MUSI 2312

Theory IV Competency-Based Model

   Altered Dominant Chords        Augmented 6th Chords        Borrowed Chords        Chromatic Modulation       Extended Chords        Neapolitan 6th Chords        Secondary Chords

Composition Strategies      Staff Paper

Competency-Based Learning, Gamification, and Peer-Tutoring: A Hybrid Model for Undergraduate Music Theory Courses

Purpose of the study:  to devise a hybrid teaching and learning model for a music theory course that will improve student success and satisfaction.

1.  Competency-based Learning



1.  Flexible time

2.  Multiple assessments



    1.  You will have 3 chances on each module to assess the content

         Each re-assessment must be preceded by correcting all mistakes on the previous assessment


    2.  You will get the grade that you have the most of

         For example, if you have 4 A's and 3 B's on the modules, you will get an A


    3.  If there is a tie, you get the lower grade

         For example, if you have 3 Cs, 3Bs, and 1 A on the modules, you will get a C


    4.  You cannot skip a letter from your lowest grade

         If you have a C on any module, you cannot make an A

         If you have a D on any module, you cannot make a B

         If you have an F on any module, you cannot make a C


    Assessments are not end results until the student chooses that result or unless the student chooses not to continue in the coursework.



We will all start out together.  Then each of you will move at your own pace.  You will:

1.  Learn:  content from your book, from me, from tutors, from websites - your choice, any or all

2.  Practice:  I'll give you practice materials, you can work together, from interactive websites, etc.

3.  Assess:  3 assessments will be available for each module

4.  Feedback:  assessments will be graded, but not corrected; you will correct each before taking another 

5.  Lather, rinse, repeat ;-)


Each assessment will have 4 parts:

1.  Identification

2.  Construction

3.  Analysis

4.  Composition

Compositions are due the next class period after the assessment as long as that time period is more than one day.  For example, if a student takes an assessment on Tuesday evening at a tutoring session, the composition will be due in class on Friday (not Wednesday).  Late compositions will be assessed a penalty of 10 points per calendar day.



1.      Master

·     Master students understand a concept to the degree that they can effectively teach others how to understand and apply the concept.

·     This level does not correspond to a grade because Masters go above and beyond all requirements and compensation.

2.      Expert

·     Expert students understand a concept thoroughly, apply it fluidly, and consistently recognize it in context. 

·     This level corresponds to a grade of “A.”

3.      Proficient

·     Proficient students can vary application based upon unique situations.  This is a higher level of competency.

·     This level corresponds to a grade of “B.”

4.      Competent

·     Competent students can perform tasks to basic standards.  They will need additional practice to get better/faster at applying the concept and recognizing it in context.

·     This level corresponds to a grade of “C.”

5.      Novice

·     A novice is new to the concept.  This student must be shown/taught the basics and guided through the process to understanding.

·     To remain at this level is not a passing grade.


2.  Gamification


Adding game-like elements to the learning process in non-game settings.



The levels as described above will be posted and regularly updated.  Each student will be encouraged to "level up."


Gamer Identity

Each student will choose his/her own name for identification on the leaderboard.


3.  Peer-tutoring


The acquisition of knowledge and skill through active helping and supporting among status equals



Students may volunteer to tutor others in any module in which the tutor has reached at least Proficient level.   

Helping 2 students to level up will make you eligible for Master level. 



Students may request assistance at any time from me, from an intern (when available), or from a peer-tutor. 

Students may also work together at any time except assessment to practice module concepts.

When taking a new assessment after being tutored, allow the tutor to sign the top of the assessment for credit.


4.  Now what?

Take this quiz!


You are the Captain of your own Theory IV destiny



Note:  Each module will have a composition component in the assessments. 

Please be creative in your compositions.  Strings of whole notes will not be accepted.  Do not write in counterpoint.


Print this Quick Facts Sheet.  There are notes on several of the modules below.


Module SC: Secondary Chords


Definition:  a dominant (V or vii) function chord that is not the dominant chord in the key.


Secondary dominants

Print this


Secondary leading tone chords

Print this


Toby Rush version


YouTube example


Around the circle of 5ths


Secondary Dominant Song


Secondary Dominants in Popular Music




Secondary dominant Wksheet  (Construct)

Secondary dominant Wksheet Side B (Identify)


Secondary chords Interactive Practice  (Identify)

Secondary chords Interactive Practice  (Construct)


Interactive Analysis Worksheet


Module BC: Borrowed Chords
Definition:  Using chords 'borrowed' from the parallel key

Example:  In the key of C, using an Eb major chord that you 'borrowed' from C minor


Modal Interchange for Composition



Borrowed chords

Print this


Print this, too!


See the handy table on this Quick Facts Sheet

Mode mixture


Borrowed Chord Explanation

with examples



Interactive worksheet

This is great practice for the mid-term

Includes secondary chords, N6, and borrowed chords



Construct:  Textbook 4.2 p.77

Analyze:  Workbook p. 20-21


Module N6: Neapolitan 6th Chords

Definition:  A major chord built on the flat 2nd scale degree

Moonlight Sonata Excerpt




Neapolitan 6th

Print this




Teoria Tutorial

Click through 3 pages




Practice constructing N6 chords


Note: When scoring in 4 parts, double the 3rd, and  the altered pitch (b2) should resolve to the leading tone in the next chord (normally a V).  This is a diminished 3rd!!  One of the few places where it is acceptable to use this in traditional voice-leading.

For example, in the key of C: 

Double the F (the 3rd of the chord) and one of them resolves to G (not both or parallel octaves!)

The Db (root of the chord) resolves to B (the leading tone)

The Ab (5th of the chord) usually resolves to G


Module AD: Altered Dominant Chords




SlideShare: altered-dominants

This link also includes practice after the content


Module A6: Augmented 6th Chords

Definition:  a chord that contains an augmented 6th interval and resolves to the octave of the V chord


OK - here's your song parody

to the tune of "The Addams Family"



Augmented sixths

Augmented sixths

These are the tricks so we won’t mix

Augmented sixths.


Italian, French and German

Now here’s how to determine

The 3rd, we’ll be affirmin’

Just check the 4th and 5th.


Italian is completed,

A third is all that’s needed

And that note is repeated

In this augmented sixth.


The French one sounds so scary

The tritone’s customary

The tension’s temporary

In this augmented sixth.


The German is a jazz chord

Has 3 and 5, but not 4

It moves to tonic 6/4

In this augmented sixth.


The key to understanding:

The 6th will be expanding,

By half step will be landing,

It's easy to predict.






Augmented 6th

Print this


Open Music Theory


Simple explanation





Teoria Tutorial



It6:  Le Do Fi

Fr6:  Le Do Re Fi

Gr6:  Le Do Me Fi



Practice constructing Aug6 chords

Musical examples

Analysis of Mozart Rondo alla Turca

Module EC: Extended Chords





Practice identifying extended chords

Practice constructing extended chords



Module CM: Chromatic Modulation

Wikipedia gets it!

Chromatic modulation using Gr6

Diminished 7th modulations and the Swiss Army Pivot Chord

Modulation by diminished 7ths

Modulation by Neapolitan 6

Modulation by augmented 6ths


Types of Modulation 

Composition Strategies

Strategy for composing 8 measures

Do NOT string whole notes together and call it a composition!

Compose an 8 measure melody.  An antecedent-consequent phrase combination is a good structure, but not required.

Harmonize the end with an authentic cadence (required).

Add your chromatic harmony chord (or chords).  Remember that the chromatic chord can often be substituted for a similar diatonic chord. 

Fill in remainder of harmony of your choice


You all know how to write traditional diatonic harmonic progressions.  If you start with that, here are some substitutions you can make:

V:  make it an altered dominant

ii:  substitute a N6

iv:  substitute an Aug6 (make sure it resolves correctly to a V)

You can take any diatonic chord, make it major and add a m7 and it becomes a secondary dominant; take any chord and make it a diminished 7th and it becomes a secondary leading tone chord (make sure they resolve to the correct chord)

Take any diatonic chord and change it to the corresponding chord in the parallel key and it becomes a borrowed chord (Example: IV to iv or iv to IV)


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Created and Maintained by Vicky V. Johnson