MUSC 101 Music Fundamentals - Spring 2012

Instructor: John Ellinger, MH 303, x4011, 645-5818,, office hours by appointment.

Course Description
Required Materials
Homework    Exams    Grading
Course Outline
Computer Lab Help


Unit links will be activated just prior to the class meeting for that unit. That means that assignments from Unit 1 are due at the class meeting for Unit 2, etc.


Unit 1 March 31 Sound Basics Unit 1 Overview
Unit 2 April 2 Theory Basics Unit 2 Overview
Unit 3 April 7 Notation 1, Simple Meter Unit 3 Overview
Unit 4 April 9 Notation 2 Unit 4 Overview
Unit 5 April 14 Trichords Unit 5 Overview
Unit 6 April 16 Compound Meter, Tetrachords Unit 6 Overview
Unit 7 April 21 Scales 1 Unit 7 Overview
Unit 8 April 23 Scales 2 Unit 8 Overview
Unit 9 April 28 Review Unit 9 Overview
Unit 10 April 30 Midterm Exam In Class
Unit 11 May 5 Intervals 1 Unit 11 Overview
Unit 12 May 7 Intervals 2 and Scale Degrees Unit 12 Overview
Unit 13 May 12 Circle of Fifths and Key Signatures Unit 13 Overview
Unit 14 May 14 Triads 1 Unit 14 Overview
Unit 15 May 19 Triads 2
Sibelius Lab
Unit 15 Overview
Unit 16 May 21 Seventh Chords
Ragtime 1
Unit 16 Overview
Unit 17 May 26 Analysis
Ragtime 2
Unit 17 Overview
Unit 18 May 29 Ragtime Composition Projects

Ragtime Projects
Unit 18 Overview

Unit 19 June 2 Final Exam In Class

Course Description from the Carleton College Catalog

MUSC 101. Music Fundamentals A course designed for students with minimal or no music background as preparation for other music courses and/or applied music study. The course covers the fundamentals of music including note reading in treble and bass clefs, rhythms, meter, scales, intervals, key signatures, chords, basic harmony and musical forms. The class will make regular use of the music computer lab for assignments. 3 credits, AL, Spring—J. Ellinger

Required Materials

All course materials are available online.

You will be expected to print out all reading materials and worksheets for each class unit. Purchase a two inch three ring binder to organize the course materials


Homework consists of the worksheets and computer lab assignments for each unit. Homework assigned in Unit 1 is due in class for Unit 2. Homework assigned in Unit 2 is due in class for Unit 3, etc.

All homework turned in on time will get a grade of 100%. If the homework turned in is below passing you may be asked to redo it with no penalty. Late homework will get a grade of 0%. If you need an extension on the homework talk with me or email me prior to the due date. Extensions will be granted for illness, team sport events (but not practices), field trips, and other unforeseen events.


There will be two exams, a midterm on the Thursday before midterm break and a final on the last Tuesday class day. The midterm exam covers material learned in first half of course and the final exam covers material learned in second half of course.

Grading Standards

Homework and Class Participation 30%
Mid Term 35%
Final Exam 35%

Grade 100 percent scale
A 100-96
A- 95-90
B+ 89-87
B 86-83
B- 82-80
C+ 79-77
C 76-73
C- 72-70
D 69-65
F 64-0

Course Outline

Each class unit has four components: Reading, Worksheets, Computer Lab, and Terminology. The class units are structured so there’s less homework between the Tuesday and Thursday classes (1-2 hours), and more homework between the Thursday and Tuesday classes (2-4 hours). The work is cumulative; if you get behind, it's hard to catch up.


The reading assignment for each unit is online at the MUSC 101 web site. It explains the theory necessary to complete the worksheets and computer lab assignments.


There are 2-5 worksheets for each unit. Worksheets are PDF files that can be read and printed with Adobe Acrobat Reader (Mac/Win). You will print out the worksheets and complete them. They will be discussed, corrected, and turned in at the next class meeting.

Computer Lab

For computer lab homework we'll use two commercial software programs from MiBAC Music Software, Inc.: MUSIC LESSONS I and MUSIC LESSONS II. I am the owner of MiBAC Music Software and wrote the software. MiBAC was started 22 years ago and I've been writing Mac and Windows music software ever since. The MUSIC LESSONS software is used in over a thousand school systems. The MiBAC web site is:

The MUSIC LESSONS software is available in the CMC labs. Login on the Macintosh platform. These programs provide visual and aural computer based drills. If you prefer to study in your room and use your own computer, you can optionally purchase the MUSIC LESSONS I and II software at a special Carleton student price of $25 each. Regular retail price is $149 each. See me if you're interested.

The rules for computer lab assignments are the same as the rules for homework listed above.


You should know the meanings of key terms and concepts covered in each unit. They'll be on the mid term and final exams.

A Typical Class Session