Music Theory

Music Fundamentals Online, T109, and T151 prerequisites

This page summarizes policies involving Music Fundamentals Online, T109, and ways of satisfying the prerequisites for T151.

These policies are subject to minor changes.

Prerequisites for T151

MUS-T151 (Music Theory and Literature I) is the first class in the core music theory sequence for undergraduate students in the Jacobs School of Music. T151 is offered only in the fall semester. Before students can enroll in T151, they must demonstrate mastery of music fundamentals such as notation, intervals, scales, key signatures, and triads. The two main ways of satisfying the prerequisites for T151 are:

  • by completing Music Fundamentals Online; or

  • by completing MUS-T109 (Rudiments of Music) with a grade of C or better.

Music Fundamentals Online

The preferred way to satisfy the prerequisites for T151 is by completing Music Fundamentals Online (MFO), an online course, during the summer preceding enrollment in T151. MFO consists of a pretest and a series of 30 modules on various topics. Your performance on the pretest will determine which modules you need to complete.

MFO in summer 2014

The deadline for completing MFO in the summer of 2014 has passed. The next time that MFO will be freely available to all students will be the summer of 2015.

MFO in the first week of classes

Some students hoping to take T151 in the fall may miss the opportunity to take MFO during the summer. (This could include some students admitted to the Jacobs School of Music late, and non-music majors who wish to take T151 but were unaware of MFO.) For these students, a final opportunity to take MFO is offered during the first week of classes in the fall semester (August 25–29, 2014). Completion of MFO during this short period of time may be difficult, and access to MFO during this time will be by special permission only (send an email to mfo [at] indiana [dot] edu to describe your circumstances and request permission). Incoming music majors who received information about MFO in May are expected to meet the regular August 15 deadline, and will not be given permission to take MFO during the first week of classes.

T109

Students who fail to complete MFO during the summer may take the course MUS-T109 (Rudiments of Music) as an alternate way of satisfying the prerequisites for T151. The content of T109 is similar to the content of MFO.

T109 is offered in every fall semester as a traditional class, and in both the fall and spring semesters as an online class. Because T151 is offered only in the fall semester, students who take T109 during the academic year will be unable to take T151 until the following fall.

T109 carries General Education Arts and Humanities credit.

Online T109

Online sections of T109 are offered in eight-week sessions during the fall and spring semesters. Students in the online class are required to complete the MFO pretest and all required modules, as described above. For security reasons and for the calculation of the course grade, students enrolled in online T109 are also required to take two in-person examinations. The course grade is determined based on completion of the required MFO modules and the grades on the two exams. 

There are three mandatory in-person meetings for the online section of T109: an informational meeting during week 1, and the two exams in weeks 4 and 8.

Meeting dates for fall 2014 (first eight weeks):
  • Informational meeting: Thursday, August 28, 7:00–9:00 p.m. in MC 036

  • Midterm exam: Thursday, September 18, 7:00–9:00 p.m. in MC 036

  • Final exam: Thursday, October 16, 7:00–9:00 p.m. in MC 036

Meeting dates for fall 2014 (second eight weeks):
  • Informational meeting: Thursday, October 23, 7:00–9:00 p.m. in MC 036

  • Midterm exam: Thursday, November 13, 7:00–9:00 p.m. in MC 036

  • Final exam: Thursday, December 18, 7:15–9:15 p.m. in MC 036

Meeting dates for spring 2015 (first eight weeks):
  • Informational meeting: Thursday, January 15, 7:00–9:00 p.m. in MC 036

  • Midterm exam: Thursday, February 5, 7:00–9:00 p.m. in MC 036

  • Final exam: Thursday, March 5, 7:00–9:00 p.m. in MC 036

Meeting dates for spring 2015 (second eight weeks):
  • Informational meeting: Thursday, March 12, 7:00–9:00 p.m. in MC 036

  • Midterm exam: Thursday, April 9, 7:00–9:00 p.m. in MC 036

  • Final exam: Thursday, May 7, 7:15–9:15 p.m. in MC 036

Getting T109 credit for completing MFO

Music majors who successfully complete MFO during the summer and subsequently complete T151 will automatically receive credit for T109.

Non-music majors who successfully complete MFO during the summer do not automatically receive course credit for doing so, but they can later receive T109 credit (including the General Education credit) in either of the following ways:

  • If a student who has completed MFO subsequently completes T151 with a grade of D– or better, the student may fill out a special credit application in the Music Undergraduate Office in order to receive T109 credit.

  • A student who has completed MFO, or any part of MFO, may register for the online section of T109 in a later semester. MFO modules already completed will count toward the requirements for T109. The student will need to complete any remaining modules, and take the two exams.

Z111–211

MUS-Z111 and Z211 (Music Theory I and II) are music theory classes for non-music majors. Credit for the Z courses cannot be applied to degrees in the Jacobs School of Music. For students who take both Z111 and Z211, however, Z211 can substitute for T109 in some of the above policies. Specifically:

  • A student who has completed Z211 with a grade of C or better is eligible to enroll in T151, even if the student has never taken MFO or T109.

  • If a student completes MFO in the summer and subsequently completes Z211 with a grade of D– or better, the student may fill out a special credit application in the Music Undergraduate Office in order to receive T109 credit.

Note that Z111 is a prerequisite for Z211, so a student will generally have to complete two semesters of Z courses in order to satisfy the requirements for either of the above policies.

Frequently asked questions

What is the success rate among the students who attempt MFO?

In 2012 and 2013, the first two years that MFO was available, approximately 85 to 90 percent of entering music majors successfully completed MFO and were placed in T151.

Do I need any special hardware or software to work on MFO?

MFO should work properly on most computers manufactured in the last few years. You will need an Internet connection, a web browser, and Flash Player version 11.2 or later. (You can check and update your version of Flash Player here.) You will need to use your computer’s audio (either speakers or headphones), so you should be in a quiet location where you will not be disruptive to others. Unfortunately, MFO will not work on iPads or other tablets.

How long does the MFO pretest take?

The pretest usually takes between 20 and 60 minutes. You should plan to complete the entire pretest in one session.

If I answer all the questions correctly on the MFO pretest, does that mean that I won’t need to complete any modules at all?

Yes, it does! Very few students do this well on the pretest; most students need to complete at least a few modules.

How long does it take to complete the MFO modules?

That depends on how many modules you are required to take (based on your performance on the pretest). If you need to complete a large number of modules, many hours of work could be involved. This is a very good reason to start working on MFO as early as possible!

Do all the modules have to be completed in one sitting?

No. The pretest should be completed in one sitting. After you have completed the pretest, each time you log into MFO, you will be taken to the main course menu, and you can work on any modules that you have not yet completed. You are also free at any time to work further on modules that you have completed, for additional practice.

Can I get help from a friend/parent/teacher while working on MFO?

You are expected to do all the work for MFO independently. If someone else is helping you answer the questions, you may get into T151 and find that you are not adequately prepared. If you are enrolled in the online section of T109, you will not be allowed to receive any assistance during the two in-person exams.

I’m trying to complete MFO but I’m having problems. Where can I get help?

If you need help with MFO during the summer, either with the course content or with technical/software problems, send an email to mfo [at] indiana [dot] edu for assistance. If you are enrolled in T109 online in the fall or spring semester, you should contact the Associate Instructor in charge of the class.

I am an incoming music major. I did not successfully complete MFO during the summer. Can I still take T151 in the fall?

No. In order to be sure that you will be able to take T151 a year later, you should probably take T109. If you find the material very difficult, you may find it preferable to take the traditional T109 rather than the online section, so that you can receive personal assistance in a classroom setting. Remember that the traditional T109 class is offered only during the fall semester. You do have the option to attempt MFO again in the following summer, but if you fail to complete it again, that will delay your progress another year.

I’m a non-music major, and I would like to take T151. I didn’t find out about MFO until the first day of classes in the fall semester. What can I do?

See “MFO in the first week of classes,” above. If you can complete MFO in a few days, you may be able to get into T151.

I completed MFO in the summer, expecting to take T151 in the fall, but then decided not to take T151 after all (or I dropped T151 partway through the fall semester). Can I get credit for MFO?

See “Getting T109 credit for completing MFO,” above. You can sign up for the online section of T109 in the fall or spring semester. All the work you have completed for MFO will count toward the T109 requirements. You will need to take the two in-person exams.

I'm registered for a traditional section of T109 in the fall but I'd like to switch into the online section (or vice versa). Can I make this switch?

Switching between the traditional and online sections is allowed only during the first two weeks of the fall semester. Switching into the traditional section is subject to the availability of space, and to the approval of the instructor. You will be expected to complete all the requirements for the section into which you are moving; you will not receive any credit for any work that you did for the other class.

I’m taking the online section of T109, but I’m worried that I will do poorly on the in-person exams because taking an exam on paper is very different from the work we’re doing online.

Practice exams, featuring questions very similar to those on the actual exams, will be made available in advance to students in the online section of T109.

Will the exams in the online section of T109 cover material from all modules of MFO, including modules that I tested out of?

Yes. For this reason, it is a good idea to spend some time working on all the modules of MFO, even if you are not required to complete some of them because of your performance on the pretest. For practice, you can always go back and do further work on any module that you have completed.

I’m interested in taking the online section of T109, but I have a schedule conflict with the informational meeting and/or the exams. What can I do?

Send an email to mfo [at] indiana [dot] edu with a description of your situation.