Format and Scoring
The Basic Musicianship Test consists of 50 questions on a fundamental level which cover both the pitch and rhythmic components of music. These questions are divided into two sections: aural and written. The aural section constitutes 50% of the test, the written the remaining 50%. All answers are in a multiple-choice format. The student indicates answers by darkening circles on a computer-graded answer sheet.
For the aural section, the examples are played from a CD. Each example is heard twice. This section takes approximately 15 minutes. The remaining 45 minutes are then available for the written section.
Each question is worth two points; thus the possible total is 100. A score of 70 or higher is necessary to demonstrate proficiency. In the event that a student scores lower than 70 points, there are two options: 1) to take a rudimentary theory course (T109), or 2) to retake the Basic Musicianship Evaluation no later than the following semester and score 70 or above. Once a student takes T109, the option to retake the test is no longer available. Students whose best score on the BMT is below 50 may not take the first semester of the required undergraduate music theory sequence (T151) until they have passed T109. Students whose best score on the BMT is at least 50 but below 70 may enroll simultaneously in T109 and T151 in the fall semester.
See BMT Schedule
Question Categories and Explanation of Terminology
Part A - five melodic intervals to identify
Part B - five harmonic intervals to identify
Part C - two scale types to identify
Part D - five chords to identify
Part E - three melodic fragments to recognize
Part F - three bass lines to recognize (each the bass of a five-chord progression)
Part G - two rhythm patterns to recognize
Part A - four intervals to identify and one to invert
Part B - three scales to identify
Part C - five key signatures to identify (major and minor keys) and one relative key to identify
Part D - five chords to identify
Part E - six questions on rhythm, meter, and tempo
All intervals are identified by quality and numeric size, e.g., M6 (major sixth), m2 (minor second), +4 (augmented fourth), °5 (diminished fifth). Augmented or diminished intervals are not included in the aural section; they are included in the written section. Melodic intervals are performed with the two notes played successively; harmonic intervals are performed with the two notes played simultaneously.
The chord types included on this test are major, minor, augmented, and diminished triads and the major-minor (dominant) seventh. Questions on scale types include major, natural minor, harmonic minor, and ascending melodic minor.
All rhythmic notation conforms to standard beaming practice. Throughout the test, examples are given in both the treble and bass clefs.
Part A. Melodic intervals. Identify each interval. An example is played twice.
1. Identify the interval played
Part E. Melody.
2. Which example is played? (Choose "e" if none.) A short melody is played twice.
Part F. Bass of chord progressions.
3. Choose the bass line of the chord progression played. (Choose "e" if none.) A five-chord progression is played twice.
Part C. Key signatures.
4. Which of the following is the key signature for F# minor?
Part E. Rhythm, meter, tempo.
5. Which note value completes this measure:
a. b. c. d. e. none
Selected Fundamentals Materials for Beginning Music Theory
(High School and College/Adult Students)
Benward, Bruce and Barbara G. Jackson. Practical Beginning Theory: A Fundamentals Worktext. McGraw-Hill, 8th edition, 2000. Comprehensive book covering pitch materials, rhythm, melodic structures (including beginning form), and diatonic harmony. Has both written and ear training materials. Instructor's resource manual; CD.
Bland, Leland D. Basic Musicianship. Prentice-Hall, 1989. Covers basics of rhythm and pitch as well as scales, melody (including variation and improvisation techniques), and harmonization with basic chords. Exercises.
Clough, John, Joyce Conley, and Claire Boge. Scales, Intervals, Keys, Triads, Rhythm and Meter. W.W. Norton, 3rd edition, 1999. Programmed book; exercises to be done individually with CD and score anthology.
Duckworth, William. A Creative Approach to Music Fundamentals. Schirmer/Thomson Learning, 9th edition, 2007. Comprehensive text with many exercises and musical examples from a variety of styles.
Harder, Paul and Greg A. Steinke. Basic Materials in Music Theory: A Programmed Course. Prentice-Hall, 12th edition, 2009. Instructor's Manual. Extensive course which can be studied individually.
Henry, Earl. Fundamentals of Music. Prentice-Hall, 5th edition, 2008. With CD of intervals, scales, triads.
Kolosick, J. Timothy and Allen H. Simon. Explorations, A New Approach to Music Fundamentals using the Macintosh. Mayfield, 2nd edition, 1999. Musical notation, rhythm, scales, intervals, chords; with instructor's manual and software. Musical examples (sound and music for performance).
Manoff, Tom. The Music Kit. W.W. Norton, 4th edition, 2001. Workbook, rhythm reader, and scorebook, CD. Also CAI version and CD-ROM. Wide variety of tunes (including folk and popular melodies).
Nelson, Robert and Carl J. Christensen. Foundations of Music: A Computer-Assisted Introduction. Wadsworth/Thomson Learning, 6th edition, 2006. Dual platform CD-ROM.
Ottman, Robert and Frank Mainous. Rudiments of Music. Prentice-Hall, 4th edition, 2004.
White, Gary. Music First! McGraw-Hill, 5th edition, 2006. Anthology and tutorial CD-ROM. Pitch and rhythmic materials; harmonic system; introduction to harmonizing and composing; musical structure. Singing and playing examples on electronic keyboards, guitar, etc.