The Music History Placement Exam is always given on the Saturday before the start of the term. Please contact the main music office for time and location prior to a given test date. Students should plan on taking this exam prior to their first semester of study.
The Music History Placement Exam tests your general knowledge of all eras of music history. The exam consists of three sections. In the first section, you are to write short definitions of music-historical terms, including musical genres, composers, compositional techniques, and aesthetic movements. In the second section, you are given the titles of well-known musical works and are asked to provide the composer and era in which the work was composed. The final section consists of two short essays describing common musical genres or compositional techniques. Those wishing to study for the exam are encouraged to review any standard textbook used in Music History surveys, such as the latest edition of the Burkholder/Palisca/Grout, A History of Western Music. In particular, you should ensure that you are familiar with the terms in boldface in the text, written in the margins, and/or listed in the Glossary. You should also take note of any specific compositions discussed at length in the text and/or make sure that you can identify the composer and era of the works included in the textbook’s anthology.