



Audio Files:

12 Bar Blues (listen to the awesome bass line)