Music Language 1: the Diatonic World

Subject 740-122 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 1 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2009:

On campus
For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 2 one-hour lectures and 1 one-hour tutorial per week
Total Time Commitment: 120 hours
Prerequisites: Offered as breadth with prerequisites: Faculty Musicianship Test, or permission of the coordinator
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements: It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability will impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and the Disability Liaison Unit.
Subject Overview:

An introduction to the elements and processes of voice leading during the period of triadic tonality through the study of species counterpoint and diatonic harmonic processes. Students are expected to attain a sound understanding of the elements and processes of voice leading and diatonic harmonic function within the Western musical tradition, and be able to write and sing fluent three-part contrapuntal textures, and four-part diatonic harmonic textures demonstrating their understanding of voice leading and harmonic processes through regular assignments. Students should also develop an awareness of counterpoint and harmony in composition through a close study of the thematic material of set works from the Western canon.


On completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  • compose a coherent contrapuntal texture in two or three parts and solve common voice leading problems
  • identify contrapuntal principles in a variety of tonal styles
  • harmonise a melody in four parts using all diatonic triads within the basic I-V-I tonal plan and create complex harmonic progressions through the use of seventh chords and applied dominants
  • realise a figured bass
  • identify chord function and analyse harmonic progressions in different musical textures.

Weekly music notation assignments including an analysis assignment (50%): two-hour end-of-semester examination (40%); aural recognition tests held end of semester (10%).

Students must complete all assessment requirements to pass the subject.

Prescribed Texts: Edward Aldwell and Carl Schachter. Harmony and Voice Leading. Belmont: Thomson Schirmer, 2003.
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills: Students who have studied this subject should develop and enhance:
  • analytical skills
  • skills in evaluative thinking, and in the application of theoretical criteria to practical outcomes.
Related Course(s): Bachelor of Music
Graduate Diploma in Music (Practical Music)

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