Why have the theory requirements been changed?
The Theory Syllabus, 2016 Edition has been updated to reflect current pedagogy and to better support practical studies and the development of well-rounded musicianship at all levels.
Why do the theory examinations have new names?
There is now a direct relationship between the names of the theory and practical examinations. For example, the theory corequisite for the Level 5 practical examination is called "Level 5 Theory," while the corequisites for Level 9 practical are "Level 9 History" and "Level 9 Harmony." This will make it easier for teachers, students, and especially parents to understand the theory titles, and to identify the correct examination for which they should register.
How do the new levels compare to the existing theory levels?
The table below shows the alignment of the 2016 syllabus levels with the 2009 requirements. In the new syllabus, concepts have been introduced gradually and reinforced from Preparatory through to Level 4. Some of the requirements have shifted slightly as a result of the pedagogical sequencing of material. In addition, the Melody Writing and Guided Listening (History) streams have been incorporated beginning at Level 1. As a result, the Level 5 Theory examination, although similar to Basic Rudiments, is not exactly identical to it.
|2016 Syllabus (New Exam Names)
|Level 5 Theory
|Level 6 Theory
|Level 7 Theory
|Level 8 Theory
|Level 9 Harmony
|Level 9 History
|Level 10 Harmony & Counterpoint
|Level 10 History
|ARCT Harmony & Counterpoint
Are students now required to write examinations at every level?
No. While the Theory Syllabus, 2016 Edition outlines theory concepts recommended for concurrent study from Preparatory through to Level 4, there are no required examinations prior to Level 5.
Why is the Counterpoint examination being eliminated?
Counterpoint is an essential element of music study that leads to a richer musical experience. For this reason, elements of counterpoint have been added to the study of harmony beginning at Level 9 and continuing through Levels 10 and ARCT. While the stand-alone Counterpoint examination will no longer be offered, all students will have the opportunity to study counterpoint and to become familiar with its role within the musical landscape.
Is Level 9 Harmony now a required examination?
Yes. Level 9 Harmony is now a prerequisite for the Associate Diploma (ARCT). In response to feedback from the teaching community, Level 9 Harmony is now a required examination as part of a well-sequenced, pedagogically sound progression of study. Students who omit the Level 9 Harmony (previously Basic Harmony) examination miss the opportunity to solidify basic part-writing skills as preparation for the study of chromatic harmony and advanced modulation that follows. By requiring this examination, we are setting students up for success in their harmony studies.
How will the Guided Listening component be tested in theory examinations?
The Guided Listening components of Levels 5, 6, 7, and 8 Theory will be tested gently, with short answer, fill-in the-blanks, or true/false questions. For specific examples of examination questions, please click here and see the Practice Examination Papers, 2016 Edition.
Are there recommended recordings for the Guided Listening pieces, and if so, how can I access these recordings?
There is a wide range of recordings available, both online and in libraries, for the Guided Listening examples for all levels. Teachers, parents, and students are encouraged to explore online to find professional recordings by a wide range of performing artists and ensembles. Many suitable recordings (audio or video) can be found using Google or YouTube. For Level 8 Theory, specific recordings from the Naxos Music Library are referenced in the Guided Listening section and can be accessed through many local public library websites. A list of recommended resources is in progress and will be available online soon.
How do the new Theory names impact secondary school accreditation?
We have communicated with Ministries of Education across Canada to update them on the new names for the Theory examinations and to ensure that the examinations based on the Theory Syllabus, 2016 Edition continue to be recognized for secondary school accreditation.
More information regarding requirements for specific provinces can be found here.
What symbols should French-speaking students use for root/quality chord symbols on Theory examinations?
Root/quality chord symbols should be shown using the same symbols on both English and French language examinations. Because root/quality chord symbols are a form of practical shorthand used when working in popular styles, they should be understood by all musicians, regardless of language and geography. It is therefore expected that students analyze music using symbols that are universally understood, regardless of the language in which they study and speak. Examples of root/quality chord symbols are provided on pp. 58-59 of the Theory Syllabus, 2016 Edition. They are also discussed throughout the Celebrate Theory books (see Level 5 Theory: pp. 70 and 79; Level 7 Theory: p. 60).