Theory I Syllabus


Theory I

MUSI 1311

Instructor:  Deanna Erxleben


Phone:  Ext. 9245



For week by week description of requirements, assignments, and exams, refer to the Course Outline at the following link:



Course Description

  • Introduction to music fundamentals, staff, clefs, key signatures, scales, time signatures and notation; meter and rhythm; chords; harmony; melodic organization and structure. Computer software used for some written assignments.

  • Prerequisite:  a passing grade on the placement examinations in theory or a C or better in MUSI 1303.



Required Texts and Materials

  • Finale notation program: available at the bookstore for $99.  You will use it for every theory course (6) plus other courses.  Contact Susan Trainham ( at the bookstore to order.

  • Music staff paper.  Go here  to print staff paper with keyboard and here for various other configurations.

  • Notebook:  it will not be graded, but returned assignments will be your exam study materials.  If you get a spiral notebook, make sure it has pockets.

  • 3X5 cards

  • Pencil and eraser.  I will not accept any assignment written in ink.  Mechanical pencils are a good choice.  Why use pencil?

Bring these materials to every class session.

You MUST have access to a computer for receiving e-mails, checking the Course Outline, receiving assignments, downloading and uploading assignments, checking your grades, etc.    There are computers available in the Fine Arts building and in the library, open at scheduled times, but it is your responsibility to access these course elements as necessary.  Your failure to do so is not an excuse for late or missed assignments, or for missing course updates or other communication.



Course Work Includes


  • In-class lectures, discussions and analyses, boardwork

  • Written assignments, including student compositions

  • Individual work on computer programs including 2 required proficiencies



Grading Will Be Based On


  • 60%   Class assignments and compositions

  • 10%   Midterm exam  

  • 20%   Final exam

  • 10%   Class participation

Grade calculator


Music exists in time.  It is important for music professionals to be able to perceive and identify musical elements quickly or they will be of little use.  For this reason, proficiency in the areas of music theory  includes speed as well as understanding and assessment will include both.


Attendance Policy

  • Attendance is required. Absences will only be excused with proper written documentation on letterhead. This includes a note from a healthcare provider in case of illness or a form signed by a sponsor (presented in advance) in the case of a University sanctioned activity.  Attendance at funerals and court appearances will also be excused with proper documentation and advance notice.

  • Attendance will be documented and class will begin on time according to the clock on the Course Outline.  If you are late and have already been marked absent, it is your responsibility to check in at the end of class to have the absence corrected to a tardy.  Use this link to set your watch.

  • A student's absences will not change any deadline or assignment requirements.  You are always responsible for any material you miss, so check the Course Outline and/or a fellow classmate for announcements, assignments, and requirements.


Classroom Policy

  • No food in the classroom.  Drinks in hard-sided containers with lids are allowed.

  • Turn off your cell phones and put them out of sight - mine and yours.  Text messaging is prohibited in the classroom.  Please see me if you have a special emergency situation requiring this type of communication.

  • Attention will be given to the lesson at hand, or you will be excused from the classroom.  (In other words, no working on other homework, personal business, sleeping, etc.)

  • Keep your backpacks and other personal belongings out of the aisles for the sake of convenience and safety.

  • Do not leave the room during class except for an emergency as this disruption is almost always (except for an emergency) avoidable.  Although it may not be disruptive to slip out, coming back in is always distracting.

  • If your conduct for any reason is unacceptable, you will be asked to leave.  Do not return to class until you have made an appointment to see me and the situation has been resolved.

  • Leave your space better than you found it.



  • All assignments are due at the beginning of class on the due date specified in the Course Outline. Specific instructions for assignments will often be listed in the Course Outline which will be updated on the course web page.  It is important to refer to this page often.  Any modifications to the schedule will be announced in class.

  • Late assignments will only be accepted with prior approval and then at a penalty of ten points per calendar day.

  • In case of building closure, students will be notified by Tarleton email through Blackboard of alternate online assignments.



This course moves quickly. If you begin to experience problems, consult me right away. Do not wait until you are hopelessly behind or lost. Extra help (including tutoring) is available from several sources, but only if you ask for it. 

How to Survive (I mean succeed) in Music Theory


Academic Honesty

Cheating, plagiarism (submitting another person's materials or ideas as one's own), or doing work for another person who will receive academic credit are all impermissible.  This includes the use of unauthorized books, notebooks, or other sources in order to secure or give help during an examination; the unauthorized copying of examinations, assignments, reports, or term papers; or the presentation of unacknowledged material as if it were the student's own work.


Any student caught cheating or plagiarizing will receive a grade of "F" for the class.  Further disciplinary action may also be taken beyond the Department of Fine Arts.  This decision will be mine in consultation with the department head.  Cheating is serious business and the penalties for engaging in this sort of activity will be severe.  Consult the following link for further information on academic conduct as specified in the TSU catalog.



Students With Disabilities Policy

It is the policy of Tarleton State University to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and other applicable laws. If you are a student with a disability seeking accommodations for this course, please contact the Center for Access and Academic Testing, at 254.968.9400 or  Student Disability Services is located in Math 201. More information can be found at, in the University Catalog, or at


Health and Wellness Policy

It is the Department of Fine Arts' policy to provide and maintain a safe and healthy work environment for students, faculty, and staff, and to accept responsibility for the health and safety of others, including visitors, who may be affected by our activities.  This policy applies to all activities and areas of the department, including performance spaces, classrooms, studios, practice rooms,, faculty and staff offices, and communal areas. 


Academic Affairs Core Value Statements

Academic Integrity Statement

Tarleton State University's core values are integrity, leadership, tradition, civility, excellence, and service.  Central to these values is integrity, which is maintaining a high standard of personal and scholarly conduct.  Academic integrity represents the choice to uphold ethical responsibility for one's learning within the academic community, regardless of audience or situation.


Academic Civility Statement

Students are expected to interact with professors and peers in a respectful manner that enhances the learning environment.  Professors may require a student who deviates from this expectation to leave the face-to-face (or virtual) classroom learning environment for that particular class session (and potentially subsequent class sessions) for a specific amount of time.  In addition, the professor might consider the university disciplinary process (for Academic Affairs/Student Life) for egregious or continued disruptive behavior.


Academic Excellence Statement

Tarleton holds high expectations for students to assume responsibility for their own individual learning.  Students are also expected to achieve academic excellence by:

  • honoring Tarleton's core values
  • upholding high standards of habit and behavior
  • maintaining excellence through class attendance and punctuality
  • preparing for active participation in all learning experiences
  • putting forth their best individual effort
  • continually improving as independent learners
  • engaging in extracurricular opportunities that encourage personal and academic growth
  • reflecting critically upon feedback and applying these lessons to meet future challenges


Academic Affairs Service Statement

Tarleton faculty, staff, and students are expected to model responsible citizenship through service activities that promote personal and academic growth while enhancing the university, local, regional, national, and global communities.  These activities will foster a culture of academic/public engagement that contributes to the achievement of the university's mission and core values.


Note:  Please see the Course Outline for specific topics, schedule, requirements, and deadlines.



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Created and maintained by Vicky V. Johnson