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MUSIC 1D03A Aural Skills

Academic Year: Fall 2016

Term: Multiterm

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Prof. David Bowser


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 416

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23668

Office Hours: Mondays 5:00-6:00PM or by appointment

Course Objectives:

This course is designed to increase fluency and understanding of rhythmic, melodic and harmonic structures and to apply this knowledge in authentic music-making contexts. Course content will consist of exercises in prepared singing, sight singing (accuracy of pitches and rhythm, not vocal quality) and notation skills (rhythms, melodies, counterpoint and harmony).  Each week will focus on performative elements (rhythm excerpts and in-class sight singing) as well as dictation and active listening skills. In-class assignments, homework assignments, participation and regular practice will be designed to develop the musical ear and the ability to recognize aurally a wide variety of musical constructions found in everyday musical experiences.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Karpinski, Gary S. Manual For Ear Training & Sight Singing. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2007. [Includes recordings on CDRom]

Karpinski, Gary S. and Richard Kram. Anthology for Sightsinging. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2007.

Binder, manuscript paper, pencils and eraser.

Method of Assessment:


Dictation in-class assignments (5 assignments = 30%)  *Sept. 21, *Oct. 19, *Nov. 9, Jan. 18, Feb. 15, March 15

Sight Singing in-class assignments (4 assignments = 20%) by individual appointment: Week of *Oct. 3, *Dec. 5, Feb. 6, April 3

Dictation End of Term in-class assignments (20% each=40%)  Dec. 7 & April 5

Homework Assignments (10%)

*graded prior to March 10, 2017.


Students are responsible for all topics covered in class, as well as information sent via email. Regular attendance and active participation are essential to achieving success in this course. Tutorial attendance is expected, as it will provide the extra practice necessary to increase proficiency and confidence with sightsinging and listening skills. 

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:


Late WRITTEN assignments will be penalized 20% up to five days, after which the assignment will not be accepted.

Each student is permitted one dropped in-class assignment grade, excepting the end of term assignments which are mandatory (if all nine term assignments are completed, the lowest grade will be dropped).

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:


Term 1

*Quizzes on Wednesdays

Sept. 7              Chapters 1-3                                   

Sept. 12, 14       Chapters 4-6       Sightsinging 1-14

Sept. 19, 21       Chapters 7-9       Sightsinging 15-39         (Dictation in-class assignment 1)

Sept. 26, 28       Chapters 10-12   Sightsinging 40-72

Oct. 3, 5            Chapters 13-14                                        (S.S. in-class assignment 1)

Oct. 10, 12        Reading Break

Oct. 17, 19        Chapters 15-16      Sightsinging 73-108      (Dictation in-class assignment 2) 

Oct. 24, 26        Chapters 17-19      Sightsinging 109-134

Oct. 31, Nov. 9  Chapters 20-22      Sightsinging 135-149

Nov. 7, 9           Chapter 25           Sightsinging 219-241     (Dictation in-class assignment 3)

Nov. 14, 16       Chapters 27, 30      Sightsinging 266-301      

Nov. 21, 23       Chapters 28, 31      Sightsinging 334-366            

Nov. 28, 30        Review                                                   

Dec. 5, 7          (Dictation End of Term in-class assignment & S.S. in-class assignment 2)


Term 2

January 4         Chapters 32, 47     Sightsinging 367-382; 573-608            

Jan. 9, 11          Chapters 33-35      Sightsinging 383-426

Jan. 16, 18        Chapters 36-37      Sightsinging 427-431       (Dictation in-class assignment 4)

Jan. 23, 25        Chapter 39             Sightsinging 432-484

Jan 30, Feb. 1   Chapters 40-41      Sightsinging 486-523      

Feb. 6, 8           Chapters 42-43                                               (S.S. in-class assignment 3)

Feb. 13, 15        Chapters 44, 46     Sightsinging 524-572       (Dictation in-class assignment 5) 

Feb. 20, 22        Reading Break

Feb. 27, Mar. 1   Chapters 49-50     Sightsinging 616-642

March 6, 8         Chapters 52-53     Sightsinging 657-707

March 13, 15       Chapter 54          Sightsinging 708-746       (Dictation in-class assignment 6)

March 20, 22       Chapter 65          Sightsinging 747-759      

March 27, 29       Chapter 77                  

April 3, 5             (Dictation End of Term in-class assignment & S.S. in-class assignment 4)


Other Course Information:


Students are responsible for all topics covered in class, as well as information sent via email. Regular attendance and active participation are ESSENTIAL to achieving success in this course. Tutorial attendance is expected, as it will provide the extra practice necessary to increase your proficiency and confidence with your sightsinging and listening skills.