Graduate Diagnostic Exam

Guide to Entrance Examinations for All Entering Graduate Students

This exam is to be taken, as scheduled, during the registration period of the student’s first semester of study and is referred to as the Diagnostic Exam. Deficiencies revealed in this test will require the student to take either a follow-up version of this exam or courses specified by the examiner. The follow-up exam is referred to as the General Exam (master’s level) or Qualifying Exam (doctoral level). Students who do not take the Diagnostic Exam will automatically be required to take the General Exam/Qualifying Exam. Each student will have a maxi- mum of two attempts at the General Exam/Qualifying Exam; if she/he fails both times, she/he will be dropped from the program and the graduate school. Not taking an exam when it is scheduled also counts as a failure.

Entering doctoral students who are continuing directly from a master’s degree in UHM Music are exempt from taking parts I (Music History) and II (Music Theory) of the diagnostic/general exams, since the student has ful- filled this requirement. In Ethnomusicology and Composition, the student will also be exempt from part III. Musicology and Music Education doctoral students must take part III, the qualifying exam, upon entering the doctoral program.

The exams are offered in August (before the beginning of the fall semester), in January (before the beginning of the spring semester), and in the third week of April.

Students who enter in the fall semester will take the diagnostic examination in August. If the student does not pass any portion of the diagnostic examination she/he may re-take the examination in January and April or take the recommended course(s) between August and May and clear deficiencies in the first academic year of study by earning a grade of B or higher.

Students who enter in the spring semester will take the diagnostic examination in January. If the student does not pass any portion of the diagnostic examination she/he may re-take the examination in August and the following January or take the recommended courses(s) between January and December and clear deficiencies in the first year of study by earning a grade of B or higher. (N.B. Students who enter in the spring semester will be exempt from taking the April examination.)

Note: This is traditionally a two hour exam that must be passed by the end of the second semester of study.

This guide is intended to help graduate students prepare for the examination on Western music history and mu- sic literature. Since these diagnostic exams may vary somewhat in form and content, students should consult with musicology faculty responsible for testing on any specific test date.

To prepare for this test, students should use the Burkholder/Grout/Palisca History of Western Music, the Taruskin/Gibbs Oxford History of Western Music, and/or the Prentice-Hall series as a basis for study. They should also review major works and important repertories of music literature. Students may wish to use the outlines at the W.W. Norton website to guide their study.

The instructions for the first portion of the exam will read: “Briefly discuss the musical significance of the following names and terms.” Twelve or so names and terms will follow, distributed among the six major areas of Western music history. Allow two minutes for identification. For example:

Well-Tempered Clavier
Metastasio
Leonin
aleatory
Neue Zeitschrift für Musik
musica ficta

For the second portion of the exam, the instructions will read: “Three musical excerpts will be played for you. For each, give the period in which it was written, suggest a likely composer and an approximate date, and support your conclusions by listing audible stylistic features.” A score example will require similar comments. Allow five minutes for each answer. To prepare for this part of the exam, study an anthology of musical examples, such as the Norton Anthology of Western Music or Oxford Anthology of Western Music, and listen to its accompany- ing recordings.

The third and final portion of the exam will consist of three essay questions and will permit some choice. Allow one hour or more for this portion of the test.

Use the Table of Contents in Burkholder/Grout/Palisca, Taruskin/Gibbs, and/or the following outline to organize your study for the essay section of the exam.

Medieval
plainchant, Medieval secular song, Medieval instrumental music, early polyphony (organum, 850- 1200), 13th century vocal music, 14th century vocal music (France, Italy).

Renaissance
15th century vocal music (England, Burgundy); 16th century Catholic sacred music (Franco-Flemish, Counter-Reformation); 16th century secular vocal music (Italy, France, England, Germany); instrumental music in the Renaissance; 16th century Protestant sacred music.

Baroque
Baroque opera and secular cantata (Italy, France, England, Germany); Baroque sacred music, cantata and oratorio (Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican); Baroque chamber music; Baroque orchestral music; Baroque keyboard music.

Classic
Pre-Classic instrumental music (sonata, symphony, concerto); pre-Classic vocal music (opera, song, sacred music); Classic period forms and styles; Classic period orchestral music; Classic period chamber music; Classic period keyboard music; 18th century comic opera; 18th century opera seria.

Romantic
Romanticism in the arts and specific manifestations in music; Romantic solo song; Romantic choral music; Romantic keyboard music; Romantic chamber music Romantic orchestral music; 19th century opera (France, Italy, Germany); nationalism in Romantic music.

20th Century
impressionism; nationalism in the 20th century; neo-classicism; expressionism and the twelve-tone method; music after World War II; European avant-garde; American avant-garde; vernacular and cultivated traditions in 20th century America.

Students may also be asked to write an essay on one or more major composers of Western music (figures such as Josquin, Monteverdi, Bach, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, or Stravinsky).

  1. AURAL
    1. DICTATION: melodic in minor key, harmonic in major key, or vice-versa.
      1. MELODIC: one example in treble or bass clef.
      2.  HARMONIC: one chorale example, to include triads and 7th chords in root position and any inversion; chord types to include diatonic 7th and any chromatic chord (secondary V and viio, N6, and any of the augmented 6th types).
      3. SIGHTSINGING: two melodies, one in treble clef, one in bass clef; any major and minor key and any simple and compound meter may be represented.
  2. WRITING AND ANALYSIS
    1. PART WRITING: realize a given Roman numeral progression to demonstrate part writing skills and knowl- edge of all chord types listed under HARMONIC, above.
    2. FOUR PART REALIZATION of any chromatic chord and its normal resolution.
    3. MODERN HARMONY: be able to match any given nontraditional chord type with labels that are given (e.g., polychord, 13th chord, prime form), and vice-versa.
    4. ANALYSIS: Given a score of a movement of a piano piece, be able to do all of the following:
      1. Name two composers who may have written the piece.
      2. Identify the key of any passage that is selected.
      3. Locate and identify three types of cadences.
      4. Be able to provide an analysis of any given passage as follows: identify the key, give a Roman numeral analysis of the harmony, and circle or point to and identify each nonharmonic tone.
      5. Identify the form of the piece and provide detailed comments describing the form, pointing out the starting measure number and the key for each significant structural area and labeling each, as applicable, e.g., exposition, 1st theme, transition, 2nd theme, closing section, development, recapitulation, coda, etc.
    5. 20TH CENTURY KNOWLEDGE: Given excerpts of 20th century music, be able to describe the organizational principle(s) exhibited in each, e.g., use of non-traditional tonal systems, free atonality, polytonality, serialism, non-traditional treatment of rhythm and/or meter, etc.

Please note: master’s students must pass all three parts of the General Examination (music history, music theory and the area exam) before accumulating more than 18 credits toward the degree.

Ethnomusicology Majors Only

Both master’s and doctoral students take the ethnomusicology diagnostic/area exam, as scheduled, during the registration period of the first semester of study. If the student fails to take this exam or if the exam reveals substantial deficiencies, the student will be required to take courses specified by the ethnomusicology faculty.

Master’s level
This exam includes questions on world music discussed in texts such as Malm, Music Cultures of the Pacific, the Near East, and Asia; Nettl, Excursions in World Music; and Titon, Worlds of Music as well as on ethnomusicological approaches to the study of music in sociocultural context discussed in texts such as Merriam, The Anthropology of Music, Part II and III. The test also includes recorded examples for students to describe and identify (in terms of music-culture area, performance medium, genre, etc.), as appropriate to the required level of knowledge/ acquaintance. This is a two-hour exam.

Doctoral level
This exam is similar to the corresponding exam at the master’s level, but with more depth. Therefore, the description given for the master’s diagnostic exam also serves for the PhD qualifying exam. The exam includes questions on world music discussed in texts such as Blacking, How Musical is Man?, Malm, Music Cultures of the Pacific, the Near East, and Asia, and Nettl, Excursions in World Music (or Titon, Worlds of Music) as well as ethno-musicological approaches to the study of music in sociocultural context discussed in texts such as Merriam, The Anthropology of Music, Part II and III. Students will also identify prominent scholars in the field. The test includes recorded examples for students to describe and identify (in terms of music-culture area, performance medium, genre, etc.), as appropriate to the required level of knowledge/acquaintance.

Composition Majors Only

Both masters and doctoral students take the theory and composition diagnostic/area exam, as scheduled, dur- ing the registration period of the first semester of study. If the student fails to take this exam, or if the exam reveals substantial deficiencies, the student will be required to complete remedial work, including remedial courses, specified by the composition faculty. All remedial work must be completed by the end of the first year in the program.

This is a two-part written exam consisting of orchestration and counterpoint. Two hours are allowed for the entire exam, though students should plan on allotting more time for the counterpoint part than for orchestra- tion. The orchestration part consists of questions on basic knowledge of instruments, terminology, notation, open strings, normal techniques, transposition, how instruments are typically scored, finding errors in scoring/ notation, and instrumental makeup of the orchestra at various times. The counterpoint part consists of writing a portion of a three-voice fugue in 18th-century style (i.e. J.S. Bach). Given a subject, students will be asked to complete the exposition and continue through the first episode to cadence in a new key (where the first restate- ment would begin if the piece were to continue).

Music Education Majors Only

Each applicant needs to submit a videotape/DVD demonstrating current teaching expertise. Suggested mini- mum length of the videotape/DVD is 20–30 minutes. Applicants may include segments from more than one class session or rehearsal. A lesson or rehearsal plan must be included with the demonstration video.

Videotapes will not be returned unless a SASE is provided by the student with the application materials sent to the UH Music Department. Decisions concerning both requirements and evaluations are made by the music education faculty. Further information is available from the chairperson of the music education program.

Master’s level
The videotape serves as the General Examination for master’s level students in music education.

Doctoral level
The videotape serves as part one of the General Examination for doctoral level students in music education. Part two consists of a required diagnostic examination taken during the first semester of doctoral study.

Musicology Majors Only

Master’s level
The musicology area exam consists of questions on the field of musicology and current directions in research as discussed in a selection of recent scholarly publications. The reading list is updated on a regular basis by the musicology area and provided to students at the appropriate time. This testing will ideally take place before the end of the second semester of study. The student will arrange the exam time with his/her advisor.

Doctoral level
During registration week Ph.D. students planning to specialize in musicology will be asked to write an additional one-hour essay on a topic of musicological significance.

Performance Majors Only

Students enroll for Music 635 (alpha) for the first semester of study. At the end of the each semester, the Per- formance Committee schedules a fifteen minute audition for each graduate performance major during the board exams to determine the student’s next applied music course number: (a) Music 636, the master’s recital, (b) Music 635, which may not be taken for more than a total of three times, or (c) Music 331, which constitutes a failure on the first attempt at part III of the General Examination. If the student fails part III a second time he/ she is dropped from the program. In other words, once a student is accepted into the master’s performance program, Music 331 may be taken only once, unless otherwise directed by the applied committee. Board exams are heard by a jury made up of the applied music faculty. After admission in Music 636, the responsibility of the jury ends and a recital committee must be chosen immediately to: (a) approve the recital program, (b) hear the recital preview, which must be scheduled one month before the recital, (c) attend and judge the recital, and (d) administer an oral examination.

Suggested reading in preparation for the Diagnostic exams and the Master’s General and PhD Qualifying Exams

Music Theory Exam Area

(for all entering graduate students)

Below is a sample listing of some useful publications. Additionally, the student should look in to the many various sight singing and dictation approaches available in books or computer-assisted instruction format. Some publications come with tapes or CDs for dictation practice. There are also many published anthologies of music available in the market for practice in analysis.

  • Kostka and Payne. Tonal Harmony. (textbook and workbook)
  • Berkowitz, Fontrier, and Kraft. A New Approach to Sight Singing. Norton.
  • Burkhart, Charles. Anthology for Musical Analysis. Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.
  • Horvit, Koozin, and Nelson. Music for Ear Training.

Music History Exam Area

  • for all entering graduate students
    • Burkholder, P., Donald J. Grout and Claude Palisca. A History of Western Music. 7th edn. New York: W. W. Norton, 2006. ISBN 0-393-97991-1. (Or a later edition.)
    • Palisca, Claude V. Norton Anthology of Western Music. 2 vols. 5th edn. New York: W. W. Norton, 2005. ISBN 0-393-97990-3, ISBN 0-393-92562-5. (Or a later edition.)
    • Taruskin, Richard and Chrisopher H. Gibbs. The Oxford History of Western Music. College edn. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013. ISBN 978-0-19-509762-7.
  • for entering PhD students in musicology
    • The Norton Introduction to Music History, New York: WW. Norton.
      • Richard Hoppin, Medieval Music
      • Allan Atlas, Renaissance Music
      • John Walter Hill, Baroque Music
      • Philip Downs, Classical Music
      • Leon Plantinga, Romantic Music
      • Robert Morgan, Twentieth-Century Music.

For Ethnomusicology Majors

  • for entering Master’s students
    • Malm, William P. Music Cultures of the Pacific, the Near East and Asia, 3rd edn. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1996.
    • Merriam, Alan P. The Anthropology of Music. Chicago: Northwestern Univ. Press, 1964.
    • Nettl, Bruno, et al. Excursions in World Music, 5th edn. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 2007.
    • Titon, Jeff et al. Worlds of Music, 5th edn. New York: Schirmer, 2008.
  • for entering PhD students
    • Blacking, John. How Musical is Man? Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1995.
    • Malm, William P. Music Cultures of the Pacific, the Near East and Asia, 3rd edn. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1996.
    • Merriam, Alan P. The Anthropology of Music. Chicago: Northwestern Univ. Press, 1964.
    • Nettl, Bruno. The Study of Ethnomusicology: Thirty-one issues and concepts. Urbana-Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2005.
    • Myers, Helen, eds. Ethnomusicology: An Introduction. New York: Norton, 1992.
    • Myers, Helen, eds. Ethnomusicology: Historical and Regional Studies. New York: Norton, 1993.
    • Stone, Ruth. Theory for Ethnomusicology. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2007.
    • Titon, Jeff et al. Worlds of Music, 5th edn. New York: Schirmer, 2008.