Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Summer 2024
Units: 4
Hours: 4 lecture, 1 laboratory per week (60 total per quarter)
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Non-GE
Transferable: CSU/UC
Grade Type: Letter Grade (Request for Pass/No Pass)
Repeatability: Not Repeatable

Student Learning Outcomes

  • The successful student will be able to hear the differences between simple and compound time signatures.
  • The successful student will apply the fundamentals of music theory (meter, composition, major and minor scales, key signatures, and triads) as they listen to pop or classical music.


Beginning theory course, in which the basic elements of musicianship and harmony are explored through lecture, listening, and written assignments. Rudiments of music such as pitch, rhythm, harmony, style, and form will be examined as rock and roll is analyzed through classical music theory.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:

  1. Gain a knowledge of music notation, the keyboard, key signatures, time signatures, scales, and triads
  2. Identify basic chord progression in popular songs
  3. Gain the ability to write basic music in treble and bass clefs, using different meters and key signatures
  4. Develop skills in taking pitch and rhythm dictation and in playing simple keyboard examples

Course Content

  1. Analysis of rhythmic note values and meter signatures
  2. Metrical groupings in simple and compound meters
  3. Learning to read notes on the treble and bass clefs
  4. Examination of the keyboard with a focus on major and minor scales
  5. Key signatures and the circle of fifths for major and minor scales
  6. Understanding of intervals within an 8ve, written and oral
  7. Rhythmic dictation
  8. Triad construction
  9. Musical terms and signs
  10. Performance of triads and scales for the final exam performance

Lab Content

Lab activities will include activities on a virtual keyboard, song comparisons on YouTube, and websites on note reading, scales, time signatures, intervals, and triads.

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

1. When taught on campus classroom with pianos and staff lined boards, CD player, and multimedia equipment.
2. When taught via Foothill Global Access: ongoing access to computer with email software and capabilities; email address; JavaScript-enabled internet browsing software.

Method(s) of Evaluation

Methods of Evaluation may include but are not limited to the following:

Writing and creativity
1. Three Focus on Skills units on elements of musicianship
2. Five rhythmic and melodic compositions
3. Notate all major scales
4. Notate the three forms of the minor scales: natural, harmonic, and melodic
5. Bass accompaniment in the key of C
6. 12 bar blues melody
Rhythm project
1. 4 part rhythm composition in quartets
1. Two written tests
2. Final written exam
3. Final performance exam (major, minor, diminished, and augmented triads, and performance of a major scale and three forms of the minor scale)
1. Written submissions based on weekly lab activities
1. Treble and bass clef
2. Simple and compound meter
3. Octave identification
4. Locating major scales
5. Major key signatures
6. Circle of 5ths
7. Perfect intervals
8. Major intervals
9. Minor key signatures
10. Triads
Class participation and discussions
1. Interval identification
2. Rhythmic dictation
3. Chord progressions
4. Classical and popular music used for analysis

Method(s) of Instruction

Methods of Instruction may include but are not limited to the following:

Cooperative learning exercises
Oral presentations
Electronic discussions/chat
Independent study

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Duckworth, William. A Creative Approach to Music Fundamentals, 11th ed. (ISBN: 978-1-285-44620-2). 2015.

This is the latest edition available for this text and provides musical materials specifically written for the study of beginning music theory/fundamental theory and hearing of music. Although this text is older than the suggested "5 years or newer" standard, it remains seminal in this area of study.

Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

  1. Rhythm in 4 parts project:
    1. Compose a 4 part rhythmic composition made up of six measures in 4/4 meter using appendix B (world rhythms in two and three parts) on page 302 as a model.
    2. One person from each group needs to compose the first part. A second person will compose the second line that will add musical interest and use rests or subdivisions that will complement the first line. The third and fourth lines will do the same.
    3. To perform this composition you may clap, tap, chant, or use other percussive sounds or instruments.