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MUI1013 Decoding Music

Semester 1, 2022 Online
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : School of Creative Arts
Student contribution band : 2021 Grandfather Funding Cl 2
Grading basis : Graded
Version produced : 2 July 2022


Examiner: Helen Russell


Enrolment is not permitted in MUI1013 if MUI1007 has been previously completed.


Music theory as taught in conservatoires was codified some 250 years ago. Many of the bedrock fundamentals remain the same all these years later, but contemporary music institutions must take into account the myriad developments of the 20th century and beyond. Music performers and professionals need to be able to recognise and separate the elements of music which are key to manipulating those elements in one’s own playing, arranging and composing.
This course aims to consolidate foundational music knowledge in order to facilitate a deep knowledge of those elements and enable the student to engage in meaningful musical communication, with both fellow musicians and audiences.

As a foundational course, MUI1013 will introduce students to basic requirements for the successful academic study of music. The course begins with analytical listening in a wide variety of genres. The fundamentals of traditional music theory are discovered through engagement with repertoire. A series of activities encompassing analysis, aural skills and notational literacy will guide the student through an understanding of tonality, rhythm, musical forms and expression through musical means.

Students will learn to apply conventional musical terminology to familiar sounds in order to learn to communicate musical ideas effectively, enabling creative collaboration with peers throughout the program. Formative assessment tasks will be used to develop aural and music literacy skills.

Course learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. Interpret, explore and communicate using the conventions of written musical language and notation as used by professional musicians.
  2. Demonstrate the aural acuity to recognise rhythm, pitch difference, melodic patterns, major and minor scales, intervals, major and minor triads.
  3. Work independently to develop music theory skills, aural competency, and use music software.
  4. Recognize and deconstruct musical elements in order to understand and create musical meaning.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Analysis of music (form, melody, tonality, harmony, rhythm) 20.00
2. Rhythm (stylistic attributes, beat subdivisions, notation) 10.00
3. Pitch (intervals, notation) 10.00
4. Scales, keys, diatonicism 20.00
5. Chord construction and recognition 10.00
6. Chord progressions 10.00
7. Music notation software 10.00
8. Arrangement and musical texture 10.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

Fitzgerald, J, 2003, Popular music theory & musicianship, Revised edn, Hazelmount, Fortitude Valley, Queensland.

Student workload expectations

To do well in this subject, students are expected to commit approximately 10 hours per week including class contact hours, independent study, and all assessment tasks. If you are undertaking additional activities, which may include placements and residential schools, the weekly workload hours may vary.

Assessment details

Description Weighting (%)
Presentation (analysis) 20
Date printed 2 July 2022