Incoming students are placed into one of CIM's music theory courses based on diagnostic test results.

  • MUTH 101 (Music Theory and Aural Skills I) is the music theory course designed for typical first-year students at CIM.
  • MUTH 101i (Intensive Music Theory and Aural Skills) is for students whose diagnostic test results indicate they do not yet possess the skills or knowledge for placement into MUTH 101. MUTH 101i is bolstered by the co-requirement MUTH 101i Lab (Intensive Music Theory I Lab), which augments MUTH 101i with an additional 20 minutes of drilling and practice each weekday. 

What to Expect

The two courses cover roughly the same material, with MUTH 101i meeting an additional 20 minutes each day. The four main areas of study include written harmony, keyboard harmony, sight singing and aural training. Learn more about these core topics.


Core Topics

The four areas are taught side-by-side.

  1. Written harmony: Includes written harmonizations of chorale melodies, realizations of figured basses, and harmonic analysis of musical examples.
  2. Keyboard harmony: Illustrate all concepts from (1) at the piano keyboard. Emphasis is on chorale harmonizations using idioms as well as realization of figured basses. Also harmonization of folksong melodies and other keyboard exercises.
  3. Sight singing: Sight singing of melodies in treble, bass, and alto clefs using fixed-do solfège.
  4. Aural training: Melodic and harmonic dictation.

Ways to Prepare

  • Learn scales, key signatures and intervals this summer.
  • Knowledge of the keyboard and the ability to play scales, intervals and triads will help you considerably. Ask your piano teacher to focus on theory fundamentals as well as learning pieces.

Additional Resources

  • We recommend studying a theory textbook such as, “Concise Introduction to Tonal Harmony” by L. Poundie Burstein and Joseph N. Straus.
  • Online source for tutorials and exercises.
  • Online sight-singing materials
  • Music Theory Database: An online database of harmony and voice-leading examples compiled by CIM’s Dr. Timothy Cutler.