Texas Tech University

Music Theory Doctoral Exam Preparation


Download the Theory Qualifying Exam Study Guide to assist with your preparation.

Sample Analysis Questions

(for Bach, Orchestral Suite #3, I)

  1. In mm. 1-8, label all chords by name (e.g. CM) and by harmonic function (e.g. V7 – place both sets of labels underneath the 'Continuo' staff)

  2. In mm. 1-8, label all non-chord tones in the Oboe I and Violin I parts directly on the score.

  3.  In m. 7, the oboe and first violin parts have a tendency tone. Which note is the tendency tone, what kind of tendency tone is it, and how does it resolve?

  4. Find two descending 5th sequences that occur after the repeat signs on the score, and label them.

  5. Looking at the style characteristics of this piece, suggest a possible time period, genre (e.g., "type of composition"), as precisely as you can, nationality of composer, and possible identification of the composer, while making sure to cite relevant style characteristics that support your case.

Some questions require score annotations, and some answers will be strictly written or typed responses
The final question for each excerpt (here, #5) is exactly the same; your answers to the previous questions should guide your answer for this one. Don't be afraid to refer back to these questions in your answer.

In addition to the types of question above, there will be somewhere in the required analysis examples questions on large-scale and small-scale form ("forms" such as rounded binary or sonata form, and phrase/cadence analysis, respectively).