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Academic Year: Fall/Winter 2014/2015

Term: 3

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Rachel Rensink-Hoff



Phone: 905-525-9140 x

Office Hours: As Requested

Course Objectives:

This course is designed to increase your 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. Class assignments, quizzes, tests, participation and regular practice will help develop your musical ear and your ability to recognize aurally a wide variety of musical constructions found in your everyday musical experiences.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Berkowitz, Sol et al. A New Approach to Sight Singing. New York: Norton.
MacGamut 6 Music Software for Mac and Windows (2010). Available for purchase at the campus bookstore or at
Manuscript paper (available in bookstore), pencils and binder for notes, handouts & quizzes.

You must bring your textbook to every class.

Method of Assessment:

Dictation Tests 20%
Dictation Quizzes 20%
Sight Singing Tests 30%
MacGamut and other homework 20%
Participation/Attendance 10%
*Missed quizzes cannot be made up at a later date, including those for illness (any extenuating circumstances can be discussed with Dr. Rensink). You are granted one dropped quiz grade per term. If you take all quizzes, your lowest quiz grade will be dropped.
*Late assignments will not be accepted unless special arrangements have been made with the instructor prior to the due date.

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 skills.



Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

This is a self-reporting tool for undergraduate students to report absences DUE TO MINOR MEDICAL SITUATIONS that last up to 5 days and provides the ability to request accommodation for any missed academic work. Please note, this tool cannot be used during any final examination period. You may submit a maximum of 1 Academic Work Missed request per term. It is YOUR responsibility to follow up with your Instructor immediately (NORMALLY WITHIN TWO WORKING DAYS) regarding the nature of the accommodation. If you are absent for reasons other than medical reasons, for more than 5 days, or exceed 1 request per term, you MUST visit your Associate Dean's Office/Faculty Office). You may be required to provide supporting documentation. This form should be filled out immediately when you are about to return to class after your absence.

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:

Intervals: simple and compound, ascending and descending, melodic and harmonic
Solfege syllables
Diatonic and chromatic
Identification of “doh” in a heard melody
Melody recall and notation

Basic conducting patterns
Simple meter
Compound meter
Ties and dots
Triplets and duplets
Syncopation & Mixed Meter
Upbeats and Downbeats
Meter identification
Rhythmic notation, meter identification
Rhythm reading

Two-part counterpoint to four-part harmony
Circle of 5ths
Major Triads and Minor Triads
“Like” chords (ie. I6 and iii, OR IV6 and vi…)
Diminished and augmented chords
Cadential 6/4
Seventh chords
Hearing chord progressions:
Ie. bass line, soprano line, solfege “melody” (grab a note), chord colour, chord function
Minor key progressions
Secondary dominants
Harmonic rhythm

Scales, Modes
Major, minor, chromatic
All modes; pentatonic, whole tone and blues scales