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Online Theory Study Guide

RCM Online Theory Study Guide | Levels 5–8

A convenient and flexible online tool that will help teachers build lesson plans and give students the opportunity to earn RCM recognition from the comfort of their own home!

The RCM Online Theory Study Guide for Intermediate Levels helps students master theory concepts with audio examples, guided analyses, step-wise procedural breakdowns, hints, and more!
 
Interactive practice exams with expertly crafted hints help students revisit their understanding and get back on track to success.

Available for Levels 5, 6, 7, and 8, this tool covers eight essential units in music theory, ensuring the development of well-rounded musicians. 

RCM Online Theory Tool
 

RCM Online Theory Study Guide + Exam: $175

  • 8 units of study covering essential concepts within each section of theory, including Pitch, Notation, and Transposition; Rhythm and Meter; Scales and Key Signatures; Intervals; Chords and Harmony; Melody Writing, Form, and Analysis; Music History; and Musical Terms and Signs
  • Narrated lessons and audio examples
  • Annotated scores and guided analyses
  • Step-wise procedural breakdowns
  • Access to practice tests with hints
  • Access to graded Unit Tests and Final Exam within the online course
  1. Pitch, Notation, and Transposition

  2. Rhythm and Meter 

  3. Scales and Key Signatures

  4. Intervals

  5. Chords and Harmony

  6. Melody Writing, Form, and Analysis

  7. Music History 

  8. Musical Terms and Signs

Each Level contains Practice Tests, eight Unit Tests, and one Final Exam.

Practice Tests can be completed as many times a student wishes before taking the Unit Test. Unit Tests can only be completed once and cumulatively represent 40% of a student’s final grade. After all Unit Tests have been completed, the student can take the Final Exam which will represent the remaining 60% of the final grade.

Best of all, no more waiting for an examination session or traveling to an exam center. Students can take the Unit Tests and Final Exam when they’re ready, from a comfortable home environment!

See Online Exam Info

  • Level 5

    Unit 1: Pitch and Notation
    Ledger lines and enharmonic equivalents

    • Ledger lines
    • Enharmonic equivalents
    • Transposition
    • Transposing a melody
    • Rewriting a melody 

    Unit 2: Rhythm and Meter
    Note and rest values
    • Note and rest values review
    • Breves and semibreves
    • Time Signatures and Meter
     
    Unit 3: Scales
    Major and minor scales with 4 sharps or flats
    • E major and A flat major
    • Major scale pattern
    • C sharp minor and A flat minor
    • Minor scale patterns
    • Relative keys
    • Finding the relative minor key of a major key
    • Parallel Keys
    • Scale degree names – tonic, subdominant, dominant, subtonic, leading tone
     
    Unit 4: Intervals
    Identifying intervals
    • Chromatic and diatonic half steps
    • Major, minor and perfect intervals
     
    Unit 5: Chords and Harmony
    Primary triads and dominant sevenths
    • Triads
    • Quality of primary triads in major and minor scales
    • Dominant 7th chords
    • Functional chord symbols
    • Root/quality chord symbols
     
    Unit 6: Melody Writing, Form and Analysis
    Identifying the key of a piece
    • Identifying a key as major or minor
    • Steps for identifying the key of a melody
    • Parallel periods
    • Musical ideas
    • Analyzing phrases
    • Composing an answer phrase
     
    Unit 7: Music History
    Combining words and music
    • Oratorios, choruses and word painting
    • Operas and arias

    Unit 8: Music Terms and Signs
    • Andantino
    • Cut time, 2/2
    • espressivo, espress.larghettolargoleggieropedale, ped.rubatospiritosotranquillo
  • Level 6
    Unit 1: Pitch and Notation
    Transposition in major keys up by an interval
    • Changing the key of a melody
    • Transposing up to a key
    • Handling chromatic notes when transposing
    • Transposing up to an interval
     
    Unit 2: Rhythm and Meter
    Note and rest values
    • Thirty-second notes and rests
    • Dotted sixteenth notes and rests
    • Compound meters: 6/8
    • Compound duple, triple and quadruple meter
    • Completing measures with rests in compound time
     
    Unit 3: Scales
    Major and minor scales with 5 sharps or flats
    • C flat/B major and A flat/G sharp minor
    • Review of all major scales
    • Scale degree names
     
    Unit 4: Intervals
    Identifying intervals
    • Double sharps and double flats
    • Augmented and diminished intervals
    • Importance of letter name in augmented and diminished intervals
    • Writing a chromatically altered interval
    • Identifying intervals when the bottom note is not the tonic of a major key
    • Different ways of altering intervals
    • Writing a chromatically altered interval when the bottom note is not the tonic of a major key
     
    Unit 5: Chords and Harmony
    New triads and open and closed positions of chords
    • Supertonic, median, and sub-mediant triads
    • Triad inversion review
    • Triads in open or closed position
    • Dominant 7th chords in open or closed position
    • Cadences
    • Authentic cadence (V-I or V-i)
    • Half cadence (I-V, i-V, IV-V, iv-V)
    • Cadences and harmony
    • Keyboard style cadences
    • Identifying cadences
     
    Unit 6: Melody Writing, Form and Analysis
    Key of a melody and phrase composition
    • Identifying the key of a melody with a key signature
    • Identifying the key of a melody without a key signature
    • Composing phrases
     
    Unit 7: Music History
    Combining words and music
    • Johann Sebastian Bach
    • Invention in C major
    • “Brandenburg Concertos”
    • Brandenburg Concerto No. 5, first movement
    • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Eine kleine Nachtmusic
    • Sonata form
     
    Unit 8: Music Terms and Signs
    • ad libitum, ad lib.alla, all’ben, benecol, coll’, colla, colleconcon briocon espressionecon fuococon graziacon motoe, edfortepianogravelocomameno ,meno mossononpiùpiù mossopoco a pocoprimo, primaquasisecondo, secondasempresenzasforzandosimilesubitotre cordetroppouna corda
  • Level 7
    Unit 1: Notation and Transposition
    Transposition down to another key or down an interval
    • Transposing down to another key
    • Transposing down by interval
     
    Unit 2: Rhythm and Meter
    Double dotted notes and rests and irregular groupings
    • Double-dotted notes
    • Double-dotted rests
    • Irregular groupings
     
    Unit 3: Scales and Key Signatures
    Chromatic, whole-tone, octatonic, pentatonic and blues scales
    • Chromatic scales starting on C, F sharp and G flat
    • Whole-tone scales
    • Octatonic scales
    • Pentatonic scales
    • Blues scales
     
    Unit 4: Intervals
    Identifying intervals
    • Diatonic and chromatic intervals
    • Writing intervals below a note
    • Inverting intervals
     
    Unit 5: Chords and Harmony
    Chords
    • Augmented and diminished triads
    • Functional chord symbols and root quality symbols
    • Leading tone diminished 7th
    • Identifying seventh chords in open position
    • Inversions of augmented and diminished triads
    • Functional chord symbols and inversions
    • Dominant 7th chords and inversions
    • Cadences
    • Authentic cadence 
    • Half cadence (I-V, i-V)
     
    Unit 6: Melody Writing, Form and Analysis
    Key of a melody and composing contrasting periods
    • Writing a contrasting periods
     
    Unit 7: Music History
    Musical styles of the romantic and modern eras
    • Felix Mendelssohn
    • Overture to a Midsummer Night’s Dream and Sonata form
    • Frédéric Chopin
    • Etude in C Minor (“Revolutionary”)
    • Igor Stravinsky
    • Petrushka and Rondo form
    • Hugh LeCaine
    • Dripsody
    • Duke Ellington
    • Ko-Ko
     
    Unit 8: Music Terms and Signs
    • agitatodolentegiocosograndiosomartellatomestomorendopesantequindicesima alta, 15marisolutoscherzandosemplicesonoresoprasostenutosotto vocetacettuttivivovoltavolti subito, v.s.
  • Level 8
    Unit 1: Notation and Transposition
    Transposition in major keys up by an interval
    • C clef
    • Moveable C clef
    • Alto clef
    • Tenor clef
    • Arranging key signatures
    • Transposition between clefs
    • Transposing instruments
    • Vocal scores
    • String quartets

    Unit 2: Rhythm and Meter
    Hybrid meters
    • 5/8 example
    • 5/4 example
    • Examples of mixed meters
    • Hybrid duple, triple, and quadruple meter
    • completing measures with rests in hybrid meters


    Unit 3: Scales and Key Signatures
    Scales in context and diatonic modes

    • Examples of scale passages
    • Modes
    • Writing modes
     
    Unit 4: Intervals
    Identifying intervals
    • Compound intervals
    • Inverting intervals
     
    Unit 5: Chords and Harmony
    Triads on major, natural minor and harmonic minor scales
    • Root/quality chord symbols and inversions
    • Plagal cadences in keyboard style
    • Cadences in chorale style
     
    Unit 6: Melody Writing, Form and Analysis
    Melody writing in minor keys
    • Review of contrasting periods in a major key
    • Contrasting periods in a minor key
    • Melodic motion
    • Expanding harmonic vocabulary
     
    Unit 7: Music History
    Medieval era, Renaissance era, and world music
    • Hildegard von Bingen
    • Ordo Virtutum, Scene 4
    • Sumer is Icumen In
    • Josquin des Prez
    • El grillo
    • Javanese Gamelan
    • Raga in Indian Music

    Unit 8: Music Terms and Signs
    • French Terms: cédezlégerlentementmodérémovementvite 
    • German Terms: bewegtlangsammässigmit Ausdruckschnellsehr 
    • Italian Terms: allargando, allarg.arcoattaccacalandocomodocon sordinolargamentel’istesso tempopizzicatoritenuto, riten.stringendo

Celebrate Theory©​


You may also consult the Celebrate Theory© books to assist you in your studies.

All of our Celebrate Theory© publications are available for purchase on the RCM Bookstore.

You can also access the official Theory Syllabus, 2016 Edition here.

Celebrate Theory set
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Extra Practice with our Theory Apps!
 

RCM Theory Apps provide an additional opportunity to practice each essential unit covered within your theory tool. Each app contains a variety of drills and practice questions for your level and topic and ensures you have plenty of practice.

5-8 Theory Apps
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