Bachelor of Music - Musicianship Year 1 Unit Outline

Unit of Study - Musicianship


The following applies to Year One Bachelor of Music students.

Unit Outlines

Unit Name

Foundational Harmony / Music In Contemporary Practice

Unit Code


Unit Description In this Unit students will:
  • Explore the theoretical foundations of traditional and contemporary Western music.
  • Analyse contemporary music examples for conformity to or variation from standard practice.
  • Apply theoretical skills to create contemporary music.
  • Understand variations encountered in professional practice.
  • Clearly present musical ideas with notational software.
  • Develop aural skills to identify and write intervals as well as contemporary styled melodies, rhythms and harmonies.
Award(s) Bachelor of Music
Unit Duration 1 Semester (12 Weeks)
Level Year 1, Semester 1
Unit Coordinator Dr Matthew Field
Teaching Staff Dr Matthew Field
Core/Elective Core
Pre/Co-requisites Nil
Credit Points 15 credit points

Mode of Delivery

x Face to face
x E-learning (online)
o Ontensive/block mode (where the unit or a face to face component is delivered in a block)
x Distance/independent learning (un-timetabled)
x Full-time
x Part-time
o External
o Fast track

Student Workload
Delivery/ Contact Hours

Number of timetabled hours per week
  • Live Lecture Theory – 1 hour
  • Live Lecture Aural – 1 hour
  • Tutorial – 1 hour
  • Personal Study recommended - 8 hours
Total hours per week - 11 hours

Resource Requirements

  • Computing resource requirements
  • Fast and reliable internet connection
  • Cloud Software
  • Technical Help

Resources Provided

  • Moodle (included with registration)
  • Noteflight (embedded into Moodle)
  • Ear Master Pro (Cloud)  [login provided]
  • Moodle Quizzes (embedded into Moodle)
  • Library resources (see prescribed or recommended texts below)


Unit Aims

In Musicianship 101 students will gain fundamental skills and knowledge in traditional and contemporary Western music theory.  This will be achieved through ensuring a solid and flexible foundation in the rudiments of music and then developing further study of melody, harmony and counterpoint through scaffolded and sequential learning tasks.  Knowledge will be directly applied to creating, arranging and harmonizing music in contemporary styles with specific and clear requirements to demonstrate competence in key areas.  Students will also develop their aural skills (‘inner ear’) and develop sight singing and rhythm skills as well as transcription skills applied to real world situations.


Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students are expected to be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of music theory rudiments including variations they may encounter in professional practice.
  2. Create functional harmonies suitable for use in contemporary and traditional music styles.
  3. Develop, research and evaluate melodic and harmonic techniques through exploration and creative practice.
  4. Evaluate music in their repertoire or in popular use regarding how various musical concepts are applied.
  5. Identify melodic and harmonic devices in diverse musical genres and styles.
  6. Vocalise intervals, harmonies, melodies and rhythms from selected examples.
  7. Transcribe rhythms, intervals, harmonies, progressions and melodies from selected examples.


Teaching Outline

Year 1
  • Overview demonstrating unity of foundational concepts.  Diatonic, scales, intervals, chords, functional harmony, key signatures.
  • Learn key technologies.  Noteflight, Moodle Quizzes, Ear Master Pro.
  • Contemporary melody writing.  Melodic devices, structure and analysis of contemporary song.
  • Extending functional harmony with related chords, substitution to min7.
  • V7 & resolution in 4 parts.
  • Chord naming conventions.  Contemporary symbols, historical forms including figured bass and variations found in professional practice.
  • Time signatures, grouping and barring.
  • Writing contemporary songs with notated melody and harmony.
  • 4-Part writing conventions: stem direction, spacing, voice leading, doubling.
  • Cadences: Perfect, plagual, imperfect, interrupted.  Minor keys.
  • Using diminished chords as V form.
  • Augmented chords in contemporary song.
  • Writing and identifying compound ascending intervals.
  • Longer form contemporary melody writing with chords.
  • Extensive contemporary song analysis to identify and apply features learnt.
  • Applying skills to rapidly sketch contemporary songs.
  • Singing / identify major scale, natural min, harmonic min, melodic min.
  • Singing / identifying ascending and descending intervals within octave.
  • Singing / identifying chords: Major, minor, Augmented, diminished.
  • Singing / identifying chord inversions: major, minor.
  • Sight clapping rhythms in common contemporary keys and syncopation.
  • Rhythm dictation in common contemporary keys and syncopation.
  • Melodic dictation with simple melody.

Prescribed and recommended readings:

Reading List

Marvin, E. & Clendinning, J. (2016). The Musician’s Guide to Theory and Analysis, (3rd ed.).  New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company Inc.

Reference Materials

Evans, J. (2014). Exploring Theory with Practica Musica. [login required], Ars Nova

Field, M. (2015).  Music Foundations [Video series]. [login required]

Murphy, P., Phillips, J., Marvin, E,. Clendinning, J. (2016). The Musicians Guide to Aural Skills, (3rd ed.).  New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company Inc.


Student assessment 


  Name Week Set Week Due Duration Weighting  
1a Active Learning 1 1 7   10% Due Friday
1b Workbook 1 4 6   10% Due Friday
1c Test 1 7 7 1 hr 20 mins 20% Set time
1d Active Learning 2 8 13   10% Due Friday
1e Workbook 2 10 12  

10% Due Friday
1f Test 2 14 14 1 hr 20 mins 40% Set time


Assessment Details

Assessment Type

When assessed

(% of total unit marks)

Learning Outcomes Assessed

Assessment 1a
Type: Active Learning
The Active Learning 1 assessment gauges the students’ active participation in the class and ‘non-graded’ coursework. These activities are not individually graded rather a student will gain a mark based on the evidence of their active participation with the class. The student will receive an Active Learning mark based on a combination of:
  • Completion of practice activities
  • Weekly activities as set
  • Engagement with the teacher
  • Attendance online or live (including watching training videos)
  • Forum posts

Week 1 - 7


1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7

Assessment 1b
Type: Workbook
Workbook 1 is an open book assessments designed to ensure students understand and can apply the knowledge learnt. Students may ask for help and access resources while completing the Workbook. They may also ask for their work to be reviewed with feedback from the teacher. The Workbooks are very similar to the tests that follow and are therefore designed as excellent preparation for the timed tests.
The Workbooks are to be completed fully online using the technologies employed throughout the course.
Workbook 1 will include aspects of all materials covered in the first 5 weeks of the course.

Week 6


1, 2, 3, 6, 7

Assessment 1c
Type: Test
The Musicianship Test 1 will cover all materials from the first 6 weeks of the course. This Test will be similar to the previous Workbook but will be closed book and have a strict time limit.

Week 7


1, 2, 3, 6, 7

Assessment 1d
Type: Active Learning
The Active Learning 2 assessment shares the same assessment criteria as Assessment 1a (Active Learning 1.1). See above for details.

Week 14


1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Assessment 1e
Type: Workbook
Workbook 2 is an open book assessment sharing the same parameters as Assessment 1b (Musicianship Workbook 1). See above for details.
Workbook 2 will include aspects of all materials covered in the first 11 weeks of the course.

Week 12


1, 2, 3, 6, 7

Assessment 1f
Type: Test
The Musicianship Test 2 will cover all materials from Semester 1. This Test will be similar to the previous Workbook but will be closed book and have a strict time limit.

Week 14


1, 2, 3, 6, 7



Course Outcomes


Course Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course the student should be able to:

Unit Learning Outcomes


1 A broad knowledge of the applied, theoretical and historical  basis of the discipline

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

1a, 1b, 1c, 1d, 1e, 1f

2 A depth of disciplinary knowledge in a professionally applicable specialisation

1, 2, 3

1a, 1b, 1c, 1d, 1e, 1f

3 An understanding of the processes of musical scholarship and research


1a, 1d

4 The ability to work both independently and collaboratively in diverse and complex musical settings

3, 4

1a, 1d

5 Effective written, verbal and interpersonal communication skills

3, 4

1a, 1d

6 Critical thinking and analytical skills appropriate  to a range of contexts including further study 3, 4 1a, 1d
7 The ability to apply specific musical skills to a wide range of professional contexts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 1a, 1b, 1c, 1d, 1e, 1f
8 The capacity to apply technological and creative solutions to contemporary musical practices 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 1a, 1b, 1c, 1d, 1e, 1f
9 The ability to incorporate knowledge from the business and legal fields to a portfolio career in the music profession.




Graduate Attributes


Graduate Attribute

Successful completion of this unit will contribute to the attainment of the following graduate attributes:

Unit Learning Outcomes

Course Learning Outcomes


1 Deep disciplinary knowledge 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 1, 2 1a, 1b, 1c, 1d, 1e, 1f
2 The ability to apply knowledge and skills in innovative ways 2, 3, 4 5, 7 1a, 1b, 1c, 1d, 1e, 1f
3 A commitment to lifelong learning 3, 4, 5 4, 5, 6, 7 1a, 1d
4 Effective communication skills for diverse contexts 2 4, 5, 7 1a, 1d
5 The capacity to work independently and collaboratively 2, 3 4 1a, 1b, 1c, 1d, 1e, 1f