Music Theory I

I.     Course Prefix/Number: MUS 121

       Course Name: Music Theory I

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course examines the principles of traditional harmony developed in the Baroque and Classical eras. Course must be taken in tandem with MUS 119 (Aural Skills I).

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. To write a four-part composition employing all harmony rules learned throughout the semester.
  2. To understand notational fundamentals, all major and minor scales, intervals and interval inversions.
  3. To compose the following composition skills: all chords connection and rules cadence formulas and application.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

Representative topics such as:

  1. Rudiments
    1. The grand staff and piano keyboard
    2. Accidentals
    3. Intervals
    4. Major and minor scales
    5. Key signatures
    6. Meter and rhythm
  2. Diatonic Materials
    1. Triads in root position
    2. The tonic triad in root position
    3. Connection of tonic and dominant triads
    4. The dominant seventh chord in root position
    5. Connection of tonic and subdominant root position triads
    6. Connection of subdominant and dominant root position triads

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Instruction includes lecture-demonstration; composition and practicum.
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Class discussion and analysis of chorale-texture part writing on figured bass or Roman numerals.

Students will be required to do assignments consisting of melody harmonizations and composing their own musical scores using specifically required chords.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

  1. Representative textbook such as:
    Kostka, Payne, et al., Tonal Harmony, Latest edition. Finale 2008
  2. Handouts

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

There will be examinations and quizzes.  Each examination is based on the content of the assigned reading material and on information presented in class by the instructor.

XI.   Other Course Information

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.